Sleep is a necessary part of life. Without it, the brains normal functions can become slow, confused, or cease all together. Situations may arise often where deficient amounts of sleep are considered an acceptable byproduct of an alternative activity. For instance, a man who decides to go out with friends and close down a dance club knowing he needs to wake up at 5:00 am the next morning for work may find he did not receive an adequate amount of sleep to function at the best of his ability the following work day. On the other hand, intentional sleep deprivation, due to the impact it causes on the effected person, was often used to torture prisoners of war.
The term sleep deprivation is ...view middle of the document...
Prolonged sleep deprivation, such as that commonly used as an interrogation technique as recently as 2004 in post-9/11 interrogations of terror suspects, is utilized specifically for the effects it causes on detainees. This justifiably controversial method is described by Kaye (2009), “Less well known, but perhaps just as injurious to its victims, are practices such as long-term isolation, sensory deprivation, sensory overload or over-stimulation, and sleep deprivation.” The practice of intentional sleep deprivation, such as the technique described here, is usually conducted by the strategic use of loud noise, music, and bright lights meant to create an environment too disruptive to sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (2007). “Extreme sleep deprivation can lead to a seemingly psychotic state of paranoia and hallucinations in otherwise healthy people, and disrupted sleep can trigger episodes of mania (agitation and hyperactivity) in people with manic depression.” When used as a coercive technique, this tactic is meant to breakdown the prisoner and his psychological defenses (Kaye, 2009).
On the contrary, long-term sleep reduction demonstrated systematically in studies, has yielded surprising results. It appears that resetting the nighttime clock related to one’s sleep patterns can actually prove beneficial, or at least equally favorable to a subject. When nightly sleep was gradually decreased in subjects, Pinel (2009) notes interesting findings:
In each of the subjects, a reduction in sleep time was associated with an increase in sleep efficiency: a decrease in the amount of time it took the subjects to fall asleep after going to bed, a decrease in the number of nighttime awakenings, and an increase in the proportion of stage 4 sleep (p. 369).
These findings prove that a systematic reduction of sleep can lead to positive changes and provide some with more waking hours to take on other activities without suffering the consequences in the morning.
Reduction of sleep is not always caused by an intentional shuffling of priorities by a subject or as a technique to gain information from an enemy. Sleep deprivation can also be the cause...