May 2008

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Comments

cheesesoda

I wonder what would happen to the alcohol industry. I imagine that wouldn't be good for them, and I'm not quite willing to give up my alcohol for no sleep.

Lia

I am amazed and a little depressed. Obviously there is nothing I can come up with in a fantasy setting that science isn't already trying to do.
Has anyone taken a serious look at the psychological impacts of this? Sleeping restores our bodies and our minds, dreams are how we regulate the information we get during the awake times (I work overnights) Without sleep, we wouldn't have the down time to store information in long term memory. I imagine a rise of ADD and emotional breakdowns as we lose the down time to take a breather. Also, for a diabetic, who needs sleep times to regulate bloodsugars, this would be a huge problem.
...On the other hand, sleep deprivation as a torture method would effectively be canceled out. One less thing we can do to eachother....
In my fantasy setting, the drug that did this was named 'nightmare trigger' due to the intense dreams that resulted from a body adapting to storing emotions and data in a shorter time. I wonder if that would really happen?

Eden

There is one major problem with this drug that no one has paid attention to, and that's the need of human beings to dream. Not as in having goals or aspirations, but actual pictures-in-your-head-while-you-SLEEP dreams.

There was a study done awhile ago where patients were allowed to sleep for the full eight hours - but as soon as they started to slip into REM or 'dreaming' sleep, they were gently awakened. Not enough to wake them fully - they still stayed asleep, just not in REM sleep. They got the full eight hours of sleep, just no dreaming.

The study had to be called off early because the patients started to develop psychotic, schizophrenia-like symptoms.

Linda F

Sleep is not just for bodily regeneration; it has restorative effects on the mind and emotions. Who has not gone to bed angry or depressed, and woken to find that life looks good again? Without sleep, I suspect that daydreaming would take over a significant part of most people's lives. We need those breaks from the routine.

Justin Z

This article does not mention anywhere that sleep regulates are metabolism. I do not know the effects of this drug but a natural sleep cycle slows down our metabolism to give our bodies a break from the constant natural stresses we endure. Hence this pill would have to slow down our metabolism wich intern would make us feel energyless grogy or cranky anyway. If it did not our metabolism would be constantly on constantly burning, and we would have to consume alot more food on an average basis. This could potentially have a good impact on the food and agriculture industries, but regardless the increasee in metabolism would increase the risk of cardial problems suck as heart attack.

Gishu

Cons:
1. One more thing for people to OD on. As if there weren't many already.
2. Imagine what happens if a stalker ODs on this drug. The stalker just has to give the stalkee a glimpse of himself wide-eyed with the wonder-drug bottle in his hand. The stalkee would just die out of fear.. or maybe she'd get a bottle of it as well.. and kick his a$$ DeathProof style.

Pros:
- You could find some sleepless idle zombies to do your work for you
anyways life would be different
- You could find one of them to fix whatever rule it is that a URL is validated against when i submit a comment. It doesnt accept anything

Gishu

Cons:
1. One more thing for people to OD on. As if there weren't many already.
2. Imagine what happens if a stalker ODs on this drug. The stalker just has to give the stalkee a glimpse of himself wide-eyed with the wonder-drug bottle in his hand. The stalkee would just die out of fear.. or maybe she'd get a bottle of it as well.. and kick his a$$ DeathProof style.

Pros:
- You could find some sleepless idle zombies to do your work for you
anyways life would be different
- You could find one of them to fix whatever rule it is that a URL is validated against when i submit a comment. It doesnt accept anything

Aukcje

Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view… makes you think more.

Dean

Check out polyphasic sleep:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/information-list-of-polyphasic-sleep.html

"Polyphasic sleep involves taking multiple short sleep periods throughout the day instead of getting all your sleep in one long chunk. A popular form of polyphasic sleep, the Uberman sleep schedule, suggests that you sleep 20-30 minutes six times per day, with equally spaced naps every 4 hours around the clock. This means you’re only sleeping 2-3 hours per day."

This guy reportedly adjusted to a polyphasic sleep schedule for 5.5 months, only returning to a normal sleeping schedule for social reasons.

http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep/

P Buddery

I wouldn't be so trashed at work, which would be nice. I have delayed sleep phase syndrome, and my natural sleeping time is from 6 am till 2 pm. As I am an educated person and consequently locked into doing a day-job, I wake at 7 am and onsequently I am totally brainlessly wasted almost all the time from sleep deprivation.

Yes, I design and otherwise work with large expensive pieces of machinery. Yes, I am in the same mental condition as a stumblebum drunk. I hope all those people who believe in early waking are reading this.

To conclude - I think such a drug might very well turn out to be deadly, as bodies and minds fall to pieces from lack of restorative sleep.

P Buddery

lizz

Speaking as someone who used to be addicted to caffeine pills, as well as an illegal + very addictive stimulant, I think that it would be a very bad idea though I suppose that on the plus side it would be great for workaholics

Drew

I can see it now... far too many bad zombie films start the same way.

MarkM

Regarding Modafinil:

I think it's a great idea. I'm sure there would be problems using it to stay awake for the long term. I read that long-term sleep deprivation will eventually kill you through blood poisoning. (I don't remember where I read that).

Modafinil was originally only accepted by the FDA for narcolepsy. However, it was approved several years ago to treat "excessive day-time sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea" as well as some shift-work syndrome that I don't have. Although it's prescribed widely for other things (such as jet-lag) insurance will typically only cover the accepted uses.

When I started taking Modafinil, the difference between physical and mental tiredness became apparent. Modafinil is classified as a "central nervous system stimulant." But be careful of the word "stimulant." I was prescribed amphetamines before Modafinil. Amphetimines provide extra energy, while Modafinil doesn't.

Modafinil also won't make you feel jittery and there is no "crash" when it wears off. Modafinil is also not addictive. I almost wish it were - then I wouldn't forget to take it in the morning.

Andrew

I dream for the day that we can take of the oprressive shackles of sleep, and stop spending a third of our lives in a coma.

There was a point in the evolutionary history where the sun really did regulate the productivity of people, but now with artificial lighting, and open access to information around the clock, we can cease wasting our lives unaware of what is going on around us.

Jack @ The Tech Teapot

I really enjoy sleeping...shame if it gets abolished.

greg bell

If used widely, it would have an immediate effect of increasing the impacts of population. Why? Because what we usually do while awake is consume resources and excrete waste. So instead of just lying down and metabolizing for 8 hours every day, I'd be spending that time driving, throwing slurpee cups out the window, leaving an oil slick behind me from my jet ski, wearing out my shoes sooner, etc.

Johan Hjelm

I thought people picked fights because they were drunk, not because they were sleepy.

//Johan

Shaun

Interesting question about its users being less cranky. The psychological impact will be incredible. I wonder how Scientologists will react.

mutsuraboshi

It would probably be a bad thing, seeing that most military driven countries will feed the pills to their army personnel and keep the soldiers in the filed forever. Wars would rage longer and terrorist attacks would become more frequent, I reckon.

Jonathan

I think a pill that made people sleep *more* would result in a kinder and gentler world, not one that made them sleep less - that would just give the assholes more time to do bad things to the rest of us. Also, my eyes get sore if I don't close them for at least 6hrs/day, so I'd need another pill to take care of that. And I'm not 100% happy all the time - need a pill for that too.

Hugh Dalton

I highly recommend Lawrence Block's "Tanner" series. A war injury disturbs Tanner's sleep center, and his extra time, experience, and knowledge from unlimited awake time takes him on adventures. Very interesting read.

The concept of living without sleep has fascinated me since.

Sugarpharm

I was just having the conversation yesterday with a friend of mine, I think we both agreed it would be great, you just doubled your life-span

Bed Manufacturers

BAD THING! BAD THING! BAD THING!

NoPantsJim

I don't know if we could assume all wages would instantly drop.

Yes it's very possible that super-low skill level positions like fast food slinger or Walmart cart-guy might take a pay cut, but there's only so many doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. in the country and positions that relied on skill rather than those that just rely on having a pulse probably wouldn't see much change in wage.

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