In a 2005 memo, Bush administration lawyers argued that it was okay for CIA interrogators to keep terror suspects awake for seven and a half days straight -- because "even very extended sleep deprivation does not cause physical pain." The attorneys backed up the claim by citing the work of a number of leading university researchers on sleep. Now, those professors are saying that their work was horribly misused.
"To claim that 180 hours [of sleep deprivation] is safe in these respects, is nonsense." Dr. James Horne, with the Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre, tells the Obsidian Wings blog. "Prolonged stress with sleep deprivation will lead to a physiological exhaustion of the body’s defense mechanisms, physical collapse, and with the potential for various ensuing illnesses."