An article on from The Huffington
Post, published this week has shed light on possible effects of
Dr Steven Feinsilver is the director of the
Centre for Sleep Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine in New York
City. Feinsilver said, "Sleep deprivation has been used as a form
Researchers say, learning what happens in
people who are deprived of sleep can help other researchers better
understand the function of sleep and its importance for both
physical and emotional health.
The first symptom of sleep deprivation is
letting our emotions go askew. Even a low level of sleep
deprivation has an impact on cognitive and emotional function.
David Dinges, a professor of psychology said, "When people get
sleep-deprived, they don't show positive emotion in their
'Microsleeps.' is a bizarre phenomenon that is
experienced with sleep-deprivation. A person begins to fall into
mini-snooze sessions, which last up to 30 seconds. Some people's
eyes remain open during microsleeps, during sleep, the person is
essentially blind, even if their eyes are open, Feinsilver
In some of the more extreme cases, people can
experience delirium caused from lack of sleep. People have been
known to be hospitalised from delirium, where a person begins to
feel loopy and disorientated. Feinsilver said, the worst thing you
can do for sleep is to put someone in a hospital, it's fairly
common for hospitalised patients to develop insomnia.
Hallucinations caused by sleep-deprivation is
debatable, people have reported seeing weird and wacky images as a
result of lack of sleep. However Dinges is skeptical on this
aspect, "When people are very sleepy and performing a task, they
may see something flicker in their peripheral vision, or they may
think they see blinking lights, but not be sure, he said. All of
these are indications that the brain isn't interpreting information
The concept of death from sleep deprivation is
arguably the most widely-known symptom. In a famous series of
animal experiments, researcher found that total sleep deprivation
could kill lab rats. Dinges said, "I don't believe that
people can keep themselves awake until they succumb to death,"
because the drive to sleep turns on, and then continues to turn on,
he said. "You can't will yourself to stay awake that long,"