I heard about a (possibly fictitious) experiment in which lab rats were kept awake by the administration of small electrical shocks whenever they started to sleep. After three days of this, they just up and died.

Phht! Just like that.

Actually, according to [The Economist (Dec. 19 2002)]:

To try to understand sleep deprivation, ethical scientists prefer to experiment on rats. In one famous experiment, Allan Rechtschaffen and his colleagues at the University of Chicago placed rats on a turntable above a shallow bath of water. Every time they fell asleep, the turntable started tilting, forcing them to wake up and move to avoid falling into the water. Thus totally sleep-deprived, the rats invariably died within two or three weeks, having first become increasingly debilitated, developed sores, lost weight despite eating more than usual, and suffered a drop in body temperature. If the rats were allowed some non-REM sleep but no REM sleep, they lasted twice as long but still died eventually, after a period of sexual hyperactivity. A control group of rats that were exposed to the same stressful environment on the turntable, but were allowed some sleep of both sorts, survived.

[Another experiment] by Licklider & Bunch did achieve dead rats in "3-14 days", but it didn't say how they kept the rats awake.

I'm not under the deprifluence of sleep invation like some thinkle peep I am. It's just that the stupider I sit here, the longer I get.
My sponsor (DaveSuryotomo?) ended his letter introducing himself to me with something along the lines of "sleep dep is fun and easy. P.S. -- What's the capital of Nairobi?" Was that me who wrote this? --NickJohnson
SleepDepAddict - not so anonymous, but ah well.

See also HumPaper --RichardGarfinkel

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