I know why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture

Image credit: njene / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: njene / 123RF Stock Photo

I know why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.  Over the long term, being denied enough sleep causes daytime drowsiness, clumsiness, weight loss or gain and adversely affects your brain and ability to function on everyday tasks.  How do I know this?  I am a Mum and for the past four years I have been woken up at least once every night.

Some nights my sleep has been non-existent.  Some nights I just get to sleep for minutes before being suddenly woken again with loud screaming, crying, coughing, vomiting, wee or poo.  I have never had a sleep-in past 6:30am.  I give new meaning to the term ‘chronic fatigue’.

I can understand why sleep deprivation is used to interrogate people.  I am sleep deprived and I would agree to anything right now.  I imagine being interrogated.

Scary Military dude:  Do you have WMD? 

Me:  Yeah it was me.

SMD:  Where are they?

Me:  I hid them in the dishwasher.

SMD:  And the blood diamonds?  The heroin?  And the illegal arms?

Me:  Well sir, my arms are attached to my shoulders; I think they are legal, actually.  The diamonds are in the toy box and the heroin is stashed in nappies and sticky taped under the kids’ trampoline.  Can I have a bed now?

You see where I’m going here Readers.

I think that getting no sleep is bad, but getting constantly interrupted sleep is equally debilitating.  Going without sleep for long periods will have adverse effects; it’s unavoidable.  I have been known to fall asleep while sitting on the toilet in the middle of the night.  Or, I’ve been driving along and completely forgotten where I was going and what for.

A sleep deprivation haze sets in with the onset of motherhood.  Your spirit can be wearied so much that sleep is all you crave.

There is an ongoing argument on whether sleep deprivation as a form of prisoner interrogation constitutes a form of torture since it is not seen as cruel or intense enough to warrant the word ‘torture’.  However, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it “amounted to a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment”.

No shit.  Ask any mother.


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