forced sleep deprivation and depression

dag.stenberg at nospam.helsinki.fi dag.stenberg at nospam.helsinki.fi
Wed Mar 28 11:39:53 EST 2001

In bionet.neuroscience J Wootton <jwootton at home.com> wrote:
> dag.stenberg at nospam.helsinki.fi wrote:
>> Well, if one is in a competitive career where time is short, then those
>> who need less hours of sleep have an advantage. ...
>> only 6.5 h remain for sleep plus other leisure. That is not really
>> enough, is it?

> 168 hours per week minus sleep 63 hours (7 days * 9 hours) = 105 hours
> Now subtract all the rest of what you've mentioned and that's how much time the poster
> can dedicate daily to his career ( if he wants to be healthy, not depressed, sleepy and
> live a long life).
> The problem isn't depression, it's his priorities.

Well yes, but there are many careers where putting in long hours is part
of the game. This could be due to the amount of tasks required taking
much time, or to the fact that some types of work typically function
best if one does long continuous stretches. For instance, in biomedical
research hardly anyone prospers who does not work 60 to 70 hours a week
habitually, but a researcher usually is interested in his work and
takers that as a hobby as well. Experimental work takes a lot of time,
and sometimes you have a deadline and put in extra hours. My personal record
week was 93 hours, but that was an exception, I find that more than 70
h is taxing and more than 80 h generally a pain, and generally I do not
even count the hours. I just go home after about 10 hours. My son, also 
a biomedical researcher, reports a record week of 113 h. (I worked less
when I was younger, but when necessary reduced sleep more. Now
approaching retirement, I regularly work more hours, but also habitually
use 3-4 evenings a week for hobbies, and nearly always take my 8 h sleep 
and, if necessary, leave work uncompleted instead).
  In Grisham's novels, the lawyers "bill" 80+ hours a week, and he
writes that the young ones strive to exceed 100. Even if this may be 
the truth if one wants to "make partner" before 40 years of age or 
whatever, it favours those who do not "have lives" and who are short 
  The societal concern is that career people (including politicians) may
be so sleep-deprived that they make wrong decisions. (observe that
younger people usually do not recognize the symptoms of sleep loss in
themselves vefore they are severe). If they are short sleepers by 
nature and do not suffer from sleep debt symptoms, then fine. It is 
their life.
  The individual concern is for those who need more sleep than the 24 h
clock allows, or need more time for their spouse and children. It is 
a private choice. One only lives once. 

Dag Stenberg

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