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If you didn’t have to sleep at all, would you?

If you live a regularly long life, say, to 75, and you sleep a regular amount, you’re going to be asleep for 25 years of your life.  One godddamn third of it. So you’re basically living until you’re 50 (if you’re lucky).

I know a lot of people who love to sleep, and even list it as the thing they love to do most, but for me it’s this annoying little kid that comes around every night, without fail, saying, ‘Hey hey hey hey hey hey… remember me? Oh you want to read or do something good? Don’t make me laugh. Say goodbye to the world where you can actually do stuff for another 7 or 8 hours.’

Sleep for me is a nuisance. A chore. Something that’s got to be done, because my body’s telling me to. But if you didn’t have to sleep (and most importantly didn’t get tired) you could in theory be 33% more productive, or at least spend 33% of it doing awake stuff that actually shits all over the stuff you can do while you are asleep.

I get that we need to sleep to recharge, but what if we had a better charger? What if we could work out what the best things are for us before bed, after it, and during the day, to then lower each night’s sleep to as little as possible. So that we’re moving around and actually doing stuff for more of it?¹

Sleep. Annoying, annoying, sleep.

Elon Musk, Nikola Tesla, Einstein, Newton, Shakespeare, all these guys have, and had, to go to sleep. But are you telling me that if they didn’t have to, they would? There’s nothing else in our life that we are forced to do, other than excrete waste and sleep. We’re hostages of our bodies on this one, because at least going number 1s and 2s don’t take 8 hours.

One of my main take aways so far² from Tim Urban’s post about Musk’s new company, Neuralink is that Brain Machine Interfacing is going to make it possible for us to separate our cravings (such as that for sugar) from our primal needs (such as that of eating so we don’t die. But what about doing something where we can trick our mind into resting an individual part body part at a time, so we don’t have to shut down the whole system for one third of our life?

Stars said it:

20 years asleep till we sleep forever

Damn that’s a lot of time. Does it have to be that much?


¹ And yes, some people will say dreaming and unconscious thought during sleep is crucial to life, but come on, 1/3 of every day seems like overkill.
² It’s 12 billion words long.
³ I would do a word count but I don’t want to have to scroll through the post and spoil the ending. It’s freaking excellent.