Re: Alteration of sleep patterns.

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 15:36:27 MDT

There was an article in New Scientist about people working night shifts...
I think about 4 weeks ago. Their site might have it. It generally had
bad effects if I recall.

CYMM wrote:
> ...In respect of the chronic disruption of sleep wake opposed
> chronic undersleeping...
> I have had occasion to train soldiers; flight personnel; and medical
> 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
> fact?
> cymm
> -----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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