Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 2: The importance of good sleep

"Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast."
-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

As we drove from state to state, sleep deprivation became a real concern for me. The bed in the back of our bumpy little RV camper was hardly ideal for getting a good night's rest. After a day's hard run, I would retreat to the back of the camper and try to get some shut eye, only to be awakened by the racket of the engine as we clanked our way across the country. If you've never experienced prolonged periods of sleep deprivation, let me tell you, it is torture. I don't mean that in a cute or funny way. No joke, it is literally torture.

Sleep deprivation has been used as means of interrogation by governments around the world. The British government employed this technique to interrogate people in the 1970s until it was deemed to be inhuman and degrading treatment, in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The KGB kept their political prisoners awake for days on end as part of a grueling interrogation process during World War II. The United States has come under fire recently, accused of torturing prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq with sleep deprivation.

When a person is deprived of sleep for prolonged periods of time, it is an intensely stressful ordeal. Hallucinations, paranoia, and disorientation result.

Do not take your sleep for granted. We are fortunate enough to have warm beds to go home to at night. Many people don't have that luxury. Count your blessings and take full advantage of opportunities for rest. Work hard, yes, but do not neglect to sleep. Treat your body with care and respect.

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