Sleep Deprivation


Gone But Not Forgotten
Jul 27, 2001
The more we do the less we sleep. In the modern world the presures of work and leasure are squeasing out sleep. If you need proof you only have to look at the times some of us are awake and posting to the message boards.

We deprive ourselves of sleep willingly and often look on time asleep as time wasted yet sleep deprivation is a form of torture. It can lead to psychosis and ultimately death.

There is evidence that chronically sleep deprived people are more prone to accidents. Many of us who wouldn't dream of driving while drunk are happy to get into the car on a couple of hours sleep.

So how much sleep do you need? 6 hours, 8 hours? Judging by other primates and by sleep research done in Antarctica. We need between 9 and a half and 13 hours sleep every day. Those of us who need more than 10 or so hours need to top up with a nap in the afternoon.

Scary isn't it.

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I recall some French research which found that the ideal human sleep pattern was from midnight to 6am with a siesta after a large midday meal. They reckoned that this was why people in Meditteranean countries were so healthy...
your not kidding, you know as well as others who are in the chat room were in there till sometimes 3am and ive to be up at 6:30 for work dont leave long for sleep and i dont have chance for a nap in the afternoon

see you tonight in the chat lol

im up till this time every night and peeps wonder why i post in most links lol sleep deprivation thats what it is lol
hospitaller said:
I recall some French research which found that the ideal human sleep pattern was from midnight to 6am with a siesta after a large midday meal. They reckoned that this was why people in Meditteranean countries were so healthy...

I'll go with that, Hospitaller - if we can have 10pm-9am for the main stint?

But seriously, and personally, I function best on about 9 hours sleep, but probably get only around 6-6.5 on weekdays.
I usualy dont go to bed until 3-5 am and wake uo around noon ( i dont go to work until 3pm). That gives me 7-9 hours of sleep and it seems like enough! who knows though......
No matter how busy I am, I always try to have at least 8 hrs sleep a day, no matter what. The way I see it is, even if I am getting behind with work, if I have 4 hrs sleep I'm bugger all use to anyone and still don't get any work done.

I sometimes may be behind, but at least I'm not nackered all the time :)

Just one of those things that your gran pesters you about when you were a kid, but now grown up we kinda see the wisdom in those old tales :)
While I agree with what has been posted, it is also a fact that the older one gets the less sleep one needs. For example, after a working life, retied people often find that they cannot change their sleep habits and will be up at six or seven, even if they have only had three or four hours sleep. It has often been recorded that people in their eighties, if helathy, can function perfectly on several naps of an hour or two each, with out a night's sleep.

However, it is also know that the huamn body works on a circadian rythm of 24 hours which generally resets itself around 4am. Therefore, if you ar asleep when this happens, that is the most imporant thing. For people who are unaccustomed to working nights, you know that time every night when you get giggly, can't concentrate and just feel useless for about half an hour, that is it. Sugarlevels are low and the body resets itself. Usually, but not always, this is around 4am.
I don't know if this is true for everyone, but I'm tired throughout the day if I get too little or too *much* sleep. Indeed, the longer I sleep, the harder it is for me to get out of bed. The weird thing for me is that my weekends work best if I stay up really late and get up really early on fri-sat and/or sat-sun. Sometimes I don't go to bed until 5 or 6 am and get up at 8:30 or 9, feeling not spectacular, but pretty darn good. After that I transition smoothly into my 7-10 hours a night during the week. My only idea is that the deprivation on the weekends helps me get to sleep more quickly and sleep more deeply throughout the next week. When I do 'normal' sleeping on weekends, I have problems getting to sleep and also staying asleep throughout the week. Anyone else, or am I just a freak here?

And despite whatever minor sleep problems I do have, I thank all the gods and godesses I don't suffer insomnia... oh what torture!

But I'm all for the midday siesta. Never going to happen in the US, but some days I take it upon myself... heh.
It's true, sometimes too little or too much sleep can make you tired though the day. I get it a lot (due to too much sleep).

I reckon I get about 6-7 hours sleep, tho' some nights, this forum plays havoc with that!

If I have a couple of late nights on the trot I try to make up for it the next night, but sometimes wake up at about 3 and can't get back to sleep again.

Lucy's right, though, too much sleep is as bad as too little.

I think my optimum hours would be to go to bed at 1 am and get up about 8.30 to 9, but, of course, work, kids, cats, etc, don't allow that!

your right this mb does reak havoc with sleeping pattern i sometime find im in the chat till 4 or 5 in a morning!

im in there now lol
I saw a news report some time ago that stated people who work nights or long shifts (midnight to noon in my case :mad: ) age three times faster than normal. Kind of scary.
Well if it is ment to age you quicker then I think I should be ok since my dad looks the youngest out of him and his brother and sisters. He is the second oldest though and almost 50!

As for Absynth the stuff you get in tesco's isn't as strong as the real stuff. I know this by a trip to Ibiza. A poor woman had a shot of it after she went on the karioke (sp) and she and her family soon left the bar (she was very out of it).

I usually get to sleep around 3:00-3:30AM and I'm out of the house most mornings by 7:30AM. Funnily enough, though, I'm much happier sleeping about 6:00AM till 4:00PM, with the time of the day that I'd say I felt most vital was around midnight... I think I may have a displaced (delayed) circadian rythm...

Oh, and Absinthe is my one and only muse in life :)
hmmm.... i go to bed at about 3 in the morning and am up at about 8 thats 5 days of the week lol, week ends are good about 4 in the mornings and 1 in the afternoon lol
hmmm.... i go to bed at about 3 in the morning and am up at about 8 thats 5 days of the week

That reminds me very much of my college days. During my freshman year, I had calc I and calc II 4 days a week at 8am. I seriously never made it to bed before 3 and often later. It didn't work out too well, though, because there were times when I didn't even remember being in class even though the prof swore I was there, and there are very 'fuzzy' periods of 2-3 days when I was ill. And there was no alcohol involved in ANY of this, believe it or not.

Rather than changing my sleeping habits, I scheduled later classes....
When I was at uni, the lecturers were VERY sensible. They reasoned that hardly anyone would turn up for 9 am lectures, and those who did would be out of it, so the academic day started at 10. Very civilised!

No sleep means no new brain cells
Missing out on sleep may cause the brain to stop producing new cells, a study has suggested.
The work on rats, by a team from Princeton University found a lack of sleep affected the hippocampus, a brain region involved in forming memories.

The research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science showed a stress hormone causes the effect.

A UK expert said it would be interesting to see if too little rather than no sleep had the same consequence.


The researchers compared animals who were deprived of sleep for 72 hours with others who were not.

They found those who missed out on rest had higher levels of the stress hormone corticosterone.

It would be interesting to see if partial sleep deprivation - getting a little bit less sleep every night that you need - had the same effect
Dr Neil Stanley, sleep expert

They also produced significantly fewer new brain cells in a particular region of the hippocampus.

When the animals' corticosterone levels were kept at a constant level, the reduction in cell proliferation was abolished.

The results suggest that elevated stress hormone levels resulting from sleep deprivation could explain the reduction in cell production in the adult brain.

Sleep patterns were restored to normal within a week.

However levels of nerve cell production (neurogenesis) were not restored for two weeks, and the brain appears to boost its efforts in order to counteract the shortage.

Writing in PNAS, the researchers led by Dr Elizabeth Gould, said that although the role of nerve cell production in adults remained unknown, "the suppression of adult neurogenesis may underlie some of the cognitive deficits associated with prolonged sleep deprivation."

People who experience a lack of sleep experience concentration problems and other difficulties.

Sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley, based at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said the study's findings could not be directly translated to humans because people did not go without sleep for 72 hours, unless they were in extreme circumstances.

But he added: "It is an interesting finding. It would be interesting to see if partial sleep deprivation - getting a little bit less sleep every night that you need - had the same effect."

Story from BBC NEWS: ... 347043.stm

Published: 2007/02/10 00:02:15 GMT


(Feel free to move Mods, wasn't sure of the best place to post)
But this doesn't seem to happen to those exceedingly rare humans who don't sleep at all.
Man Claims New Sleepless Record

Man claims new sleepless record

A Cornish man says he has broken the world record for sleep deprivation by staying awake for 11 days and nights.

Tony Wright, 42, from Penzance, was trying to beat the Guinness world record of 264 sleepless hours set by Randy Gardner in the US in 1964.

He fought off tiredness by drinking tea, playing pool and keeping a diary.

The Guinness Book of Records has since withdrawn its backing of a sleep deprivation class because of the associated health risks.

Weary Mr Wright told BBC News: "I feel pretty good, It's been a bit of a slog, but I got there."

He said that his 'Stone Age' diet of raw food helped parts of his brain to stay awake and remain functional for long periods.

He said: "It makes it much easier to switch from one side of the brain which is really tired, to the other.

"But both are pretty tired at the moment."

During the record attempt, Mr Wright noticed his speech becoming incomprehensible at times and colours appearing very bright.

A webcam and CCTV cameras monitored him 24-hours a day.

The attempt was part of Mr Wright's research into the body's relationship to sleep.

He argues that parts of the human brain require a different amount of sleep and it is possible to stay awake and remain functional for long periods.

He said the hardest part was staying in one place - Penzance's Studio Bar - in order to prove that he was not popping out for a sleep.

He set out to keep a full video record of the entire 11 days as proof he stayed awake.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/05/25 07:43:29 GMT

There's always a BUT...!

Man who stayed up for 266 hours awakes to bad news

Michael Horsnell

A bleary-eyed researcher who normally sleeps like a log went to bed yesterday claiming a world record after staying awake for more than 11 days and nights.

But when Tony Wright, 43, finally regains wakefulness today after catching up on his sleep, he could be in for a cruel awakening. The human guinea pig will discover that he may have given up ten hours too early to claim the crown.

The record that he broke – of 11 days, or 264 hours – was set by Randy Gardner, an American, in 1964 and is recognised in psychiatric textbooks.

But that is 12 hours shorter than the record which used to be included in The Guinness Book of Recordsbefore being removed from the book in 1989. It was deleted on the grounds that it could encourage records harmful to health and was unverifiable because of the claims of insomnia sufferers.

The Guinness previous record was for 11½ days, or 276 hours, and was set by Toimi Soini in Hamina, Finland, between February 5 to 15, 1964.

Mr Wright’s friend Graham Gynn, who co-wrote the book Left in the Dark, about their research into human consciousness, said he had no knowledge of the Finnish record.

“It is interesting but has not cropped up at all in our research and is not mentioned in any of the books about sleep and sleeplessness,” he said. “It may have been disputed or not accepted for some reason because everyone now accepts the old record was set by Randy Gardner in 1964 when he was a 17-year-old student.

“As far as we are concerned our main concern was not the record but to show that Tony could train his mind in such a way as to stay awake for 11 days and remain coherent and aware of what was going on around him. That was the main object and I believe what he has done will surprise many scientists who did not believe it was possible. Tony not only stayed awake but handled ten media interviews a day.”
....................... ... 842716.ece
The Myth of Eight Hours Sleep

I've read about this before (it's mentioned earlier in this thread which I've revived after 11 years, some things sleeping lie) it's interesting that the eight hours solid, isn't actually our natural sleep pattern, but one imposed by efficient artificial lighting and the coming of the industrial revolution....oh and coffee.

BBC website

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

By Stephanie Hegarty

22 February 2012 Last updated at 11:50 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

We often worry about people who lie awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. Scientists have been saying for 20 years that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural, and historians increasingly are backing them up.

In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.

It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.

Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.

More recently, the theory that humans slept in two distinct chunks has resurfaced, but in the rather less likely field of history.

Over the course of 20 years, historian Roger Ekirch at Virginia Tech undertook an intensive study into the human relationship with night for his book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past.

In diaries, court records, medical books and literature - from Homer's Odyssey to the anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria - he has found more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern.

Ekirch believes this painting from 1595 is evidence of significant activity at night

A 1595 engraving by Jan Saenredam shows normal activity at night
Much like the experience of Wehr's subjects, these references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.

"It's not just the number of references - it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge," Ekirch says.

During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.

And these hours weren't entirely solitary - people often chatted to bed-fellows or had sex.

A doctor's manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day's labour but "after the first sleep", when "they have more enjoyment" and "do it better".

Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society.

By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.

When segmented sleep was the norm
"He knew this, even in the horror with which he started from his first sleep, and threw up the window to dispel it by the presence of some object, beyond the room, which had not been, as it were, the witness of his dream." Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge (1840)
"Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning." Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)
"And at the wakening of your first sleepe You shall have a hott drinke made, And at the wakening of your next sleepe Your sorrowes will have a slake." Early English ballad, Old Robin of Portingale

The Tiv tribe in Nigeria employ the terms "first sleep" and "second sleep" to refer to specific periods of the night
Roger Ekirch's website

He attributes the initial shift to improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses - which were sometimes open all night. As the night became a place for legitimate activity and as that activity increased, the length of time people could dedicate to rest dwindled.

In his new book, Evening's Empire, historian Craig Koslofsky puts forward an account of how this happened.

"Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good," he says. The night was a place populated by people of disrepute - criminals, prostitutes and drunks.

"Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night."

That changed in the wake of the Reformation and the counter-Reformation. Protestants and Catholics became accustomed to holding secret services at night, during periods of persecution. If earlier the night had belonged to reprobates, now respectable people became accustomed to exploiting the hours of darkness.

This trend migrated to the social sphere too, but only for those who could afford to live by candlelight. With the advent of street lighting, however, socialising at night began to filter down through the classes.

In 1667, Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, using wax candles in glass lamps. It was followed by Lille in the same year and Amsterdam two years later, where a much more efficient oil-powered lamp was developed.

London didn't join their ranks until 1684 but by the end of the century, more than 50 of Europe's major towns and cities were lit at night.

Night became fashionable and spending hours lying in bed was considered a waste of time.

"People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century," says Roger Ekirch. "But the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds."

Strong evidence of this shifting attitude is contained in a medical journal from 1829 which urged parents to force their children out of a pattern of first and second sleep.

"If no disease or accident there intervene, they will need no further repose than that obtained in their first sleep, which custom will have caused to terminate by itself just at the usual hour.

"And then, if they turn upon their ear to take a second nap, they will be taught to look upon it as an intemperance not at all redounding to their credit."

Today, most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body's natural preference for segmented sleep as well as the ubiquity of artificial light.

This could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, he suggests.

The condition first appears in literature at the end of the 19th Century, at the same time as accounts of segmented sleep disappear.

"For most of evolution we slept a certain way," says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. "Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology."

The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too.

Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford, shares this point of view.

"Many people wake up at night and panic," he says. "I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern."

But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

"Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centres where sleep is studied," he says.

Jacobs suggests that the waking period between sleeps, when people were forced into periods of rest and relaxation, could have played an important part in the human capacity to regulate stress naturally.

In many historic accounts, Ekirch found that people used the time to meditate on their dreams.

"Today we spend less time doing those things," says Dr Jacobs. "It's not a coincidence that, in modern life, the number of people who report anxiety, stress, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse has gone up."

So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night, think of your pre-industrial ancestors and relax. Lying awake could be good for you.
Interesting stuff! I tend not to sleep well (nowadays, I find myself nodding off on long bus rides!) but I've always put this down to having spent many years working irregular shift systems (in the Coastguard) or watch systems (when I was at sea). When skippering a boat, I was on call all hours of the day or night, so more than a few hours uninterrupted sleep was a rarity!
I have to admit it's an interesting condition to live with. It's incredibly disruptive, to the point where I've had to give up work and all the niceties that come with that such as money, and I have no social life to speak of any more, but on the other side of the coin I get to see the world from both a night time and day time perspective.

Sometimes it can be cripplingly lonely, which is why you'll occasionally find me posting a lot more on boards such as here. When I'm out of sync with my family and friends for many days or weeks sometimes it can get to you a bit.
I try to keep positive about it all. It seems that at present there's no cure, it's just something I have to live with. There are therapies, such as lightboxes, but none are permanent.

The internet is, as you can probably imagine, a godsend. Having a way of communicating with other people at 3am or whenever is a lifeline.
Researchers link compulsive Facebook checking to lack of sleep
Study correlates tiredness, crankiness, distractibility and social media browsing

February 4, 2016
University of California - Irvine
If you find yourself toggling over to look at Facebook several dozen times a day, it's not necessarily because the experience of being on social media is so wonderful. It may be a sign that you're not getting enough sleep.
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Researchers link compulsive Facebook checking to lack of sleep
Study correlates tiredness, crankiness, distractibility and social media browsing

February 4, 2016
University of California - Irvine
If you find yourself toggling over to look at Facebook several dozen times a day, it's not necessarily because the experience of being on social media is so wonderful. It may be a sign that you're not getting enough sleep.
It's not supposed to be funny. But it sure made me snicker. I know people that post so often I had to unfollowed them, it was nauseating. Now how many Fortean addicts are out there and how's their sleeping habits?
It's not supposed to be funny. But it sure made me snicker. I know people that post so often I had to unfollowed them, it was nauseating. Now how many Fortean addicts are out there and how's their sleeping habits?

Twitter can be just as bad.

My sleep is ok at the moment but I think I may have another virus.
Get some sleep, Ramon!