If you cut down on your sleep, you got to read this
I have a dream. Of no sleep.
I'm not old and tired, despite what my teenage daughters say behind my back. However, I - like society - spend much of the day fighting to stay awake.
So I've taken a break from sleeping my life away. It's been 20 hours since I last slept - and I don't plan to close my eyes for at least another day.
I once could easily stay up until the break of dawn. Now, I usually break down around 11 p.m. My 43-year-old body clock is never fully wound.
There's not enough hours in the day to do all the things that need to be done, even if we could stay awake long enough to do them.
You would think with the state of the world, we would automatically stay awake in a cold sweat. But we have yet to win the battle to do without sleep, while missing a third of our lives, because we simply doze through it. More than food, it's a human need which has not changed much over the centuries.
However, Dr. Harvey Moldofsky - arguably the nation's premier authority on sleep - believes humans need more down-time, rather than less.
"I call it a famine - a famine of time," notes the University of Toronto professor of emeritus, and director of the Sleep Disorder Clinic at the Centre for Sleep and Chronobiology.
"Your own profession has eliminated time," he points out, of the 24-hour news cycle the world clocks itself by.
After spending most waking hours of the past 35 years studying our dependency on sleep, he sees us irrationally fighting it - sacrificing rest for more work and play.
Thomas Edison and DaVinci bragged of doing with little sleep - though they napped. Edison hoped the light bulb would mean the end to the habit. Makers of modern energy drinks promise the same. Fighter pilots pop drugs and soldiers chew caffeine gum - yet their mental states deteriorate over time.
If only modern society could defeat the need to slumber. It would be the miracle equivalent of living to 120 years old. If we could spend the eight hours a night that we sleep at work, the other 16 hours a day would be spare time. Our greatest scientists could find cures 33 per cent faster. Artists could produce that many more brush strokes or musical scores or TV sitcoms.
Don't hold your breath, warns Carlyle Taylor Smith, a Trent University psychology professor who lectures on sleep.
"I can't see an end to sleep," Smith says, shortly after delivering one of his two-hour lectures at the Peterborough university. "Edison talked about the 'evils of sleep' ... but it is essential to the body. It's a good thing."
In Japan, he recalls, there's a word for those who work themselves to death, by, among other things, doing without sleep.
"It's not a waste of time," he stresses.
But look what you can do if you never close your eyes.
After being awake now 26 hours, I am hungry because researchers have found a lack of sleep plays with the body's ability to know when it's full. The levels of leptin in my body - the hormone which tells my brain to stop eating - is likely lower than normal. While my levels of ghrelin, the hormone released by my stomach to trigger eating, is likely higher than usual.
"And you'd be cold between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.," Dr. Moldofsky correctly guesses, as if he's in my house - so I check every room to make sure he's not.
The body is on a 24-hour temperature cycle. It begins to drop by as much as 1.5 degrees after 2 a.m, and rises around 5 a.m. Staying awake plays cruel games with that clockwork.
Last month, Amir Blumenfeld bet his friend Kunal Shah $500 he couldn't stay awake from 8 a.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Sunday. The New York pals, both 23 years old, wanted a wager which would make most men lay down and cry - though, in fact, the world record is about 11 days.
"Going without sleep for 60 hours without any sort of caffeine or amphetamines seemed like the ultimate challenge," Amir tells me.
Kunal won the bet, thanks to frequent cold showers. But after doing without sleep for so long, it took him hours more to finally doze off, and woke up every few hours shivering. He has been on several cold medications and sleep aids, and, three weeks later, is still having trouble drifting off.
"You can't escape death, taxes or sleep," Moldofsky insists. "To go without sleep is to overwhelm your body."
Sleeping, he argues, is like breathing. It feeds the body. A lack of constant dozing causes a catastrophic breakdown in the metabolism - from screwing with our hormone levels to compromising the immune system to dissolving the ability to retain information.
As I type this, it's been 46 hours since I last slept - 5:30 a.m. on a Sunday, and I can't last the full 48. It's not just tiredness. It's boredom.
TV is like sandpaper across my eyes. The hum of the hard drive on this computer is making me edgy. My actions are slow and ghost-like. And I'm tired of going to the bathroom.
Just ... too ... sleepy ... to stay awake...one minute more.
The better part of a weekend, and I found the time. Stole it actually. But I accomplished precious little with it. Without a deadline of bed, it's easy to put things off.
"People are always trying to get rid of sleep," says professor Smith.
You want to make the most out of your awake time, he tells society, then get more rest.
It sounds like the easy way out. But, after seeing three mornings without closing my eyes, I'll now sleep on his advice.
Re: If you cut down on your sleep, you got to read this
lol read this ... read enuff ... did a whole research project ... kno all about sleep deprivation but styll ... it screws u up ... everythinnn serotonin nor. nd caffeine nd all .. its a sad sad case
sleepin for 7 hours affects ur life as compared to the normal 8 hours
nd styll wen i dont sleep properly
i feel so guilty