Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sleep Deprivation--Threat or Menace?

The question of extreme use of sleep deprivation as torture has advocates on both sides of the issue. In 2006, Australian Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock argued that sleep deprivation does not constitute torture.[51] 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."
From the beginning, sleep deprivation had been one of the most important elements in the CIA's interrogation program, used to help break dozens of suspected terrorists, far more than the most violent approaches. And it is among the methods the agency fought hardest to keep.
The technique is now prohibited by President Obama's ban in January on harsh interrogation methods, although a task force is reviewing its use along with other interrogation methods the agency might employ in the future.
Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation
Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and depression. Students who are working or studying long hours often experience episodes of sleep deprivation. This can cause daytime sleepiness, sluggishness, and difficulty concentrating or making decisions. Teens and young adults who do not get enough sleep are at risk for problems, such as automobile crashes; poor grades and school performance; depressed moods; and problems with friends, fellow students, and adult relationships. Eating well, being physically active, and getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your well-being.
“Sleep is a physiological need, not an option for humans. It is common knowledge that loss of sleep produces a host of physical and mental problems (mood irritability, energy drain and low motivation, slow reaction time, inability to concentrate and process information). Certainly, no one would suggest that a groggy truck driver who stops his rig on the side of a road rather than risk falling asleep at the wheel does not act to prevent a significant evil, i.e., harm to himself and others….
‘I mean it doesn’t take an expert to tell us that, to convince a person, that there are ill effects that arise from sleep [deprivation].’
Recent studies have shown that behaviors such as happiness, obesity, smoking and altruism are "contagious" within adult social networks. In other words, your behavior not only influences your friends, but also their friends and so on. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Harvard University have taken this a step farther and found that the spread of one behavior in social networks — in this case, poor sleep patterns — influences the spread of another behavior, adolescent drug use.
The study, led by Sara C. Mednick, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, was published March 19 in PLoS One.
“Only in recent years have we begun to realize the prevalence and severity of sleep deprivation in our population, with a significant number of people doing shift work, suffering from jet lag and so forth,” said J. Christian Gillin, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the UCSD and the San Diego VAMC, and an author of the Nature paper. “Yet, we don’t know very much about how sleep deprivation impairs performance, and how precisely the brain reacts to lack of sleep. These findings are just a beginning, and as we learn more, perhaps will be able to devise interventions to alleviate the behavioral impairments associated with lack of sleep.”
Santa Cruz's dirty little secret is the war on the poor and the use of "abnormal sleep deprivation"....

--tip of the hat to "Walkabout"who e-mailed Peacecamp2010 this info, posted by R. Norse

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