“The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to, then forcing oneself to stay awake for days on end must surely come a close second.”
- F Scott Fitzgerald
We spend one third of our lives doing it, and yet, some of us never seem to be able to get enough. People all over the world don’t receive enough sleep whether it’s from a medical condition like narcolepsy, or simply not having enough time in a day. The effects of getting a good night’s rest are essential and signs of sleep depravation are not as hard to spot as one may think.
Sleep can be compared to quicksand, ignore it and you’ll find yourself trapped. It will take over you’re body and if you try to fight it, the more it wins. The effects of not receiving enough sleep are not uncommon. Sleep depravation has been used throughout history and is common as a form of torture in many POW camps (Victims of Sleep Depravation). Countries, including the United States have used this method to extract information from prisoners. It leaves no physical markings but its psychological effects can be very harmful. Victims will literally go crazy. Those who have gone through it say that no sleep is even worse than starvation.
The number of people who suffer from a lack of sleep is growing. This is largely contributed to the increased popularity of late night TV and use of the internet. How many of us can honestly say that we turned the television off in the middle of our favorite show so that we may go to bed at a reasonable hour?
While driving a lack of sleep can be just as harmful, if not more, than driving while drunk.
“We had three of our grandchildren in the back seat. They were singing and the radio was blasting and he went off the road. He said he was all right. I was going to drive, but he said I’m fine, I’m fine. The next day I called the doctor.” (Sleep Apnea)
Almost half of Americans drive while drowsy. One out of every five drivers actually had to pull over and take a nap. Compared to alcohol, which only slows you’re reflexes, driving while drowsy makes the driver completely unaware of his or her surroundings. This can be extremely dangerous for motorists especially truckers, who more often than not, drive late into the night. (Drowsiness on motorists)
Adults are not the only ones effected by a lack of sleep. A one-year-old baby will sleep 16 out of the 24 ...
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...p Apnea. 2 February 2004. http://www.sleepnet.com/sleepapnea.html.
Narcolepsy Information. 2 February 2004. http://www.sleepnet.com/narcolepsy.html.
Don’t Go To Bed Yet. 2 February 2004. http://www.sleepfoundation.org/publications/travel.cfm.
Amphetamines. 23 February 2004. http://corp.aadac.com/drugs/beyond/amphetamines.asp.
Got Caffeine? 23 February 2004. http://www.sleepfoundation.org/caffeine.cfm.
Study Confirms Sleep Essential for Creativity. 2 March 2004. http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/01/21/sleep.creativity.ap/
Depressants. 10 March 2004. http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/depressants.html
Night Fever. 10 March 2004. http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,1117085,00.html
The Real Victims of sleep Depravation. 10 March 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3376951.stm
Insomnia. 10 March 2004. http://yalenewhavenhealth.org/Library/HealthGuide/IllnessConditions/topic.asp?hwid=uh1001
Kunz, Jeffrey, and Asher Finkel, ed. The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. New York: Random House, Inc. 1987.
Stern, Jack, David Carroll. The Home Medical Handbook. New York: David Carroll, 1987.
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