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Thread: Sleep Deprivation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Default Sleep Deprivation

    I know this has been a well discussed topic, but I came upon this article by John Vigor which I found amusing.


    October 27, 2016
    Lack of sleep -- the danger
    CRUISING SAILORS undertaking long voyages need to be aware of the dangers of sleep loss. Apparently, a surprising number of sailors suffer from hallucinations caused by fatigue. And fatigue comes about when you donít get a long enough stretch of deep, dreaming sleep.
    Now I know that many long-distance sailors, particularly singlehanders, somehow manage to get by with many short snatches of sleep. Often they sleep for only 20 minutes and then get up to have a look around the horizon.

    But psychologist Dr. Glin Bennet, who interviewed competitors in a singlehanded race across the North Atlantic, discovered that 50 percent of them experienced one or more illusions or hallucinations.

    I remember Frank Robb telling me of his experience. Frank was an intrepid seaman, a fisherman and a sailboat owner who learned his lessons in the stormy waters of the Cape of Good Hope, and who sometimes voyaged rather farther afield.

    He was once singlehanding in his old gaffer when he encountered four days of rough weather in the Caribbean. As usual, he was deprived of wholesome sleep during that time, and when the storm subsided he wasnít too sure of his position. But soon he spotted a fishing boat, and, in the distance, an island with a protected harbor.

    He sailed in, waving to a launch crowded with sightseers, and found a good anchorage. With the last of his energy he lowered his anchor and went down below, where he passed out on the saloon floor.

    Twelve hours later he woke up and went on deck. There was no land in sight, There were no boats around. Nothing but sea. The anchor was down, however, dangling uselessly at the end of a mere eight fathoms of rode.

    Luckily, he felt no anxiety about his hallucination. He realized that sleep deprivation had affected his judgment, and that his overtired mind had invented the island to relieve him of the anxiety that was preventing him from getting healing sleep.

    We now know that dreams are important. Fatigue affects you mentally as well as physically. Itís dangerous. And if storms prevent you from dreaming, your mind will eventually compensate with a parade of waking dreams called hallucinations. The good news is that hallucinations leave no permanent bad effects on the mind, so there is nothing to be frightened of. To prevent hallucinations, it seems, you need an occasional uninterrupted sleep of six hours or more. And thatís not something that can ever be guaranteed for a singlehander.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    66

    Default

    Some people pay good money to achieve the types of hallucinations that we get for free. When I had mine, my first thought was "wow, that must be one of those hallucinations that I've read about.". Don't fight it; enjoy the ride.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Santa Barbara Sometimes
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolish View Post
    Some people pay good money to achieve the types of hallucinations that we get for free. When I had mine, my first thought was "wow, that must be one of those hallucinations that I've read about.". Don't fight it; enjoy the ride.
    Like

  4. #4
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    Nov 2013
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    Single-handed sailors definitely don't have a monopoly on sleep deprivation. I took call for 15 years of my healthcare career and have been awake for as long as 72hrs starting IVs and pushing meds trying not to kill anyone. The healthcare community finally realized call compromises patient care and safety. Most hospitals now staff 24/7 and done away with call.
    Sleep deprivation among single-handed sailors is a non issue IMHO. My plan is to keep the boat balanced, eat right, hydrate, sleep when I can... and if I do become sleep deprived, I'll try not to step off the boat onto an imaginary dock : )

  5. #5
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    Sep 2007
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    3,069

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    "This is the SSS Marketing Department. We need to talk."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    "This is the SSS Marketing Department. We need to talk."
    LOL! Talk to my lawyer...wait, I can't afford one. Wait till I sell my boat, then we can talk.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Discovery Bay, CA
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    430

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    When I finished the LongPac I went over to TI and dropped anchor. I had the anchor and rode stored in the aft cabin. I remember very vividly attempting to untangle the rode and thinking it was my family involved in a very messy argument which I was trying to sort out using diplomacy and kind words. I was actually verbalizing this. Eventually I gave up and dropped anchor with about 20 feet of scope in 10 feet of water. Fortunately TI was not too windy that evening.

    Then I went down below and decided I should eat something. I opened a can of corned beef hash and began to chow down cold hash with a fork. Next thing I know I wake up from the cabin sole in bright sunlight with a 1/3 eaten can of hash rolling around my knees and a fork full of hash near my elbow.

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