Secrets of Sleep

By Alexander Borbely; Deborah Schneider | Go to book overview

10
Sleep Deprivation

. . . let the doctors determine whether sleep is so necessary
that life depends on it. For we certainly find that they put
to death King Perseus of Macedonia, when he was a pris-
oner in Rome, by preventing him from sleeping; but Pliny
instances people who lived a long time without sleep.

-- MICHEL DE MONTAIGNIE

Essays

The topic of this chapter is of importance for both basic and applied scientific research; outside the bounds of science, the idea of going without sleep arises in interesting connections throughout the history of human culture. For modern researchers experiments with sleep deprivation provide important insights into the regulatory mechanism and functions of sleep, but more practically oriented research can also profit from tests of this kind.

Let us begin by considering some of the effects of sleep deprivation on various sectors of the working population. It can lead to a reduction of a person's ability to function effectively; this can have disastrous consequences for car drivers or for industrial workers. People who have to work on shifts and sleep at unaccustomed times may easily accumulate a chronic sleep deficit. The effects of insufficient sleep are also of interest to the military, since soldiers sometimes have to get along on little sleep for long periods. This can reduce their capacity to carry out orders, to judge situations correctly, or to make decisions, and it may lessen their motivation in general.

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Secrets of Sleep
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface to the American Edition vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - A Historical View of Sleep 3
  • 2 - Scientists Investigate Sleep: The Different Stages of Sleep 16
  • 3 - Sleep: A Theme with Variations 31
  • 4 - Dreams 48
  • 5 - Sleep and Sleeping Pills 70
  • In Conclusion 86
  • 6 - "I Didn't Sleep a Wink All Night": Insomnia and Disorders of Sleeping and Waking 87
  • 7 - Sleep in Animals 105
  • 8 - Sleep and the Brain 122
  • 9 - The Search for Endogenous Sleep Substances 136
  • 10 - Sleep Deprivation 151
  • 11 - Sleep as a Biological Rhythm 170
  • 12 - The Purpose of Sleep 191
  • In Conclusion 204
  • Appendix: - Sleep Disorders Information Leaflet 207
  • Notes 210
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 223
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