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- Ross, you wouldn’t water board yourself, so don’t deprive yourself of sleep. Because of the extreme disorientation and drastically impaired judgement caused by interrupted rest, sleep deprivation has been used extensively as a torture-lite interrogation technique. Menachem Begin, a future prime minister of Israel, described his experiences of sleep deprivation under the Russian secret police thus: “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.”
- Not to put too fine a point on it, Rozzy, but another thing that sleep deprivation plays havoc with is weight, leading to either a loss of appetite and ultimate starvation in rats, or an increase of appetite and obesity in Americans. Studies have shown rats lose weight the less they are allowed to sleep, because, in a tired body, the amount of energy expended on eating is greater than the calories gained. On the flip side, one hypothesised reason for the weight boom of recent years in America has been a sharp decline in average sleeping hours, with tiredness affecting the production of hormones that affect appetite and glucose production.
- Rick Ross, like politicians and bankers, boasts happily of 20+ hour days, but recent studies, quoted in the Financial Times have pointed out the disastrous effects of sleep deprivation on our moral capabilities. Too tired to consider the consequences of your actions, your ethical judgements are severally impaired, patience and alertness goes out of the window. As anyone who has experience the super-odd “something out of the corner of our eye” effect of a sleepless night, full-blown hallunicatory psychosis is a frighteningly common effect of even minor sleep deprivation. After 17 hours awake, you are effectively drunk – a 2000 study found out that drivers who had not slept for as little as 17-19 hours had the worse affects than someone with .05 blood-alcohol rate, the legal limit. Andrew Marr recently spoke about the link between these effects and the macho work culture of the major players around the credit crunch, pointing out that the greatest financial disaster of our time may well have been administered by hallucinating drunks whose moral sense was shut off.
- Not to mention the war, but as a neat counter-point to the macho sleep culture of today, Winston Churchill was famously fastidious in his wind-down, taking an hour to read before sleeping a full six hours a night, even at the height of the Blitz, while Hitler suffered from insomnia and delayed sleep syndrome, with his chief of staff reporting that by the end of the war, his sleep was so bad that he had “lost his mental flexibility and imagination.” Rozzy should take a leaf out of Churchill’s book, really.
- Though a night spent tossing and turning leads most to a miserable day, rather counter-intuitively, sleep deprivation has been shown to help treat depression. One suggested reason is the larks / owls divide: people with depression have different circadian rhythms to those without depression, meaning that mild sleep deprivation is closer to their natural state. However, for those without depression, sleep deprivation will only make us sadder. Ross, a man who has written such songs as We Shinin’, Billionaire, I’ma Boss and Money Makes Me Come does not strike this writer as particularly depressed.
- The phenomenon of micro-sleeps is what may have had it in for Rick Ross. If deprived of down-time, the human brain will resort to automatic shutdowns, resulting in the super-weird few seconds of shut-eye, of which the micro-sleeper is completely oblivious. Microsleeps are a major cause of transport accidents, in particular the Waterfall rail disaster, in which a guard micro-slept and the train was derailed.