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The Impossibility of a Good Night's Sleep

For people living on the streets or in shelters, sleep deprivation can lead to a host of other problems.

“Joe,” a man who has been homeless several times, knows how difficult it can be to get enough sleep without permanent housing.

“Where and how you sleep is often a matter of discipline when residentially challenged,” said Joe. “In a shelter, you have to be up and out by a certain time. If [you’re sleeping in] a vehicle, you have to have it moved by a certain time. You're on others’ schedules. And this is where sleep deprivation hits the hardest. It adds up.”

“Without a doubt, sleep is the biggest issue for homeless people,” writes Kevin Barbieux, a San Diego-based blogger and self-proclaimed “chronic homeless man”. Barbieux who writes under the name The Homeless Guy. Barbieux, who blogs using a donated laptop or using library computers, has alternated between transitional housing and no housing at all.

“Homeless advocates are always focused on what are believed to be the root causes of homelessness, and providing the basics of food, shelter and clothing to those who do without,” he continues. “And although those things are important in their own way, they don't affect homeless people with the intensity that sleep does (or the lack thereof).”

For individuals without permanent housing, sleep is difficult to come by. When there’s no way to secure your personal belongings, it’s dangerous and frightening to be as vulnerable as we are when we’re in a truly restful sleep.

As a result, sleep becomes a matter of when-you-can, where-you-can. And often, you just can’t, leading to a host of other mental and physical ailments.

Sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increase in mental illness. Schizophr