Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sleeping With the Frenemy

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Sleep is pain’s easiest salve—John Donne, The Storm

I’ve barely slept in the last three days. Or nights.

Things are very funny to me right now. Like last night I was talking with a friend about wanting some chocolate and writing my blog while I’m so tired and she wrote back that she imagined me "in a vat of melted chocolate, sending all the people who have never read my books chunks of nasty white chocolate as revenge. Then, as a postcard from the vat, I would write, "Hey, all. Wish you weren't here. The chocolate is starting to harden, and I'm having a hard time getting out. Don't hold your breath waiting for a new blog."

Grumbles and ennui from the fudge pit, Julie

I couldn’t help it. I think I laughed for a full ten minutes, just imagining that! It makes me laugh just reading it again. But, *ahem* back to the matter at hand.

As most of you know, I write books about international terrorists. As such, I have researched several different groups and of course, torture and coercion techniques on both the terrorists’ side and the CIA side. Today, I’d like to talk about one of those techniques.

Bet you can’t guess what it is.

Did you know that Amnesty International considers prolonged sleep deprivation a violation of the Convention Against Torture Act? Technically of course, under the Convention’s Article 16, it really amounts to "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," but I see where they’re coming from.

Not that I’m comparing my current state of sleeplessness with an interrogation technique used by the CIA. But I’m seeing some similarities.

Studies have proven that sleep deprivation makes you less inhibited and has a tongue loosening effect on you. Have I ever told you my most embarrassing moment? Oh wait . . .

So it seems that sleep deprivation may be a somewhat humane way to get information from terrorists that may want to do us harm. However, others argue that sleep deprivation can yield inaccurate information. The subject would do or say anything, just for the promise of sleep. Some also claim that long term lack of sleep can also lead to psychosis or hallucinations.

Do any of you see that cute little pink pony?

British researchers also found that drivers who had been awake for 17-19 hours performed functions even less skillfully than someone who had 0.5 percent alcohol in their system.

So sleep deprivation can make you behave and react like an almost drunk person? (0.8 percent in most U.S. states is the standard for intoxication.)

Don’t mind me. I’m not drunk, just tired. Honest.

I think that former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, in his book White Nights, described it best, when he wrote about his captivity as a sleepless inmate in a KGB prison: "In the head of the interrogated prisoner, a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep... Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger and thirst are comparable with it."

Not even hunger or thirst are comparable with it. Wow.

I’m tired. I have barely slept for the last three days. I have deadlines to meet and children to take care of. Sometimes, when I’m really tired I keep on writing, but then, after I’ve slept, I go back and read what I wrote, mostly laughing to myself at its lack of coherency. So I won’t bother to go back and read this after I’ve written it.

I hope it makes sense.


At 8/02/2007 5:12 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

It all makes a lot of sense. Hope you get some sleep soon.

At 8/02/2007 7:57 PM, Blogger marnie said...

Sleep deprivation as a torture method ... imagine night after night of being kept awake, someone prodding you the moment you start to doze or your head begins to nod. Back to work, no rest for the weary! Hmmm... sounds like MOTHERHOOD!

I'd like to see a study on the average military soldier subjected to this form of torture verses the typical mother. I'd wager my money on the mother lasting the longest!

At 8/02/2007 8:03 PM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

It makes perfect sense. and yes I see the pink . . . uh . . . animal. At least I think it's a . . . What did you say again?

At 8/02/2007 10:01 PM, Blogger Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

I've learned to quit writing when I get too tired because I always have to redo it, or, if I've chosen to edit, I always end up putting it back to where I had it in the first place. Yes, sleep is so important.

At 8/03/2007 12:05 AM, Blogger ChillyGator said...

I won't lie to you, I got really excited at the prospect of a most embarrassing moment. Granted, it's life, who can pick just one?

At 8/03/2007 10:26 AM, Blogger Don said...

The strong link between sleep deprivation and depression is also worth mentioning. Scary stuff, really.

I bet it wouldn't take much to blame all kinds of societal ills to a culture so lacking in sleep.

That would make a good premise for a novel. If only I could stay awake long enough to write it.....

At 8/03/2007 2:08 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

I can't help but laugh with you (not at you; I've been there plenty of times--like Marnie said, it's part and parcel of motherhood). Pink pony indeed!

(I thought it had some violet specks on it . . .)


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