Against Sleep

By Patrick Appel

Jenny Diski suggests obviating sleep:

As chief scientist in charge of making the world a better place, once I’d found a way of making men give birth, or at least lactate, I’d devote myself to abolishing the need for sleep. Apart from the dangers of letting your guard down, there’s the matter of time. Instead of trying to extend the life of human bodies beyond their cellular feasibility, the men and women in lab coats could be studying ways to retrieve all the time we spend asleep. A third of our lives, they say – and that probably doesn’t take the afternoon nap into account. Even if we died aged what is these days a rather youthful 70, finding a way to stay awake would increase our functional life to the equivalent of 93. And if we happened to live to 93 then we’d effectively be . . . oh, even older. Plus the nap time. Sleep, we’re told, is essential, repairing the wear and tear on body and mind, but sex was once solely for the purpose of propagating the species and we pretty much found a workaround for that biological constraint.

(Hat tip: 3QD)