Ten rats were subjected to total sleep deprivation (TSD) by the disk apparatus. All TSD rats died or were sacrificed when death seemed imminent within 11-32 days. No anatomical cause of death was identified. All TSD rats showed a debilitated appearance, lesions on their tails and paws, and weight loss in spite of increased food intake. Their yoked control (TSC) rats remained healthy. Since dehydration was ruled out and several measures indicated accelerated use rather than failure to absorb nutrients, the food-weight changes in TSD rats were attributed to increased energy expenditure (EE). The measurement of EE, based upon caloric value of food, weight, and wastes, indicated that all TSD rats increased EE, with mean levels reaching more than twice baseline values.