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Sleep? That's so 20th Century

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  • Sleep? That's so 20th Century

    Sleep? That's so 20th Century
    Aasmah Mir

    Did you get everything done today that you wanted to do? Do you ever? Maybe you feel you’ve failed because that list in your head is getting longer every day. If you’ve got a couple of kids, a demanding boss and washing that refuses to do itself, there probably aren’t enough hours in the day. But soon there will be – around 22, in fact. Because scientists are developing a pill that will mean you only need to sleep for two hours each night.

    These new “lifestyle” pills promise to deliver sleep that is deeper and more refreshing than the real thing in a fraction of the time. Many Americans are already using a drug , Modafinil, that will keep them bright and alert for longer. They spent $575 million on it last year.

    Having frightened colleagues with my 3am face on early shifts, I can see the appeal. Who wouldn’t want to be able to hide the effects of a night out on the tiles when they have to be in work for 8.30 the next morning? A couple of these pills would be a godsend during exams. But I still think they sound hideous.

    Do you know anyone who wants a constant 24-hour lifestyle? And what’s to say that you wouldn’t get addicted to the lure of the two- hour sleep?
    Many of us could easily fill 22 hours with productive things, but we’re clearly not meant to. There’s something comforting about pulling down the shutters on a day, regardless of whether the work is done or not. Time’s up. It’s a refuge point for everyone, a safe haven; something we all do separately, but together.

    Nobody is forcing us to pop pills that will lengthen our working days and shorten our sleeping hours, but it’s a strong indication of the direction in which we are being led. How did pharmaceutical companies in America know there was a demand for 24-hour alertness? They didn’t. They created it by supplying the pills. And now millions of Americans want a piece of a lifestyle which they used to manage without. People are suggestible and, if we are sold the idea that we should be working and playing much harder, some of us will put our hands in our pockets.

    Many of us are already struggling. The UK has among the longest working hours in Europe. This week a Bupa survey suggested that stress about family, work and health is much worse than it was five years ago.

    Sleep is the first thing to suffer and 21% of people questioned said that they wanted some kind of medication to help. How many of them will turn to the two-hour sleep pill? Instead of addressing our problems, cutting our workload or delegating responsibility, some of us want to stretch the day to accommodate the demands made of us. Self-help books often say there is no such word as “can’t”. I disagree.

    Scientists want to override our body clock, to help us deal with the pressures of modern life. But nobody needs to be awake for most of the day – unless they’re Jack Bauer on 24, of course. Instead of wanting more, more, more, we should stop feeling like failures and limit our greed for time.

    And for the people who opt to cut the amount of time they sleep, I bet there still won’t be enough hours in their day.
    19 February 2006
    You are not aware of the consequences that would result (if you were granted what you desire) because what you seek might be to your detriment. (O soul) be conscious that your Master is more aware about your well-being than you are.

    ~Ibn Al-Jawzee

  • #2
    Re: Sleep? That's so 20th Century

    looking after three young children etc i will be lucky to get a 5 hour sleep without interuptions
    Please Re-update your Signature