Re: Alteration of sleep patterns.

From: CYMM (
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 04:04:16 MDT

...In respect of the chronic disruption of sleep wake opposed to
chronic undersleeping...

I have had occasion to train soldiers; flight personnel; and medical people
who work disruptive schedules...

In addition to a presentation that is similar to chronic undersleeping,
these people SEEM to display a marked inability to learn complex tasks
requiring the manipulation of mental images.

...they "bounce back" after a week or two of adjustment to a circadian
cycle - thank god!

Does anyone know what research has been done in this area? Such persons'
ability to manipulate complex cognitive models is often critical to their
job. It has always struck me as strange that they seem to be the ones so
seriously at risk of defects in this sort of thinking. Is this a recognized


-----Original Message-----
From: Anders Sandberg <>
To: <>
Date: Friday, June 30, 2000 5:42 AM
Subject: Re: Alteration of sleep patterns.

> writes:
>> As I understand it, melatonin is responsible for the reset of
>> the biological clock and is released during the night. I've
>> frequently been told that when you are forced to operate on night
>> hours, the best way to ward off sleepiness is to work in a low or no
>> light environment, as this triggers the release of melatonin. Is this
>> generally true and are there safer and more useful ways to sustain
>> well-being during these conditions?
>I would rather say you should do the opposite. Light inhibits the
>release of melatonin, which is (among other things) why we feel more
>alert and happy in bright sunlight and why people often have trouble
>falling alseep in lit rooms. Conversely, if you work in the dark you
>have a higher chance of becoming sleepy.
>> As far as I can tell, the general symptoms of this behavior
>> are depression, fatigue, and anxiety. I'm interested as to if anyone
>> has any knowledge of the long term effect of this behavior on one's
>> general health and longevity, as well as ways to counter any possible
>> effects.
>Sounds likely. You essentially get a form of jet-lag as your
>biological rhythms do not fit with your activity patterns. Try working
>in brightly lit areas during the night, and sleep in carefully
>darkened rooms during the day. Possibly melatonin supplements could be
>used to really fix the schedule.
>> Further, are there any technologies in development that are
>> feasible tools to reduce the general amount of sleep required by an
>> individual?
>Not as far as I know, although there are likely some gains to be made
>from learning to sleep more efficiently (however that is done :-). The
>memory consolidation that appears to go on during sleep is likely
>tricky to speed up, but if I find a way I'm sure you will notice. :-)

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