The Problem of Sleep Deprivation

By Daniel Downs

Sleep is one of those human behaviors most necessary to human health. Sure, eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding being killed are among the top three health practices. Sleep follows them is a strong fourth place.

There are many reasons people do not get enough sleep. A few that come to mind are worry, watching violent or other emotion heightening programs, eating too spicy or salty food before going to bed, conjugal relations while in bed, etc. Oh, yes, another is noise making people in one’s own home or people in the neighborhood.

Whatever the cause of sleep deprivation, the long-term problem arising from not getting enough sleep includes poor workmanship, sickness, and even death. All of which may contribute to the unemployment rate, increased costs of government, and family dysfunction.

There are several reasons why too little sleep too often over too long a period will result in ill health or death. When we are awake and active, our brains are consuming the largest share of our body’s available energy. But, when we are asleep, our body (muscular system, organs, and brain are consuming less energy, which allows more energy to be available for cellular reproduction and repair. That is why we all feel so much better after a good night’s sleep. Another reason is with an inefficiently operating cellular system cellular break down, genetic mutations, replication errors, or immune system dysfunction are more likely, which lead to ill health and even death.

It is one thing for people to choose not to get enough sleep, but it is wrong to intentionally prevent others from sleeping, except in the case of some perceived emergency or the like. History shows many examples of public officials and civilians alike seeking to harm dissenters or others by through sleep deprivation.

The regimes of Stalin and Lennon used this torture tactic in order to break-down dissenters in Siberian prison camps. The goal was to force dissenters into revealing the names of comrades, their addresses, and their plans as well as brainwashing them into accepting the regime.

Military officers captured by the North Vietnamese were often prevented from sleeping in the attempt to force them into confessions beyond name, rank and serial number. The mind and will of some officers did break and they did tell their captors what they knew about U.S. military operations and plans.

Domestically, Jews were often harassed in the middle of the night by disgruntled non-Jews while Americans were embracing Nazism and other forms of fascism during the 1930s and 1940s. The same was true of emancipated Negroes both during and after the eras of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. After 911, American Muslims most likely experienced the same thing.

Today, news reports indicate that sleep deprivation is epidemic in America. No doubt some of the problem is the American lifestyle; other contributing factors include the demands of children, worry over finances, and the like. Yet, there still are some Americans intent on keeping neighbors and even members of their own households from sleeping in the attempt to harm them. Not out of a sense of self-defense or possible fear of harm, but because of some jealousy, prejudice, cultural or other difference, or simply because of they simply dislike the other. Where it occurs, justice demands its end.

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