Scientists still do not understand why we need to sleep. But sleep deprivation can result in psychotic episodes, psychotic breakdowns, permanent insanity, and eventual death. (Some very unethical studies in sleep deprivation were conducted on both animals and humans during the 20th century to arrive at these conclsions. The Nazis were among those who carried out such studies on humans.)
This man's case is certainly bizarre.
Yes, but is sleep deprivation something a bit different ? Keep in mind that Kern laid down and rested. He was not able to fall asleep but he did get plenty of rest apparently. Dale Carnigie points this out because what he says is that what afflicts many people is not that hey can't sleep, but that they get worried, upset, or frustrated if they can't sleep. What he says is that if you can't sleep, perhaps just lie in bed and rest as best you can or try to get by on whatever sleep you can get in.
If I can't sleep I also like to get up and meditate. I find that meditation can effect my state of mine or my dreams when later I do sleep. It has also been claimed that there are some unusual yogis who don't sleep or sleep less than many because when they meditate they are bascialy awake but in a restful type state of peace I would say. This first article mentions swami rama. I actually have some of his books, but I just found this thing on sleep research involving him on wikipedia just now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga-nidra#Scientific_evaluation
Experimental evidence of the existence of a fourth state of unified, transcendental consciousness, which lies in the yoga-nidra state at the transition between sensory and sleep consciousness, was first recorded at the Menninger Foundation in Kansas, USA in 1971. Under the direction of Dr. Elmer Green, researchers used an electroencephalograph to record the brainwave activity of an Indian yogi, Swami Rama, while he progressively relaxed his entire physical, mental and emotional structure through the practice of Yoga Nidra.
What they recorded was a revelation to the scientific community. The swami demonstrated the capacity to enter the various states of consciousness at will, as evidenced by remarkable changes in the electrical activity of his brain. Upon relaxing himself in the laboratory, he first entered the yoga nidra state, producing 70% alpha wave discharge for a predetermined 5 minute period, simply by imagining an empty blue sky with occasional drifting clouds.
Next, Swami Rama entered a state of dreaming sleep which was accompanied by slower theta waves for 75% of the subsequent 5 minute test period. This state, which he later described as being 'noisy and unpleasant', was attained by 'stilling the conscious mind and bringing forth the subconscious'. In this state he had the internal experience of desires, ambitions, memories and past images in archetypal form rising sequentially from the subconscious and unconscious with a rush, each archetype occupying his whole awareness.
Finally, the swami entered the state of (unconscious) deep sleep, as verified by the emergence of the characteristic pattern of slow rhythm delta waves. However, he remained perfectly aware throughout the entire experimental period. He later recalled the various events which had occurred in the laboratory during the experiment, including all the questions that one of the scientists had asked him during the period of deep delta wave sleep, while his body lay snoring quietly.
Such remarkable mastery over the fluctuating patterns of consciousness had not previously been demonstrated under strict laboratory conditions. The capacity to remain consciously aware while producing delta waves and experiencing deep sleep is one of the indications of the superconscious state (turiya). This is the ultimate state of yoga nidra in which the conventional barriers between waking, dreaming and deep sleep are lifted, revealing the simultaneous operation of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. The result is a single, enlightened state of consciousness and a perfectly integrated and relaxed personality.
Dr. Kamakhya Kumar in 2006 awarded by Ph. D. degree by Dr. A. P J Abdul Kalam (President of India) for his work "Psycho-physiological Changes as Related to Yoga Nidra". He observed six months effects of yoga nidra on some Physiological, hematological and some Psychological parameters on the practitioners and he found a significant change on above mentioned parameters. One of the research published entitled "A study on the impact on stress and anxiety through Yoga nidra; Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol. 7 No 3".(Published through NISCAIR)
Indian clinical psychologist Sachin Kumar Dwivedi (2009) found in his research that Yoga Nidra decreases levels of anxiety. Dwivedi, S., Awasthi, S.& Pandey,B.B.(2011) found in " Yoga Nidra increased the ?-eeg on ?-eeg biofeedback. That is open scrate [secret?] that Yoga Nidra is a type of deep meditation. Nikhra,M & Dwivedi,S.K.(2010) found in a study "Yoga nidra reduces the level of Stress."http://www.theglobalyogi.com/meditation-articles/yoga-nidra-or-sleepless-sleep/
Yoga Nidra has gained tremendous popularity within the yoga community because of its wonderful relaxation benefits. The fact that 1 hour of Yoga Nidra is the equivalent of 4 hours of normal sleep is startling, to say the least! Its ability to relax physically, mentally and emotionally even the most beginner of yoga students has meant that more and more people are learning this ancient art. In fact it is no exaggeration to say that your yoga practice is incomplete without Yoga Nidra!http://www.crystalclarity.com/yogananda/chap13.php
"Sir, you have told me of your friendship with a great disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya. Please give me his address."
"You mean Ram Gopal Muzumdar. I call him the 'sleepless saint.' He is always awake in an ecstatic consciousness. His home is at Ranbajpur, near Tarakeswar."