Sleep As An Option

I am a night owl. It’s now 4:07 am and I’m wrapped in thought. But before I begin, I’d like to apologize for my long absence. Things have been very strange in our lives as of late. Which I will volunteer only that the former administration had something to do with it.

With that said, I offer for your consideration a new idea: OPTIONAL SLEEP. With the exception of only a few people on this planet who have a genetic mutation preventing them from doing so, every man woman and child must sleep for a certain number of hours each day.

But what if this wasn’t a genetic requirement? What if we slept only for pleasure? Like reading a book, or playing the piano. What if we were able to be perfectly lucid and functional without needing to “shut down” for the night?

Have you ever tried depriving yourself of sleep? I don’t mean staying up past your bedtime by a couple of hours, or pulling an all nighter at the hospital, because someone called in sick. I mean forceably staying awake for 24 hours or more. There have been countless studies about the science of sleep, and it is a well documented fact that we as mammals are genetically incapable of maintaining bodily function without REM sleep.

I am a caffeine junkie. I admit it. I LOVE ME SOME CONSCIOUSNESS! But I’ll admit I’m an avid sleeper too. Many mornings have seen me hitting the snooze button multiple times to get that extra 30 minutes of sleep. Now keep in mind, my alarm clock is 8 paces from my bed. I actually have to get up and walk across the room to shut it off.

But when I want to be awake, I want 110% wakefullness. Which is where the no-dōz come into play.

I drink alot of water. I like water. I actually like water more than coffee, tea, pop and milk. Which is how I’ve managed to justify supplimenting my caffeine intake with OTC stimulants.

But what if it weren’t necessary to do all that? What could we accomplish with an extra 8 hours a day? By reclaiming the 1/3 of our lives that we’ve lose each night, we  could be making the world a better place, or spending time with our family and friends or better yet, learning a new language, or an overly complicated musical instrument. I honestly don’t believe we would want to squander these extra penalty free hours if we had a choice.

This extra time is completely voluntary mind you, so it lies squarely outside of the 8 hours designated for work. And no, the additional 8 hours we get prior to our going in to work are not available to our employers. Just because we dont need to sleep doesn’t mean we’d prefer to work more.

If there was a way to hypnotize yourself into not needing this absurd biological requirement, I would leap at the chance. If I was offered a chip to replace the instinct for sleep with enhanced mental clarity, and desire for personal enrichment I’d be the first in line.

What would be a fair biological price for this upgrade, obviously the monetary cost would be high, but with the increased mental acumen, would finding the money to pay for the enhancement really be a problem for very long?

I don’t think so.

What I’m referring to as far as a biological cost, is “what’s it worth to ya?” I think shortening my lifespan by 5 – 10 years would be a fair trade. If  my life expectancy is about 80 years, how vigorous would I be during those last 10? Probably not very, and I’d probably choose to sleep anyway. So dropping off at 70 doesn’t seem like an unfair arrangement to me. Especially if I’ve increased my conscious life by 10 years.

Will this technology ever come to pass? I doubt it, because just like the common cold, there’s more money in helping people escape from their lives through sleep and medication than there is in actually finding a cure for it.  I think children have the right idea in never wanting to go to sleep. They instinctively know that all the good stuff happens at night.

Thoughts and comments are welcome and appreciated!


Mr. Black

~ by fblack2 on March 7, 2010.

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