Join Date: Apr 2006
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Each person has their own individual needs for sleep. I knew a camp guard who claimed he only needed two hours a day and no one had ever seen him sleeping outside of the 1-4PM siesta slot. At night, he was out on patrol.
But there are plenty of documented studies both as medical and labor issues. Companies that have shift workers have found out the had way, if you rotate the shifts "back" (earlier each time) you get increased accident rates and other fatigue problems, compared to rotating the shifts "forward" as they change. And, that if you keep people on the job over 12 hours at a shot, you again get increased accident rates and decreased performance. Many have changed their policies because paying more and covering shifts costs them far less than insurance settlements and lawsuits does.
So the bottom line? Everyone can play with sleep deprivation and some tolerate it better than others, longer, etc., but you are still dealing with fire. Keep someone up long enough, make the sleeps short enough, and eventually people simply stop what they are doing and go to sleep--sometimes totally unaware they were sleeping but "dreaming" they are still awake.
Most folks can push on fairly well if given one "long sleep" of 5 hours per day, or a little longer, plus other rest. Cut it below that, and you should realize that you are operating impaired and at risk--and the only real question is to what extent and whether you can justify it.
I've done some things like work triple shift for two weeks running, grabbing just a couple of hours here and there. I wouldn't do it again for any money, unless there was a damned good reason for it and zero personal risk.
Wouldn't sail that way unless I was running from a fallout cloud or pirates.