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Old Article; Question Remains - Is Sleep Optional?

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posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 01:20 PM
I have often contemplated the true need of sleep. I know what people say it does. I too like sleeping. But the problem is that we are missing out on SO much life has to offer by lying in our beds accomplishing "nothing".

I know many will disagree with me on that, which is perfectly fine. I'm here to simply ask a question, provide some possibilities for such an option, and see how you all feel about this.

I began researching this here on ATS. I feel ATS does of course have the best opinions on the internet, so I always start here. (plus, it prevents me from reposting threads already in creation)

On to the point:

ABC News posted an article, "Could Nightly Sleep Become Optional?"

I read over the article, and decided to see where we stand with the drug, Modafinil (Provigil)

The US military are interested in Modafinil too. Modafinil was reportedly used by Allied combat soldiers in both Gulf Wars, though this seems unlikely to feature prominently in its future promotional literature.

What I found was that this drug can fight off the need for sleep, AND keep one alert, in fact... it is said to "heighten awareness". According to a Wiki article, (and I know how many of you feel about Wiki, but bare with me,

During high-risk, large-scale, and extended law enforcement or homeland security operations, tactical paramedics in Maryland (US) may administer 200 mg of modafinil once daily to law enforcement personnel in order to "enhance alertness / concentration" and "facilitate functioning with limited rest periods."

I personally feel this news, while somewhat old, is very fascinating! Imagine how much more we could accomplish if we didn't need to sleep. How much more research could be done, and so forth.

I'm not sure what else to add, but I will continue to research this. I look forward to any and all thoughts regarding this.

[edit on 21-1-2010 by EagleTalonZ]

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 01:26 PM
As far as I was aware, our bodies self repair and cells regrow at a much faster rate when we are asleep. Without Sleep for long periods, we are susceptible to sickness and diseases. We would also lose the ability to think properly and make rational decisions.

In my opinion, short term drug induced insomnia could be tolerated but long term.. i don't think we would achieve anything more than a certain early death.

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 01:27 PM
I think the most common thread between ATS'ers is a lack of a good nights sleep.
When science had its anniversary a couple years ago they released the top 100 questions still un answered by science and why we sleep was one of them.
I was positive that they knew why we sleep but apparantly not.

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 01:32 PM
I tried my best to reduce the sleep , tried poli-phasic sleep (sleeping in more sessions along the day) , tried to reduce the sleeping hours gradually and so on. My final conclusion - sleep is important ! As the above post mentioned, it is important in the regeneration of the body , general physical and mental health too.

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 01:36 PM
Reminds me of a tv show/movie where a young doctor is talking to his fellow medical friends about him constantly popping uppers: Something along the lines of:

'Sleep is for suckers, I'd rather stay awake and party and die when I'm 45 (or something) rather than sleep and live to be 100'

Personally, I'd rather sleep

Corporations would be interested in this as they could manage to squeeze more work from people

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 01:38 PM
First of all, I know a lot of ATS'ers are lacking sleep. Myself included as I author and contribute to this thread and a few others I'm interested in.

My point was, we have this drug out there that fights off sleep. And doesn't appear to cause any harm, such as hallucinations, etc. I know when we sleep we regenerate cells, and build our immune system. I know the benefits of sleep. Not to mention, its a few hours of not having to hear all the negativity in the world.

I'm just thinking of all the wonderful things that could come from not having to sleep. And it seems like science is already knocking on that door. If the military and law enforcement are using it, and it is actually FDA approved, I don't see the harm. Well, I won't act like a complete idiot. I understand the harm.

If you never had to sleep again, would you take the offer? (this is for everyone)

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 01:56 PM
reply to post by star in a jar

You are smart! And if people die at 45 , "they" do not have to pay pension , so you are basicly the perfect tax-payer lol. Just living as long as you can be taxed and as long as you are a good consumer haha. I would go with 100 too

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 02:10 PM
Sleep is ultimately a "waste of time" whether we need it or not, all we do is lay there with our eyes closed and let 7-12 hours past of doind absolutely nothing.

I believe it is possible for the human body to live without sleep but it would be hard to change the way your body works after so many years of having slept.

If i had the option to live without sleep and still maintain a healthy body i would straight away!

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 02:18 PM
If you feel that you're missing out on your life, you may be interested in lucid dreaming. Not everybody can do it easily, but if you succeed you'll be very busy.

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 02:27 PM
If you dont sleep you brains starts getting flooded with toxic compounds. After periods of extended wakefulness or reduced sleep neurons may begin to malfunction, visibly effecting a person's behavior. Certain stages of sleep are needed for the regeneration of neurons within the cerebral cortex while other stages of sleep seem to be used for forming new memories and generating new synaptic connections.
One of the possible side effects of a continued lack of sleep is death. Usually this is the result of the fact that the immune system is weakened without sleep. The number of white blood cells within the body decreases, as does the activity of the remaining white blood cells. The body also decreases the amount of growth hormone produced (8). The ability of the body to metabolize sugar declines, turning sugar into fat. One study stated that people who sleep less than four hours per night are three times more likely to die within the next six years (11). Although the longest a human has remained awake was eleven days rats that are continually deprived of sleep die within two to five weeks, generally due to their severely weakened immune system.

taken from this site

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 03:04 PM
reply to post by EagleTalonZ

Could Nightly Sleep Become Optional?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: No, and we don't know why.

There's quite a few good research studies done on the beneficial effects of sleep. What sleep state is most restful, on the adverse effects of unregulated sleep/wake cycles. How you can accrue sleep debt, but cannot bank sleep. Etc... etc..

We know sleep is an important part of processing and organizing memories. Especially working memory, which is key to higher level executive functions of consciousness such as decision making, reasoning, and forward planning. The dream state is also thought to improve creativity by accessing otherwise potentially neglected associations and neural pathways. It's also been suggested that, while the brain remains quite active during sleep, sleep itself allows neurons to used in wakeful states to repair themselves, flush out toxins, and absorb more nutrients - replenishing them for later use. Sleep deprivation can cause errors in neural connections & reliability in synaptic activity which adversely affects perception and may cause hallucination.

We know sleep is a regenerative state in which the immune system is more robust, as well as assisting the bodies natural regenerative properties. The lowered cardio/pulminary rates associated with sleep, as well as reduced motor function helps prevent strains to damaged tissue which may re-open a wound, slows hemorrhaging/blood loss/etc. Sleep states are also critical to growth hormone release in developing males.

And why all of that is well and good, it's still rather.... cheesecake. Some of those functions could have been adapted to allow perpetual wakefulness, some are situational... but none of them are truly indicative of the very base and primitive necessity sleep must have granted, considering how pervasive it is in the animal kingdom.

I wouldn't suggest a pill to keep you up for four days straight. Not just yet, anyhow. Perhaps when we know more about sleep and it's role in our health. However, there has been on-again/off-again news on a Muscle Building pill which converts fast twitch to slow twitch muscle.

Well... pill in the sense that it's a capsule, like a protein shell... as in virus. Don't over-react though... everyone here always over-reacts to manufactured viruses. This one, however, is merely a retro-viral transport mechanism. The virus IS the therapy. And it's still a ways off from human clinical trials as I understand.

Wired: Gene Therapy shows it's muscle.

Lee Sweeney of the University of Pennsylvania said laboratory studies show that injecting a virus carrying the gene for insulin-like growth factor 1 into lab rats caused their target muscles to grow in size and strength by 15 to 30 percent. When the technique was used on rats that were also put through an exercise program, the animals doubled their muscle strength.

If successful, such treatments could be a great benefit to those suffering from degenerative muscular diseases, atrophy incurred due to other illnesses, physical therapy aids, etc. Though, of course, the first ethical concern we focus on is sports related "Can we test for Gene Doping".

Similarly, Ray Kurzweil wrote an article for Scientific American on the topic of Reprogramming our biology wherein another surely high-demand application was mentioned.

One example of a gene that we would like to turn off is the fat insulin receptor gene, which tells fat cells to hold on to every calorie. When that gene was blocked in the fat cells of mice during a study at the Joslin Diabetes Center, those mice ate a lot but remained thin and healthy. They lived almost 20 percent longer, obtaining the benefit of caloric restriction without the food restriction.1

Yup, a therapy that will let you sit on your keister all day eating as much crap as you want and still lose weight. If this or a similar treatment pans out, we're going to save a fortune on health care costs otherwise incurred due to obesity. Though, I'd hate to see it used as a free license for unmitigated gluttony.

I don't mean to go off-topic here, but considering the threshold we're about to pass in regards to enabling powerful life-extension technologies, which improve both the quality and quantity.... perhaps a few extra hours of sleep a night isn't too much to sacrifice to make.

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 03:47 PM
you guys can stay awake all you want, i'll take my 20 hour of sleep a day (i wish). people who sleep little enjoy more miserable waking moments while i dream hop. i once slept for 48 hour after a day fishing trip without sleep, i enjoyed the sleeping more than the fishing. silly mortals, sleeping is the last beautiful thing that is yours yet you want to avoid it.

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 04:00 PM
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep is generated in the first couple of hours of sleep. So the most effective sleep you get is in the first 4 hours.

While you sleep you are on a hallucinogenic trip. The trip is produce in your Pineal Gland in your brain. The chemical is called dimethyltryptamine or '___'.

Which is a Federal Phelony, which means you go to a Federal Prison.

REM Sleep is valuable, its one thing that no one can control, well maybe...

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 10:33 PM
I don't think sleep is optional, though someday perhaps.

For the last few weeks, I've actually been doing a little project, where I keep track of the hours I sleep, and various things during the day, like what I ate, and stuff like that. I don't have enough data yet, but my plan is to look for patterns to find the days where I was tired vs the days I was not, and compare the # of hours I slept, and such. I'm not really sure what I expect to find, but I'm hoping I can figure out a way to shave an hour or two off my sleep a night and not lose any benefits.

posted on Jan, 27 2010 @ 05:08 AM
i think that possibly long ago before the advancement of technology, heck, maybe even before times of critical thinking, there was probably a lesser need for sleep. i don't know about you but i was awake for almost 3 days once and i started to hallucinate. i think that sleep is somewhat required for a healthy brain and body. (never doin' that again)
i think that people nowadays probably sleep too much though. power naps are a better idea i think, that way you get enough sleep to function but can also spend your time productively.

posted on Jan, 27 2010 @ 12:14 PM
reply to post by designerM

The say on average, you spend one third of your life sleeping. So 25 yrs to a 75 yr old person. What could have been accomplished in 25 years? I have not yet been able to conquer sleep, but I know that one time I stayed awake for 5 days. (not intentionally) And I too began to hallucinate.

I don't want to just avoid sleep. I'm hoping they invent something that will replace whatever healing agents are released when you sleep, while you're awake. That way you wouldn't even need to sleep. They have the Modfinil (Provigil) but that's not a perfect remedy.

They say it's used by military and local law enforcement. But to me, and I may be way off here, but it just sounds like a very expensive, slightly modified version of No-Dose. But what do I know?

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