Reprinted with permission from the book DREAMING, SLEEPING & ESP
Experts are now indicating that lack of sleep is an important factor in long term health, job-related accidents, industrial injuries, and traffic fatalities.
Disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the Challenger Space Shuttle, the Exxon Valdez crash . . . were all attributed to human error and poor judgment because of people who were fatigued and working in the early morning hours.
The U.S. Transport Department estimates that 700 highway accidents a day are caused by sleepy drivers!
Sleep deprivation is chronic in about 10 percent of the population says sleep specialist Dr. Adam Moscovitch . . . and in his book, The Twenty Four Hour Society, Dr. Martin Moore-Ede says truck accidents in which fatigue was a factor costs Americans $5 billion a year.
When sleep deprivation approaches 100 hours the "subject" experiences burning eyes, hallucinations, and impaired judgment. Many sleep-deprived subjects are unable to retain information long enough to relate it to a task they are suppose to perform.
People do not die when they are deprived of sleep like they do when deprived of food or water.
Lack of sleep results in people becoming irritable, suspicious, disoriented with time, increased skin sensitivity, eye and hand tremors, problems with vision, slurred speech, poor mental concentration for doing monotonous tasks . . . Also, your ability to concentrate, your ability to produce, your level of creativity, your interaction with other workers can deteriorate very quickly.
I.Q.. tests and chess performances are normal however even after several days of sleep deprivation.
After one sleepless night, test subjects showed a dramatic decrease in performance, as much as 30 percent . . . they tended to rebound in the morning when they prepared for work with showers and coffee, they start to feel good and alert, but overall their performance continues to decline. If the sleep pattern continues for long periods of time (21 days) the decline in performance can become a "thinking habit" which can be difficult to eliminate.
After a person has been deprived of sleep for several days, he/she will tend to sleep for as much as sixteen hours to "make-up" for it and then all physical and mental functions return to normal. Notice that sixteen hours is the same amount of time that a newborn child sleeps normally . . . It's as though the body were being 'reset'.
If a person is constantly waken up before they can enter REM sleep then the first occasion of undisturbed sleep will have the "sleeper" undergoing longer periods of REM sleep as if to "catch-up".
Similarly, if a person is deprived of "slow wave" sleep he/she will make -up the "slow wave" sleep as if to "catch-up".