Wake up!

What with all the random life stuff I do every day, I find that I only have time for about 4-5 hours of sleep a day. So I have a few questions about sleep deprivation:

(1) I know there was a Straight Dope article about something related to sleep deprivation, but my searches for this column were fruitless. If there’s an article out there, can someone send me the link?

(2) If the aforementioned article doesn’t already answer this question, what are the long-term effects of sleep deprivation?

(3) What is the best way to keep myself alert? Caffeine works for a little while, but it wears off in a few hours, and usually my saturation point is approx. 200 mgs or so. Anything I can (legally) do to keep me wired the whole day?

Hmmm. I found nothing looking through the books directly related, but related:

Why do we sleep?

Since there is no Mailbag item related to this, and presumably no Column, I am closing the thread here and moving it to GENERAL QUESTIONS.

No offense, Sam, but wouldn’t sleep be a solution to sleep deprivation? It’s time to lighten up a little. None of that stuff you have to do is gonna get done if you’re dead or dying.

“No wonder of it. Sheer plod makes plough down sillion shine.”
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Vitalert vitamins, lots of vitamin B.

Better sleep when you do sleep. Keep the bedroom cooler. If you do take naps, keep them around half hour each. Longer screws up your sleep cycle.

Catch up on your sleep once a week. There’s nothing like the real thing, even if it’s only once or twice a week.

Try some of those ‘Mini-thins’ or ‘Maxi-thins’ pills from the quickie-ripoff stores - they contain ephedrine (synthetic adrenaline) and will keep you awake very effectively without the side effects of caffeine. As far as I’ve been able to determine, they are extremely safe, with the major danger being dehydration if you don’t drink plenty of fluids while taking them.

And, of course, sleep deprivation.

I just read an article about sleep deprivation not long ago, but I can’t remember what magazine the damn thing was in! (seems like Reader’s Digest) Anyway, sleep deprivation causes you to take what they call ‘microsleeps’, where you nod off for only a few seconds and usually aren’t even aware that you are doing it. Makes driving, operating machinery, etc. very dangerous.

Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

Sleeping might be a better use of your time than asking questions on the SD message board, although there are some posts here that will put you to sleep.

Ray (zzzzzzzzzz.)

As to how to keep up your energy sans caffeine, ginseng is a good substitute, and doesn’t deplete your adrenals like caffeine. There are different types & grades. Some may be better for you, depending on your constitution…
I’ve read something on sleep needs (sorry to be vague), and some current research says that it doesn’t need to be in 8 hour blocks. In addition to as much as you can muster in a big chunk, the additional nap counts as well. I’m all in favor of the siesta…and now it appears to have some scientific basis as well.
So where do we go when we dream???

Acccck! Ephedrine is ANYTHING but safe!

Have you noticed that the “Warning” section of the label constitutes 2/3 of the packaging?

IIRC, ephedrine is chemically related to Phen-fen.

“There is nothing you ought to do, for the simple reason that you know nothing, nothing whatever- make a mental note of that, if you please.”
-V. Nabokov

If you go without sleep, you’ll eventually start dreaming whether you like it or not - but since you’re technically awake, people call it halLucinaTing.

I don’t go anywhere when I dream - everything comes to me.


Well, more now,…post between reads…
As to ephedrine based stimulants, there is a raging debate now at the FDA. Operative term being synthetic adrenaline… Ephedrine will wire you, but there is possible abuse and one documented death from heart failure. To my reading, it seemed like someone who just did too much. But the real issue is, are you overextending your bodily capacity? If the stimulant is acting on your adrenal glands, you’re setting up the “fight or flight” reponse. After awhile, this wears your poor old 20th century overtaxed being down. So, caffeine or ephedrine may be good for a short term haul(West Coast Turn Around to truckers) but in the long term can be debilitating.
Ginseng acts as a stimulant, but in a different way. It acts to give you energy without simultaneously wearing you down. I haven’t seen a more clear explaination of why this is so, but it’s the “energy” remedy over there in the East.
I think that maybe we all need to realize our limits, before we make bad decisions based on being tired & cranky.

Ephedrine is neither synthetic nor is it adrenelin.

OP you are advised to seek the advice of a physician before starting any regimine of medication. Especially one where the intent is as dangerous as forced sleep deprivation. This is used as a form of torture for gods sake.

From various scources on the web;

Ephedrine is derived from the ephedra plant. It is also known as Ma Huang and has been used in China for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Ephedrine is metabolized to norephedrine, which is responsible for the central nervous system stimulating effects of the drug.

It belongs to the monoaminergic group which consists of an amine molecule containing one amino group (NH2). Examples of other monoamines include: Serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and epinephrine (adrenaline).

Ephedrine can cause stroke,high blood pressure, and heart problems. It is particularly dangerous to people who have high blood pressure. The FDA reports nausea, irregular heart beats, insomnia, nervousness and disorientation as adverse effects of ephadrine. According to Food Labeling News, CRC Press, Inc., September 28, 1995, reported that Nature’s Nutrition Formula One was associated with hyperactivity, diarrhea, dizziness, disorientation, numbness, anxiety, chest pains, breathing difficulty, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, hypertension, depression, headaches, and insomnia. Three instances of death were associated and several involved heart attacks, seizures and strokes