Lack of sleep can make you feel tired and crummy the following day but it can also lead to very dangerous poor decision making. A number of historical disasters have been attributed to lack of sleep on the part of those involved.
Lack of sleep is said to be the reason why operators couldn’t stop the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown. It is also speculated that Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s lack of sleep, made him give confused commands during the June 1862 battles.
According to a research published in the journal Sleep, sleep deprivation will lead to lack of the ability to think fast, absorb new information and to adjust one’s behavior. 26 volunteers participated in the research.
Half the group slept normally while the other half was deprived of sleep for two days according to Ivan Ong. Their decision making ability was then tested using a series of tests, over the course of the week.
The group that had slept better performed better in the first test. In the second test, none of the people in the group that hadn’t slept for two days got any answers right, even after repeating it for 40 times. Their ability to adjust to changes had been destroyed by lack of sleep.