Disturbances in the rhythm of sleep and the effect of these disturbances on personality have been of interest to psychiatrists and psychologists for many years. Despite the experimental work which has been reported on the subject there is little accurate knowledge concerning the essential basis of the phenomena of sleep or concerning the real effects of disturbances of the rhythm of sleep. Stories concerning death produced by continued wakefulness or of mental disease produced by long vigils have been current for many years. There are, however, no actually observed cases recorded in the medical literature which clearly indicate that extended vigils produce either mental disease or death.
Normal sleep is disturbed in various organic conditions of the central nervous system, such as encephalitis, meningitis, concussion and dementia paralytica, as well as in the functional psychoses, in manic-depressive psychosis and in schizophrenia. This demonstrates clearly that an intact nervous system does
KATZ SE, LANDIS C. PSYCHOLOGIC AND PHYSIOLOGIC PHENOMENA DURING A PROLONGED VIGIL. Arch NeurPsych. 1935;34(2):307–317. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1935.02250200067006
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