Monday, May 07, 2007

Sleep Is Overrated Anyways

As a parent of a newborn and a toddler, a story yesterday from Sky News intrigued me greatly.
A new discovery could make it possible to take a "power nap" at the flick of a switch. Scientists have found a way to turn on deep sleep at will using a machine that could squeeze the benefit of eight hours' sleep into just two or three hours.

Scientists in the US used a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to induce slow waves - indicative of the deepest phase of sleep and essential for learning ability and mood, in a group of sleeping volunteers.

Just think of it while you are having restless nights with a baby. Get them to sleep once for two hours at a stretch, hook the machine up, and you feel refreshed as if you had a full eight hours.

Then, the dark side effects came to mind. What if this thing causes cancer in 20 years? They say it's harmless now, but everybody knows how that goes. I also think our corporate overlords would highly encourage the use of this device. I could see nap rooms in big businesses, where employees pull 3 day benders, only with 6 hours of combined "refreshing" sleep hooked up to one of these machines.

I enjoy sleep. Even though at 8 hours a day, you are spending 24 years of sleep when you hit 72, so what? Sleep isn't just restorative mentally, but physically as well. When you work hard, or excercise, or garden, the fact that you are lying prone for 8 hours does wonders for your body recouping itself. People using these machines will likely get tons of aches and pains that won't go away. But heck, the pharmaceutical companies won't mind. They should plan on making more drugs. Perhaps they can hook their workers to these machines, so they don't have to hire new people. With 2 hour sleep periods, their workers can pull longer shifts too.