A week without sleep will worsen time disorientation, increased light sensitivity and altered body perception, symptoms similar to schizophrenia. In fact, the effects of prolonged sleeplessness deteriorate the body so effectively that it has been used as a form of torture.
Huffington Post reports that controlling the sleeping time of detainees was considered an effective interrogation technique during the Bush era.
The prisoners were not allowed to get even a little wink of sleep for 180 hours, or more than one week. Because of this prisoners experienced hallucinations.
Psychologist Kelly Bulkeley claimed that extreme sleep deprivation is more damaging than mutilating a person’s finger. It targets the basic biological function that is crucial to a person’s well-being.
“The first things to go are higher-order thinking that require planning or holding things in working memory while you’re doing a calculation,” adds University of Texas cognitive neuroscientist, David Schnyer.
“Eventually, it will go all the way down to the basic perception and people will begin to hallucinate or think that they’re perceiving things that aren’t really there.”
The neuroscientist notes that people will also experience emotional disruptions. An individual may not control going from sobbing to laughing.
Apparently, the US military allows 72-hour missions without a period of sleep. However, they are studying how soldiers can go on long missions without suffering the negative consequences of the lack of rest.
Unfortunately based on studies, even six or fewer hours of sleep increases automobile accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 100,000 car crashes, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths occur every year because drivers do not get enough rest at night.
Experts recommend minimising extreme noise, light and temperature during bedtime. One should also avoid watching TV just before bed; so a TV in the bedroom must not be tolerated.
Avoiding naps during the day, not drinking fluids after 8 pm, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, not eating heavy meals and exercising just a few hours before sleeping will also help one doze quickly and longer at night.