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April 1968

The Psychological Effects of 205 Hours of Sleep Deprivation

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Neuropsychiatric Institute, School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(4):496-505. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740040112014

A RECENT sleep deprivation bibliography compiled by Naitoh1 lists more than 175 entries since the original study by Patrick and Gilbert in 1896.2 Review of this literature points up the following.

1. There are no carefully controlled studies of 200 or more hours of sleeplessness. With few exceptions, such as those of Katz3 and Ross,4 most of the reports involve studies of less than 120 hours of sleep deprivation, which is well within the endurance of most adults. Although the upper limits have not been established, it is likely that most adults have approached their endurance near 200 hours.

2. A controversy exists as to both the immediate and long lasting psychotogenic potential of prolonged sleep deprivation. Early reports noted perceptual changes, with some transient disruption of behavior and attention. Tyler5,6 noted "symptoms like schizophrenia" in