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  1. Richard Anderson says:

    Seth Maxon:

    Thank you. I read with great interest your article on your ill-fated experiment with sleep deprivation and the symptoms of psychosis that ensued.

    In 1975 I was a 25 year old married architecture student with a two month old son, a full academic load, a part time (30 hours per week) job, and design projects that routinely involved drawing mediocre buildings of my own design all night long.

    While I didn’t choose to go without sleep, I found myself unable to nod off. I had the notion that somehow if I could just organize my time, I would be able to fit everything in and do it all with time to spare. I ended up being admitted and taking my medicine and going to therapy and “getting better.” But I can’t help thinking that the whole problem lay in losing so much sleep that finally I somehow lost the ability to sleep.

    Your scene talking to the nurse after waking up in the hospital felt exactly like my dilemma:

    “There were holes in my memory and in my logic. It all had something to do with existence, productivity, efficiency. My grand theories had made sense in my head while sleep deprived, but now, for some reason they no longer did.”

    Thank you for painting such a vivid reminder of my experience. I too don’t know why we need to sleep.But I know without any doubt we need to sleep. My my wife says it serves to balance the chemicals in our body that get out of whack otherwise.

    Your article somehow brought to mind Hamlet’s Soliliquy–“..to sleep, perchance to dream,” but re-reading that passage, I realize he is equating sleep with death, and I wonder if just maybe you and I made the same mistake in our youth. It could be that we “couldn’t” sleep because on some level, we were afraid to.

    Thank you again,

    Richard Anderson

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