Bank Intern's Death Highlights Risk of Long Hours

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Sleep Deprivation and Weight Loss Dr. Charles Czeisler, the director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, said sleep is a "basic biological need.

"Ultimately sleep is necessary for life," said Czeisler. "Animals that are deprived of sleep die within about three weeks."

In addition to sleep deprivation, Czeisler said excessive stimulant use has also been linked to significant health problems.

"[Excessive] caffeine does have side effects, including cardiac arrhythmia," said Czeisler. "People going to emergency rooms as result of too much caffeine is rising dramatically."

While the cause of Erhardt's death has yet to be determined, Czeisler said certain industries, such as finance or medicine that put pressure on junior members to work long nights, risk putting their workers' health in jeopardy.

"If it's true that he was pressured to work for 72 hours straight, it's high time the financial service industry develops a plan to avoid this [kind of] tragedy," said Czeisler.

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