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The Dangers of Being Really, Really Tired

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the especially-if-you-have-a-bike-car-or-zamboni dept.

Medicine 469

Sleepy Dog Millionare writes "Brian Palmer, writing for Slate, asks 'Can you die from lack of sleep?' and shockingly, the answer may very well be Yes, you can. Palmer points to 'ground breaking experiments' in the area of sleep research. It turns out that sleep deprivation can actually be deadly in rats. The obvious conclusion is that it is probably deadly in all mammals. So the next time you think you need to pull multiple all-night hack-a-thons, ask yourself if it's worth risking your life for."

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469 comments

If I were sleep deprived (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982341)

I wouldn't be able to get a first post.

Re:If I were sleep deprived (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982379)

I really wish people would take the dangers of even small amounts of sleep deprivation more seriously.

Even missing an hours sleep could be enough to kill some poor sod who happens to be crossing the road at the same time as you miss the red lights.

In the modern world it seems to be macho to go without sleep. In reality, depriving yourself of sleep makes you less productive.

Re:If I were sleep deprived (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982527)

depriving yourself of sleep makes you less productive

It may, depending on what you're doing. Being deprived of sleep (or stoned) is the only way I can even contemplate boring tasks -- decorating for example. If I'm capable of doing something... anything that's even vaguely interesting then boring tasks are going to be put off.

Re:If I were sleep deprived (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982669)

If you need to be in any sort of altered state of mind to function, then you have deeper problems. I don't buy into all of that bullshit ADD crap, but perhaps you should get more exercise and eat healthier. It might help more than you know.

Re:If I were sleep deprived (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982751)

If you need to be in any sort of altered state of mind to function, then you have deeper problems. I don't buy into all of that bullshit ADD crap, but perhaps you should get more exercise and eat healthier. It might help more than you know.

You're clearly a wordsmith and an avid reader of the DSMIV. Enlighten us all, Doctor Coward, about how pumping iron and eating celery is just what we need to help us achieve the desire to do menial tasks.

Re:If I were sleep deprived (5, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982905)

When I was younger I'd sometimes go as much as a week without sleep. It does make a difference in how you solve problems. With massive sleep deprivation problems requiring critical thinking become harder but problems requiring creative leaps get easier. You end up in something close to a waking dream state. I wouldn't suggest it for average problems but if you get really stuck on something that is very complex it can help.

Of course most problems of this nature can be solved by just relaxing in a quiet place for a while and letting your mind wander. There is something to different states of mind but it's best not to abuse these. With practice you can slip into the right state of mind at will without needing to force it with drugs, lack of sleep, etc.

Re:If I were sleep deprived (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982555)

In the modern world it seems to be macho to go without sleep.

Stop talking like a pussy, boy!

Re:If I were sleep deprived (5, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982763)

> In reality, depriving yourself of sleep makes you less productive.

In reality, there's more to life than being 'at optimal productivity level' all the time. Work to live, not the other way round. If you have an awesome party on your birthday but are a little less productive the day after, then the world can just suck it up. I'm not saying you should drive while (severely) sleep deprived, it's just that there are many things in life that are worth a little sleep deprivation. Just make sure you understand the consequences of sleep deprivation and use that knowledge to act responsibly.

Ah...... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982355)

But did they feed the rats Jolt?

It keeps me alive!

Now if I can just do something about those damned bats...

Re:Ah...... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27982911)

That's so funny, I threw up my energy drink into the one I'm currently drinking!

~stolen from the brothers Chapman

Hack-a-thons? No. (5, Interesting)

The Fanta Menace (607612) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982365)

It's not the voluntary all-night hack-a-thons that society needs to worry about. It's the insistence by employers that their staff work all night, because of deadline screwups by management, or by the requirement that staff have to do on-call, rather than employing people specifically for night shifts.

I wouldn't lose any sleep at all, if it wasn't for idiotic decisions by my employer.

Re:Hack-a-thons? No. (5, Interesting)

paitre (32242) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982575)

Actually, there are some Really, Really good reasons for certain individuals to be 'on-call'. However, the result of on-call actions should have the commensurate benefit of having additional time off to recover from those over night sessions.

If THAT happened more often, people would be far more willing to do on-call.

SRSLY.

Re:Hack-a-thons? No. (4, Funny)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#27983017)

*Boss put his hands on his ears*

Lalalalala, I can't hear you, lalalalalala!

Re:Hack-a-thons? No. (5, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982657)

Hmm. The real problem is, that you can not go somewhere else when stuff like that happens. Usually they all are that way. And usually they can just reject you and not care, while you can not do the same.

That's why unions came up. Unfortunately it turned out being something not exactly as good as intended. ^^

Try a lightweight Hollywood model. That is, when everybody is self-employed, and you can have multiple "bosses"/clients and can always hire your own employees/businesses. Lightweight would mean, to do it, but to group with those bosses/clients/employees/businesses in a kind of "company" that lets you cut down on the administration and tax work, while still being just as free in everything else. Then you could easily say "no" to one boss/client, and choose to do work for the other one.

Re:Hack-a-thons? No. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982773)

That's why unions came up. Unfortunately it turned out being something not exactly as good as intended. ^^

Speak for yourself. I, for one, am very happy with my union. Not only for all the direct things it has done for me but also for all the lobbying.

The reason why I get to live in an European welfare state is because of forming of the unions and the massive lobbying they have done during their whole history to this date.

Actually just some months ago, government decided to raise the retirement age by a few years but unions told them that they would never agree to it so the prime minister endured quite bad political defeat as he had to forget the plans he had announced.

I have heard that unions in the USA aren't that strong but well... Saying that unions failed is wrong. They can work really well. It is just that american mentality and unionizing didn't really fit together that well...

Re:Hack-a-thons? No. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27983053)

That's why unions came up. Unfortunately it turned out being something not exactly as good as intended. ^^

Try a lightweight Hollywood model. That is, when everybody is self-employed, and you can have multiple "bosses"/clients and can always hire your own employees/businesses.

You do understand the only reason that works at all in hollywood is because the entire hollywood business is the most union-heavy business in the country, right?

There's no way in hell anyone working for the big studios would be able to make a decent wage if that weren't the case.

Insomnia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982721)

I've got insomnia because of work. My boss pushes me more, the better I do, but never lets up on being suspicious. I dread Mondays and by the end of the week, I'm so fed up of feeling nervous that my attitude changes to "to hell with it", which isn't exactly good for me or my work, and Thursday night I usually sleep well. Friday night I feel manic so I can't sleep and I mess up my sleeping schedule. I'd change jobs but it's difficult right now and can't afford accepting a lower wage, not that I get paid too much as it is.

Lack of sleep IS dangerous (5, Funny)

Macblaster (94623) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982377)

According to a reliable source [memory-alpha.org], a lack of REM sleep in a group of people will cause them to go crazy and start murdering each other...

Re:Lack of sleep IS dangerous (4, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982729)

Death from too much work/too little sleep is so popular in Japan, that they have a nice name for it here - karoshi.

Which, surprisingly, translates literally to "death from too much work".

Re:Lack of sleep IS dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27982943)

I thought karaoshi was bad singing over popular songs in bars.

silly slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982393)

For me and my buddies, "all nighter" means deep dicking some pussy until morning . I can't think of a better way to die.

Re:silly slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982761)

Parent post modded Insightful. Only on slashdot!

Rats make for lousy test subjects (5, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982399)

I don't know... so far, research indicates that any test will at some point cause death in rats. I've never read conclusions like "tests indicate that the rats live on just fine throughout the experiments".

"Shockingly"?? (5, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982405)

Who thinks this is shocking.

We need water. Would you be shocked to find a lack of water can be deadly?

Why would anyone be shocked to find lack of sleep can kill?

Re:"Shockingly"?? (5, Insightful)

centuren (106470) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982593)

It would certainly be a lot more helpful to have specifics about what sleep provides that we require versus, say, a rest while conscious.

Water is a good example, where it's thoroughly understood just how our body uses it, i.e. what role hydration plays in our continued functioning.

What is it specifically that requires us to lose consciousness to get what we need from sleep? Can it be artificially supplemented?

Re:"Shockingly"?? (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982785)

I think the biggest thing you need sooner or later is REM sleep, not just a lie down. Lack of REM sleep (which, as we'll see is possible while technically still getting some sleep) can result in actual brain damage, or in the very long run even death. (Ironically, it's also produced _by_ certain kinds of brain damage.) Also, while we still lack the complete picture, it's proven that at least one type of memory isn't updated without REM.

REM sleep also doesn't come instantly. In most people you need at least 90 minutes from falling asleep to having your first REM period. Anything under about half an hour is a sign of narcolepsy. Your longest REM episodes happen after several hours.

On the average over a whole night, about a quarter of the time will be REM. It's safe to assume that in the long run those two hours or so of REM a day are what your body actually needs.

But again, you don't get them in one big chunk. You get them interleaved with periods of non-REM sleep. So what it boils down to is that to get your normal quota of REM sleep, you'll actually need those 8 hours a night. You might get by with just 7, but anything less (unless you're over 70) is putting stress on your brain in the long run. You might not outright die, but you won't be very smart or attentive after months of getting significantly less.

But if you know how to get that REM while awake instead, I'm listening.

Because otherwise, no, you can't get your daily sleep by laying down on the couch for half an hour. You need to actually sleep. Not even from having the occasional half an hour nap. You just don't reach REM that fast, unless you're narcoleptic.

Which also brings us to: if whatever project or job actually makes you ask yourself if you could get by with just a lie down now and then, well, ask yourself if it's worth the problems in the longer run. Again, even if you don't outright reach the death point, you _will_ lose neurons, and that tends to be fairly permanent. You might also get other problems too.

And if you're the employer, well, ask yourself if you want to be an evil fuck. We're not talking just greedy, or just pushing them a little harder, but actual long term damage. If actual harm to some people is a perfectly acceptable trade off for a few more bucks in your (or the company's) pocket, that's comfortably in the zone I'd call outright evil.

Re:"Shockingly"?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982851)

If you're an employer, ask yourself if you want to be a greedy, rich fuck. And if so, then ensure your workers are adequately rested, including forcing them to take vacation; with pay if that's what it takes. (If you can't justify it, fire them, because any worker worth his salt is worth treating well.)

Of course, that only works over the long run. And while it can produce mountains of cash, it won't save your ass at the next quarterly conference call (or investor meeting, or pleading with your accountant to find a way to make payroll). Thus, this technique requires forward thinking. Sadly, if you refer to yourself as a manager and not a worker, then you probably lack that particular competency. And if refer to yourself as a worker, than all of this is quite intuitive (unless your a lazy fuck like most workers... ;).

Re:"Shockingly"?? (5, Interesting)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982927)

Gotta say that was a very long post that repeated a lot of conventional wisdom but said almost nothing to answer OP's question...

"What is it specifically that requires us to lose consciousness to get what we need from sleep?"

From a neurobiological perspective that will not be answered satisfactorily until we know at a basic biochemical level what happens during sleep to "recharge" the brain to its normal function.

Re:"Shockingly"?? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982963)

I think the biggest thing you need sooner or later is REM sleep, not just a lie down. Lack of REM sleep (which, as we'll see is possible while technically still getting some sleep) can result in actual brain damage, or in the very long run even death. (Ironically, it's also produced _by_ certain kinds of brain damage.) Also, while we still lack the complete picture, it's proven that at least one type of memory isn't updated without REM.

The next question is, what does REM sleep bring? It's commonly believed to be the required / most beneficial part of a person's sleep, but what specifically occurs during that period to, for example, update the type of memory you mention?

There's a good amount of research on the subject, but I think it's something that's just naturally more complicated and harder to examine.

Re:"Shockingly"?? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982621)

i think the traditional wisdom that a person would simply fall into a deep sleep eventually that you couldn't wake them from until their system had recovered enough. i admit i'm suprised, i would have thought coma would have been the worst you could do.

w00t! (2, Funny)

powerslave12r (1389937) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982419)

Is this official? Does this mean I can sue my University for torture!

Re:w00t! (-1, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982679)

Not if you are in the axis of fundamentalism (USA, Iran, Israel, other Arabic countries, etc).
Then you only can get a tax deduction for "enhanced tuition techniques".

World Record (5, Informative)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982423)

The current world record for time without sleep is 11 days. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Gardner_(record_holder) [wikipedia.org]

Re:World Record (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982545)

Thats not very long. I could go two days without sleep but I couldn't go anywhere near one fifth of the world record for (say) free diving.

Re:World Record (1)

brasselv (1471265) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982705)

Uhm... does this mean that Usain Bolt [wikipedia.org] is "not very fast", since you can probably run 100M in less than 1 minute?

Re:World Record (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982837)

Uh maybe not. I suppose my point is that the sleep record is a bit like the running record. Getting to 50% of the record would be easy. Going an extra day might be impossible.

Re:World Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27983047)

What a cocky little prick, that guy...

Re:World Record (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982821)

lol - someone had to say it..

That's 11 (eleven) 0x0B in hex, \013 in octal, 1011 in binary, days... not 2....

Re:World Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982843)

Voluntary record. Many in the Gulag have gone MUCH longer.

Re:World Record (3, Informative)

rhizome (115711) | more than 4 years ago | (#27983021)

The current world record for time without sleep is 11 days.

Tied with [dailyradar.com] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, I'm guessing.

Not news (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982431)

Wasn't this already proven by several cases of Chinese "volunteers" who stayed up for days playing Counterstrike in lan centers?

Also, there's usually a reason why your body makes you do things. Sleep is a method of biological maintenance, as is pooping. This is so obvious that I'm offended that rats had to die for this "experiment".

well, no shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982461)

a bunch of meth-heads I used to know could have told you that

It can do it to cats (3, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982467)

I remember reading some time ago (in the 1970's) of some research that was already old then (1950's?), about sleep deprivation literally killing cats. (Who would do such research is not clear, but looking back on things I suspect a military connection.)

This must be available in some public archive, if anyone cares to hunt for it.

Re:It can do it to cats (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982695)

Well, cats sleep 18 hours a day. So of course they have the biggest problems with that. Poor kitties though. :(

Re:It can do it to cats (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982809)

I remember reading some time ago (in the 1970's) of some research that was already old then (1950's?), about sleep deprivation literally killing cats.

Anybody who can keep a cat awake deserves a Nobel Prize.

Obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982487)

We are born awake. Our natural state is awake. It is a very dangerous state to be in, when considering all the predators one must deal with, before the advent of houses, that is... If we did not need to sleep in order to continue living, we would not have evolved that state of consciousness.

Re:Obvious. (1)

saiha (665337) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982599)

And if we could sleep half our brain at a time (like sea mammals) then that would be obvious too.

Depends what you're doing (5, Interesting)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982491)

Years ago I was working on a project to export data from a fancy survey instrument. After working at my office all day, I started work on the survey project in my basement around 5pm on a Friday night and worked on it for a while and had a wonderful time and everything was coming together nicely. After a while I suddenly felt sick; thought I might have to lie down or something. I then noticed that it was about 7pm on Sunday night. I hadn't noticed until then. That's why I was suddenly sick.

It's one of the strangest things that ever happened to me. I subsequently felt much better after having a meal and a nap.

I guess that if something is sufficiently interesting and so on, you won't notice that you haven't had any sleep for quite some period of time.

Re:Depends what you're doing (4, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982913)

After working at my office all day, I started work on the survey project in my basement around 5pm on a Friday night and worked on it for a while and had a wonderful time

You make slashdot proud.

Re:Depends what you're doing (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982945)

I think we've all had times where we were "in the zone," though maybe not as extreme as your case. I know there have been several times that I suddenly became very productive after hours and didn't notice while time just flew past. Usually this happens after stepping away from a project at the end of the day to get a bite to eat and suddenly realizing a new possible fix to the problem. This happens to me less with work-related issues than it does for personal projects, and I've also noticed that it happens much less frequently now than it did say, 5-7 years ago.

I've also had the opposite experience in which I go to bed with the current project on my mind only to sit bolt upright in the middle of the night with the (complete/near complete) solution in my mind. Of course, I went back to sleep after some of these experiences thinking I would remember them when I woke up and it never failed that the solution had become hazy ;-)

Sleep or the lack thereof can definitely have an interesting effect on your work performance.

Re:Depends what you're doing (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982999)

Probably it was the lack of food that contributed to the feeling of sickness more than anything else.

I did this at a geek/sci-fi con once. They had free snacks in the consuite throughout the weekend and I thought I would survive just fine on those. Got plenty of sleep. But by Sunday, I was ready to keel over. Though I had some bad lunchmeat or something from the consuite, but after I finally ate a full meal that afternoon I felt just fine.

Maybe not eating much for that long a period of time drops your blood sugar down to rock-bottom levels or something, but I'm not wise in the ways of nutrition so maybe someone more qualified can answer.

I get sick too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27983093)

After about 24 hours up, my stomach starts turning. I think the longest I've been up is 36 hours and I got loopy as hell, chain smoke and have diarrhea.

gross I know...

I also slept over 24 hours once because I kept misreading the AM/PM dot on my clock.

Try this (or perhaps better not) (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982499)

After a good night of no sleep, get in a car to test your reflexes. Probably better have the Mythbusters test things like this.

Re:Try this (or perhaps better not) (1)

saiha (665337) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982583)

Done it, usually on the drive to work. For me it actually catches up with me later in the day, in the morning I'm still very alert.

But yes it would be a pretty cool mythbusters to see how it affects you throughout the entire next day.

Re:Try this (or perhaps better not) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27983067)

Done it, wrecked my car doing it.

Before I knew I actually had allergies, i hadn't been able to sleep for weeks ... That was the end of that car. (And the death I thought they were referring to in the article - death by stupid mistake)

Lately, I still can't sleep very well, and the time i need sleeping varies on quality from 6 hours to 13. Getting none usually means i'm struggling to not doze off on my way to work (around noon) but much more awake by the end of my shift.

Morning time might be easier for most people because there's more blue light (which due to an article on slashdot I don't feel like looking up, wakes you up)

Re:Try this (or perhaps better not) (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982989)

Just take a simple test. Some intelligence test. And I mean all types of intelligence.
I bet by the third day (at latest), you will stop staying awake, when you see the results. ^^

This is news? (4, Informative)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982535)

That article about "ground breaking experiments" is from 1997. I'm trying to remember when I read the story about Rechtschaffen's experiments the first time, and it is entirely possible that it was a /. story then too, which would make this a dup. This story is hardly news.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982557)

Yeah that was groundbreaking 12 years ago. Those experiments are now part of the ground, which is now harder to break.

Sure about that? (2, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982541)

There was a programme on TV the other week about some guy in Canada who's been awake for about 3 years, using some experimental drug (that they named, but I forget about it other than I discovered it was illegal in this country).

He didn't seem to be dead. Could have been a zombie, I guess.

It's coming to something when.. (4, Informative)

shabble (90296) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982549)

It's coming to something when even the submitters can't be bothered RTFA. All night hackathons are not going to kill you:

All of these physiological changes are reversible, thoughâ"take a nap, and you'll be on the road back to normal.
[...]
After 32 days of total sleep deprivation, all the rats were dead.

So unless you work 32 days straight, you're not going to die.

Re:It's coming to something when.. (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982617)

So unless you work 32 days straight, you're not going to die.

If you are a rat, yes. However, YMMV

Re:It's coming to something when.. (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982793)

This [slashdot.org] poll suggests that it is quite normal to occasionally go a day or two without sleep. It only reports the survivors, but still....

Sorta (5, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982861)

Sorta. After 32 days the damage got to be deadly. It doesn't mean you can't get smaller doses of damage long before that. Keep doing it often enough, and it might just add up.

And the darndest thing is that your cells have Telomeres [wikipedia.org], i.e., maximum division counters. So even damage that can be repaired, only goes so far. E.g., old age and death by old age, are simply a matter of more and more of your cells reaching the limit, and thus more and more damage can't be repaired. So, anyway, that which doesn't kill you, usually shortens your life instead of making you stronger.

Sorta if you will, like saying that you need a whole 0.45% alcohol in your blood to have a 50-50 chance of death. Yeah, but much smaller doses, if done often enough, can kill you just the same.

And to answer to your objection from a different message too, yes, 1 or 2 nights you can recover from. (Though if done for work reason, it may still be interesting to remember the study where the students who were allowed to have a good 8 hour sleep solved a problem actually faster than those who pulled all nighters. You're a lot less smart when very tired.) After about 3 you start getting permanent brain damage.

Re:Sorta (1)

shabble (90296) | more than 4 years ago | (#27983009)

And to answer to your objection from a different message [...]

I raised no objection in a different message, this being my second on this story.

you will die from one night of not sleeping (5, Insightful)

saiha (665337) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982565)

If you die from 1 all-nighter then you probably died from something else (very poor health). I think most of science and engineering have been built on all-nighters so sorry, not going to stop.

Thank you Captain Obvious! (3, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982571)

Is there anyone here who seriously thought that it would be even remotely related to ok, to not sleep for several days?

Not only does it make you stupid as hell, and depressed. Your brain also starts to fail more and more. Even if you do not die, you will not be far away from a zombie.

Hope you do not run up to me in that state, because I am going to shoot you. I don't take risks zombies. Zombies and raptors. Especially zombie raptors. ^^

So caffeine isn't a replacement for sleep? (0)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982587)

So the giant, talking can of cola has been lying to me all these years? I think I'll take his word over these "researchers".

waterboarding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982603)

is less harmful then sleep deprivation now? Looks like the U.S. is already one step ahead and has been using this for a long time as a means of torture.

Did anyone read it as Ballmer rather than Palmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982615)

I had a vision of Ballmer and his slaves on a giant Longship. He's threatening his employees with The Chair, while they pull another 72 hour all-nighter finishing Windows VII.

You'd normally think the vision would be funny, but Ballmer was wearing nothing but a Toga. My medical insurance doesn't cover that.

The slaves even had a chant... "developers, developers, developers..."

Insomnian NOT know to kill humans? (1)

Dr.Altaica (200819) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982627)

What about Sporadic Fatal Insomnia and Fatal Familial Insomnia.

Re:Insomnian NOT know to kill humans? (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982879)

To be fair, FFI is a degenerative disorder of the brain, so I don't think it really relates to "normal" sleep deprivation.

Sleep kills? (1, Funny)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982641)

Nonsense of course. All my research proves the contrary.

Everyone who's wise knows sleep is really an addictive illness [skytopia.com] that needs to be overcome.

Re:Sleep kills? (1)

kms_one (1272174) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982747)

As to your addictive illness...solutions:

As a last resort, let 50 spiders loose in your bedroom when the sleeping pangs kick in. If you're even slightly arachnophobic, you'll rather stay awake than go to bed with those crawling around!

Brilliant. Anyone willing to be a guinea pig?

Re:Sleep kills? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982935)

Reading that, especially the last part, convinces me you aren't serious. It would take a ridiculous amount of ignorance to sincerely use those quotes so out of context.

Oh, and regarding the sleep apnia. IIRC it is basically snoring exaggerated to the point that the person can no longer breathe for several minutes, until oxygen deprivation wakes them up (so they now need to start over with the REM cycle). This occurs several times throughout the night, so they are still exhausted in the morning.

Stress kill first (0)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982643)

I've know several people over the years what would do 3-7 night binges on speed and none of them died from lack of sleep but can't say much for their bodies and mind from too much of the drug.

BUT

I gave away my pet rat to a friend. What happened was the rat got his teeth stuck on the cage and couldn't get out. After not being able to get out for several hours and being stuck in an uncomfortable position the rat died from stress.

school or all-night-hacking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982693)

When you concentrate on problem for a while, brain enters into "programming flow", you just don't realize how the time passes by when there's no distractions. It's really easy to spend a whole night coding, but next day I have to skip school in the morning.

This really bothers me. To do some serious programming, it's just impossible for me to do it without staying whole night. OTOH, it is really hard to be professional/responsible person without normal sleeping schedule. I mean, I unwillingly have to skip a lot of classes, meetings because of sleeping problems.

What other /. do to keep the balance? What's your advice?

Re:school or all-night-hacking? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982883)

Umm,

set some limits for yourself. Decide you are going to go to bed at 12:00 or whatever. I know you don't want to break concentration by watching the clock you setup an interrupt timer for yourself ahead of time. There is no reason why you can't use the alarm clock to tell you when to go to bed instead of when to get out of it. Maybe you will need two alarm clocks.. Get an extra to have by the computer.

The Gulag Archipelago describes sleep deprivation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982723)

The Soviets cetainly knew sleep deprivation was bad. As described by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, it was the most effective torture method used in the Gulag.

pain sensitivity (5, Interesting)

Chris Snook (872473) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982777)

I once went 9 days without sleep. After 22 hours of sleep I woke up in severe pain, as an injury I had suffered halfway through, which seemed very mild in my sensory-depressed state, was in fact something that required medical attention. If it had been only a tiny bit worse, I could have developed life-threatening complications after several days of ignoring and aggravating it. Impaired motor control, pain sensitivity, awareness, and judgment, all at the same time, is a dangerous combination.

Re:pain sensitivity (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#27983115)

How do you even go 9 days without sleep? The longest workday I ever put in was just over 24 hours and I was already completely wrecked by the end of that. How in the world do you manage 9 days? It may just incomprehensible to me because I'm not one of those people who brag about how little sleep I get/need.

Sleep deprivation is very serious (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#27982779)

In my early thirties I started snoring a lot, and very heavily. Two years later I started experiencing symptoms such as forgetting where I was going as I driving down the road, getting into my vehicle and not remembering how to start it, forgetting my own phone number, the inability to perform my job at any level of competency, etc.... I thought I had suffered a major stroke.

I went to the doctor and he said I was a ringer for sleep apnea and referred me to a sleep clinic.

Long story short I was waking 50 times an hour because that's how often my breathing was being interrupted and my body would rouse me due to low oxygen levels in my blood. To me it seemed as if I was awake all night long and never went to sleep.

After being fitted with a cpap mask and sleep machine to pump air into my mouth and nose while I slept it took me three weeks of normal sleep to recover my mental faculties.

Sleep deprivation will kill you, and it will also seriously degrade your mental capabilities. It's nothing to mess around with. In addition to the mental problems the probability of a stroke or heart attack is greatly amplified.

Not much of a threat (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#27982833)

I don't this is something that happens often under circumstances people normally experience.

First if it was we would already know and not need to be doing the research now, to find out if can be lethal.
Second nature probably has its methods of preventing you from killing yourself in this fashion no matter how dumb you are about trying to stay up.

You usually cannot hold your breath until you die. You might be able to do it with some contrivance like a plastic bag tied around your neck or noose, but if you just sit there in your chair and attempt to hold your breath you will pass out before you die and start breathing automatically when that happens.

I suspect you can't keep yourself awake long enough to die either without getting pretty darn creative.

Inquisition. (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#27982919)

There is a reason why people tend to sign and say anything you want them too if you keep them awake long enough. That's why modern countries don't use this any..., ah never mind.

Unsure about this, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27982921)

I read somewhere that most humans will drop dead after not sleeping for 9 days.

Shenanigans! (5, Interesting)

JoeDuncan (874519) | more than 4 years ago | (#27983033)

Let me be the first to call shenanigans on this.

Any studies on the harmfulness of sleep deprivation are so horribly confounded as to be practically useless.

The problem lies in the fact that in order to deprive rats of sleep you have to apply some kind of aversive stimulus to disrupt their sleep. Not only that, but the more tired an animal gets, the stronger the aversive stimuli needed to keep them awake. These aversive stimuli cause stress, and we already know that chronic, unavoidable stressors can kill.

So how can they make the attribution to lack of sleep rather than to stress? There's no simple way to separate them.

One of the articles even states that one of the physiological results of lack of sleep is an increase of cortisol and TSH - *BOTH* of which are known effects of stress. I would rather say that the physiological results they are seeing have been caused by the stressors they are applying to keep the animals awake than the lack of sleep.

Shenanigans I say, shenanigans.

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