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A 1996 study by the University of Chicago Medical Center showed that sleep deprivation severely affects the human body's ability to metabolize glucose, which can lead to early-stage Diabetes Type 2.
Effects on the brain
Sleep deprivation can adversely affect brain function. A 2000 study, by the UCSD School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in San Diego, used functional magnetic resonance imaging technology to monitor activity in the brains of sleep-deprived subjects performing simple verbal learning tasks. The study showed that regions of the brain's prefrontal cortex displayed more activity in sleepier subjects. Depending on the task at hand, the brain would sometimes attempt to compensate for the adverse effects caused by lack of sleep. The temporal lobe, which is a brain region involved in language processing, was activated during verbal learning in rested subjects but not in sleep deprived subjects. The parietal lobe, not activated in rested subjects during the verbal exercise, was more active when the subjects were deprived of sleep. Although memory performance was less efficient with sleep deprivation, greater activity in the parietal region was associated with better memory.
A 2001 Study at Chicago Medical Institute suggested that sleep deprivation may be linked to more serious diseases, such as heart disease and mental illnesses, such as psychosis and bipolar disorder,
Animal studies suggest that sleep deprivation increases stress hormones, which may reduce new cell production in adult brains.
Effects on growth
A 1999 study found that sleep deprivation resulted in reduced cortisol secretion the next day, driven by increased subsequent slow-wave sleep. Sleep deprivation was found to enhance activity on the Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (which controls reactions to stress and regulates body functions such as digestion, the immune system, mood, sex, or energy usage) while suppressing growth hormones. The results supported previous studies, which observed adrenal insufficiency in idiopathic hypersomnia.
Effects on the healing process
A study conducted in 2005 showed that a group of rats who were deprived of five days of sleep had no significant effect on their ability to heal wounds, compared to a group of rats not deprived of sleep.
Impairment of ability
According to a 2000 study published in the British scientific journal, researchers in Australia and New Zealand reported that sleep deprivation can have some of the same hazardous effects as being drunk. People who drove after being awake for 17–19 hours performed worse than those with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, which is the legal limit for drunk driving in most western European countries (the U.S. and UK set their blood alcohol limits at .08 percent). In addition, as a result of continuous muscular activity without proper rest time, effects such as cramping are much more frequent in sleep-deprived individuals. Extreme cases of sleep deprivation have been reported to be associated with hernias, muscle fascia tears, and other such problems commonly associated with physical overexertion. Beyond impaired motor skills, people who get too little sleep may have higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and may take unnecessary risks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 traffic accidents each year in the USA alone are caused by fatigue and drowsiness. A new study has shown that while total sleep deprivation for one night caused many errors, the errors were not significant until after the second night of total sleep deprivation.
The response latency seem to be higher when it comes to actions regarding personal morality rather than in situations when morality is not in question. The willingness to violate a personal belief has been shown to be moderated by EQ, so people with high EQ are affected less by sleep deprivation in such situations.
Several large studies using nationally representative samples suggest that the obesity epidemic in Europe and the United States might have as one of its causes a corresponding decrease in the average number of hours that people are sleeping. The findings suggest that this might be happening because sleep deprivation could be disrupting hormones that regulate glucose metabolism and appetite. The association between sleep deprivation and obesity appears to be strongest in young and middle-age adults. Other scientists hold that the physical discomfort of obesity and related problems, such as sleep apnea, reduce an individual's chances of getting a good night's sleep.
In science, sleep deprivation (of rodents, e.g.) is used in order to study the function(s) of sleep and the biological mechanisms underlying the effects of sleep deprivation.
Some sleep deprivation techniques are as follows:
Sleep deprivation is used as an interrogation technique (for example, in Pinochet-era Chile, the Soviet Union, and by coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq). Interrogation victims are kept awake for several days; when they are finally allowed to fall asleep, they are suddenly awakened and questioned. Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister from 1977-83 described his experience of sleep deprivation when a prisoner of the KGB in Russia as follows, "In the head of the interrogated prisoner, a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep... Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger and thirst are comparable with it." In 2006, Australian Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock argued that sleep deprivation does not constitute torture.  In rats, prolonged, complete sleep deprivation increases both food intake and energy expenditure, leading to weight loss and, ultimately, death.  Nicole Bieske, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International Australia, has stated, "At the very least, [sleep deprivation] is cruel, inhumane and degrading. If used for prolonged periods of time it is torture."
Treatment for depression
Recent studies show sleep deprivation has some potential in the treatment of depression. About 60% of patients, when sleep-deprived, show immediate recovery, with most relapsing the following night. The incidence of relapse can be decreased by combining sleep deprivation with medication . Incidentally, many tricyclic antidepressants happen to suppress REM sleep, providing additional evidence for a link between mood and sleep . Similarly, tranylcypromine has been shown to completely suppress REM sleep at adequate doses.
Sleep deprivation may sometimes be intentionally induced for various reasons. For example, it may be induced as a form of recreation, entertainment or to provide a legal "high" without using drugs. Vivid hallucinations, heightened senses and a feeling of incredible creativity (common effects of illicit drugs) may occur after 48 hours (or less) of being in a state of sleeplessness. There is even a history of sleep deprivation being used by different schools of religious mystics as a form of asceticism or to heighten spiritual awareness. In particular, the early desert monks of the Christian Church during the fourth and fifth centuries were known to deny themselves sleep. Coffee owes much of its spread in popularity through use by Muslim mystics in all-night devotions.
Sleep deprivation has sometimes been self-imposed to achieve personal notoriety in the context of record-breaking stunts. One such record belonged to Randy Gardner. Lt. Cmdr. John J. Ross of the US Navy Medical Neuropsychiatric Research Unit later published an account of this event, which became well known among sleep-deprivation researchers.
Causes and treatments
In the United States, and in many other countries, sleep deprivation is common among students.. School aged children should be getting between 8.5 and 9.25 hours of sleep but many do not. A National Sleep Foundation survey found that college/university-aged students get an average of 6.8 hours of sleep each night. Students get more sleep each night in the summer than during the school year, and one in four US high school students admit to falling asleep in class at least once a week.. Research has indicated that teenage children have a variation in their circadian cycle that delays sleep past the normal time for adults. Since school schedules are based around the adult workday, it is not surprising that students have difficulty obtaining adequate sleep. In 1997 the University of Minnesota did research that compared students who went to school at 7:15 and those who went to school at 8:40. They found that students who went to school at 8:40 got higher grades and more sleep on the weekdays.
Prevention of effects in soldiers
Since sleep deprivation is a fact of modern combat, the U.S. Army, through DARPA, has a "Preventing Sleep Deprivation Program", which has the goal to prevent the harmful effects of sleep deprivation and provide methods for recovery of function with particular emphasis on cognitive and psychomotor impairments. Their efforts include new pharmaceuticals that enhance neural transmission, nutraceuticals that promote neurogenesis, cognitive training, and devices such as transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Militaries of several countries, including the US, the UK, and France, have been exploring the use of a drug called modafinil (brand name Provigil), which has prevented negative effects of sleep deprivation. Although modafinil is not a typical stimulant, it eliminates fatigue, promotes wakefulness, and improves alertness; it was initially developed for sufferers of narcolepsy.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sleep_deprivation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|