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Drugs Eradicate the Need For Sleep

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the we-already-discovered-meth dept.

772

MattSparkes writes "New Scientist is running an article on lifestyle drugs that claim to help you function on little or no sleep. I'm dubious, but the interviewee in the article claims they work well. 'Yves (not his real name), a 31-year-old software developer from Seattle, often doesn't have time for a full night's sleep. So he swallows something to make sure he doesn't need one.'" But, sleep is where I'm a Viking!

cancel ×

772 comments

Not good..... (5, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951316)

Speaking as a scientist who used to study sleep and sleep disorders, I have to say this is troubling. Sleep has evolved for a purpose and a number of studies have shown that sleep is necessary or crucial to consolidate long term memories, stabilize mood and more. If you are a simple automaton in your job, then *perhaps* you might be able to get away with something like modafinil for short periods of time, but if your job requires thought and the use of memory and higher cognitive function, then you are doing yourself a disservice by taking these drugs. I worry that the long term effects will not become apparent until years later, like I suspect [utah.edu] might happen with PDE inhibitors like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

Humans have evolved an organized architecture of sleep where we progress through a number of stages of sleep. In other words, sleep is an active state that is not homogenous in that there are five generally accepted states of sleep separate from consciousness. Stages 1 and 2 are light sleep whereas 3 and 4 are deeper, more restful states of sleep with lower brain metabolic rates and more cortical synchronization. Stage 5 or REM sleep is actually a very active stage of sleep with very high metabolic requirements rivaling that or exceeding wakefulness and its thought that REM sleep may be necessary for memory consolidation. The trick is that the architecture of sleep is broken up into various stages and you do not really approach the most intense REM periods until after you have progressed back and forth through some of the other stages including a more brief period of REM sleep earlier in the night. So, the most intense REM period is late into sleep and often early in the morning. If you short change yourself of the other sleep periods, you reduce the quantity and quality of your REM sleep period.

Re:Not good..... (5, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951394)

I've always wondered about the need for sleep. For an animal to allow itself to go into an extremely vulnerable state every day for hours it must have a VERY good reason for doing so. The fact that sleep has been passed along in our genes even in the face of natural selection (sorry creationist museum) shows this. I think we've barely penetrated the real reasons for sleep.

Re:Not good..... (5, Interesting)

Golthur (754920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951480)

Not that I necessarily agree with this, but Carl Sagan hypothesized in Dragons of Eden that mammals were originally nocturnal, and evolved sleep so as to be still (and thus more difficult to spot) during the day when the reptiles (which dominated all niches when mammals first evolved) were active.

Re:Not good..... (5, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951676)

I've always wondered about the need for sleep. For an animal to allow itself to go into an extremely vulnerable state every day for hours it must have a VERY good reason for doing so. The fact that sleep has been passed along in our genes even in the face of natural selection (sorry creationist museum) shows this. I think we've barely penetrated the real reasons for sleep.


In fact, there are animals that don't appear to sleep, but actually do (dolphins, for example). What they do is sleep half their body and brain at a time. So there's obviously some benefit, as they've evolved the necessity to remain awake, but still get the sleep they need. (Unless it really happens to be some anomaly of evolution (another strike against creationism), like the appendix or spleen, that affects basically the entire population of living creatures). But I would think the dolphins proved otherwise, since they'd be the first to do away completely with sleep.

But a concern is still the long term side effects. By playing with stuff like this, would it lead to mental insanity later on due to paranoia or schizophrenia? We are, after all, playing with the mental state of mind (I'm sure tired muscles still remain tired even after popping the pills, even though the brain says it's fresh). The fact that the miliary trials concluded that it's only useful to about 48 hours wakefulness seems to imply that it doesn't reduce the need for sleep, just reduces the feelings of the need for sleep/sleepiness. We may end up with a population of zombies in a decade or two's time.

Anyhow, when did pill-popping become fashionable? I fear the day where it's "uncool" to not stick some drug in you as part of your daily routine in order to get through the day (as opposed to treating disease). Or the "there's a drug for everything" mentality.

Re:Not good..... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951986)

, like the appendix or spleen


The appendix and spleen are NOT vestigial organs. While you can survive without them, your immune system is stronger if you keep them.

You can survive without your right arm, therefore it's vestigial, correct?

Statements like that (e.g., the appendix and spleen do not perform necessary functions) make evolutionists look stupid. Please research physiology before you try to prove evolution with misguided "facts."

Re:Not good..... (4, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951694)

It does seem severely evolutionarily disadvantageous, doesn't it? Honest question, for anybody who knows: what is the lowest order of animal life that requires sleep? Eukaryotes don't sleep, do they? Do worm? Jellyfish? Is there some connection between higher-order brain activity and the need to sleep, and does it differ by species?

Re:Not good..... (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951850)

Actually, you *are* a eukaryote and most of us posting here on Slashdot are with the exception of those that have foed me I suspect. :-)

Seriously though, worms, jellyfish and other "lower" invertebrates do exhibit periods of inactivity as do even prokaryotes such as bacteria. This period of "inactivity" is often crucial for normal physiological processes to occur. The important thing to note here is that through evolution, "higher" organisms appear to have accumulated a number of circadian clocks related to a variety of physiological functions and the "higher" up an organism is, the more clocks for various functions are accumulated.

Augustus Cole (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951410)

Plus there's that "Sleepless [wearehere.net] " episode of the X-Files from Season Two where soldiers were given medication and treatment during Vietnam so that they'd never sleep ... I won't give away any spoilers as it's quite the enjoyable episode.

Re:Augustus Cole (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951544)

You might be surprised at how art imitates *real life* with respect to sleep projects that have acquired a black status within certain government agencies in the not too distant past. I'm not kidding...

I think Taco already answered this.. (1)

ihatewinXP (638000) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951526)

Read the story tag line again -

From the "We alreadty discovered meth dept."

I dont want to advocate drug use.... but it appears Taco and I thought the same thing when we read the headline ;)

Re:Not good..... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951536)

Some people only need 4-5 hours of sleep a night.
Why is that?
I also notice that some powerfully motivated people only need 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Martha Stewart, nepolean, Da vinci, etc . . . Is there a corolation?

I would love a drug that allowed me to be fully functional on only 4 hours of sleep a night.

Re:Not good..... (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951720)

Some people only need 4-5 hours of sleep a night.
Why is that?


There can be some play in actual sleep requirements. Whereas most people need 8-9 hours of sleep per night, in long term situations, you can "economize" your sleep by appearing to make it more efficient in that latencies to certain periods of sleep may be reduced over time. But like any other economizing you see in life/financials etc...etc...etc... there are tradeoffs. For instance, I typically get about 4-5 hours of sleep per night during the week, but it does catch up with me and I have to once or twice a week get a full nights sleep to recover or there is a price to pay and I suspect that those who claim they only *need* 4-5 hours of sleep per night are doing much the same thing as I am. There are very few people in the world who have been truly documented to maintain lifestyles where they get much less sleep than on average and to remain effective long term, you need your sleep.

Re:Not good..... (3, Interesting)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951936)

My brother-in-law, in trying to cultivate his superman status, claims that he only needs 4-5 hours of sleep per night. But everyone who knows him knows that he goes into a semi-comatose state for 24 hours once per week. No real savings there:
6 nights x 4.5 hours = 27 hours
1 days x 24 hours = 24 hours
Total = 51 hours/week

51 hours/7 days = 7.29 hours per day (just like the rest of us)

Re:Not good..... (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951842)

I also notice that some powerfully motivated people only need 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Martha Stewart...

Uhmmm.... motivated? Yes. Always the best judgment? Perhaps not.

Having a good night's sleep definitely helps me make the right decisions.

Maybe Martha should go back to eight hours a night.

Re:Not good..... (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951576)

There are a lot of jobs that don't require the use of memory or higher cognitive function. This could help people who are working two jobs. I used to live in an apartment with a neighbor who needed to work two jobs to support his wife and disabled daughter. He was taking speed to be able to do it. I introduced him to pure caffeine as a substitute and he was glad to have the strong stimulant (500mg per dose, not diluted, not time released) without the cost and negative aspects of speed.

These types of drugs always strike me as solving a non-problem, but there are people who are willing to live with the side effects.

Re:Not good..... (1)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951938)

Taking 500mg of caffeine has short- and long-term side effects of its own.

Re:Not good..... (4, Insightful)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951640)

I couldn't agree more. I'm not a sleep scientist but find it alarming how willing people are to submit to the "hey, it works!" credo as if they were putting some new additive in their car's fuel tank.

The problem is:

So how does modafinil work? "No one really knows," admits Vaught.

Of course should this drug turn out to cause major depression later in life I'm sure the pharma world will be waiting with open arms and a handful of prescriptions. It's pitiful how quality of life, savoring being human (yes, damn it, savoring being an absolute loaf for a day or month or year), is so readily sacrificed for the treadmill of modernity.

Work harder, get a bonus, go ski with friends in Aspen! Buy an Audi! Vacation in Bali! You too can have "it" if you peddle just a little harder!!

Pass me a good book and a sunset any day. I used to subscribe to the rat race and am eternally grateful that I learned early on what a farce it is. Sadly this country's economic model is based on the "more, more" mindset and, almost necessarily, popular culture reinforces it at every turn.

Re:Not good..... (4, Interesting)

Mprx (82435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951672)

REM sleep can't be necessary for memory consolidation, because monoamine oxidase inhibitors eliminate REM sleep, but not not impair memory even if used for a long time. Furthermore, this is a there is a case of brain injury which eliminated REM sleep but did not impair memory. http://www.npi.ucla.edu/sleepresearch/science/1058 full.html [ucla.edu]

Re:Not good..... (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951898)

But other studies have indicated increased performance in those subjects allowed REM sleep versus those subjects who have been selectively deprived of REM sleep. Other studies still have shown a reduction (higher efficiency) in brain metabolism in those subjects performing tasks who have been allowed REM sleep versus those other subjects who have been selectively sleep deprived. I am on a very narrow connection here and out of time for posting for now or I would find those references for you. But a simple Medline search should bring them up.

Re:Not good..... (2, Interesting)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951732)

You have excellent points. Unfortunately, now that many advertising restrictions on drugs have been removed, the drug industry can effectively push drugs onto Americans without rational voices such as your own being fairly considered. Combine this with human nature to succeed and excel relative to one's peers, and you have the possibility for us to quickly go down the path of re-engineering ourselves for excellence.

The idea of everyone having an IQ of 300, being able to sleep 4 hours a week, and never getting sick may sound great to some, but where does it stop? After we've reached the point of greatly diminishing returns from drugs, do we turn to machines for enhancment? Do we augment ourselves with embedded computer chips, use genetic engineering to enhance our characteristics, or completely tailor our bodies and minds into something we can't even imagine today?

This may seem far removed from sleep drugs, but I think it is a natural progression ... we are gaining the technology to enhance ourselves, and it will be a game of constant one-upmanship. Ethical discussions will prevent us from moving too fast, but I fear these concerns would have no impact on a slow progression towards turning ourselves into something unrecognizable as human by today's standards.

Re:Not good..... (3, Funny)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951792)

I worry that the long term effects will not become apparent until years later, like I suspect [utah.edu] might happen with PDE inhibitors like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

Well, I guess if you're going to take away my PDE inhibitors, I might as well sleep anyway.

Re:Not good..... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951810)

Speaking as a scientist who used to study sleep and sleep disorders, I have to say this is troubling.

Then identify why you think it's troubling, and devise an experiment to prove your hypothesis. Saying things like "Sleep has evolved for a purpose" is claptrap.

I've been doing this for years... (1)

lick mi ballz (1016185) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951882)

This is what crank is for. I just snort a quarter of crystal and I'm up for fucking days.

But, sleep is where I'm a viking! (0)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951324)

But, sleep is where I'm a viking!
Eradicate the spam problem by eating it? In your dreams!

Refreshing (2, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951328)

"New Scientist is running an article on lifestyle drugs that claim to help you function on little or no sleep. I'm dubious, but the interviewee in the article claims they work well. 'Yves (not his real name), a 31- year-old software developer from Seattle, often doesn't have time for a full night's sleep. So he swallows something to make sure he doesn't need one.'"

It's refreshing to see evolution still at work.

This sounds like something the Dog can use (1)

Dog Chapman (942321) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951332)

This would help me stay up all night fighing off Beths disgusting advances. She tires easily.

A new market (2, Funny)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951336)

They should try selling this to new parents. My wife would surely love to get her hands on some.

Re:A new market (1)

szo (7842) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951440)

And by brestfeeding, pass it on to your baby. I hope you're just joking.

Re:A new market (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951646)

Not necessarily, she could give it to her husband. He can do everything except the actual feeding (and even that, if she's saved some or they're using formula at least some of the time.)

While it's something one should perhaps go through once, I certainly wouldn't want to relive the first few months of my children's lives, it was pretty torturous. I would seriously considered using something like this.

The bugs! They are crawling up my legs! (5, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951340)

But, sleep is where I'm a viking!

Don't worry, Taco! After 100 hours or so awake, you'll BE a viking, raping and pillaging and showing those pink elephants who's boss!

This is news? Did they sleep through the 1980s? (3, Funny)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951342)

This just in: New Scientist discovers cocaine. Story at 11.

Re:This is news? Did they sleep through the 1980s? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951566)

Cocaine is a hell of a drug!

Re:This is news? Did they sleep through the 1980s? (1, Funny)

takotech (648308) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951996)

I'm Rick James bitch.

Great, now the terrorist know... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951352)

Jack Bauer's big secret is out. What chance does he stand next season when the terrorists can go 24 hours without sleeping as easily as he can?

The Only Profession Requiring No Sleep (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951354)

Doctor: Now, what seems to be the problem?
Patient: I got it bad, doc, I barely get any sleep ... I need some modafinil--or my life will fall apart!
Doctor: Now hold on there, I don't go around giving prescriptions of that to just anyone! You're young, you look like you're in good shape, why don't you get any sleep?
Patient: Well, it's just that ... I'm a ... software developer.
Doctor: My GOD! Why didn't you say anything? *yells out the door* Nurse! I'm going to need a lifetime's supply of modafinil--stat!
Patient: Oh thank you, doc, thank you so much!
Doctor: Everything's going to be alright, plus it seems your company's health care is willing to provide 100% of the funding for this with no deductable, can't say I've seen that before. Now you say that you're married as well? Then I'm going to recommend you take two of these every day with fifth of bourbon ...

Re:The Only Profession Requiring No Sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951740)

My health plan does cover Provigil, but I haven't been able to convince them about the bourbon!

Yikes. (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951360)

Modafinil is just the first of a wave of new lifestyle drugs that promise to do for sleep what the contraceptive pill did for sex
So from now on we'll have to sleep in rubber sleeping bags if we don't want it to kill us?

Old news (3, Informative)

WinkyN (263806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951384)

This story appeared in the New Scientist in mid-February 2006.

Re:Old news (5, Funny)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951624)

"This story appeared in the New Scientist in mid-February 2006." That's because the editors thought they were hummingbirds for the last 9 months.

the flip side (5, Funny)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951404)

Sleep eradicates the need for this drug.

pills for everything (3, Insightful)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951406)

It's reassuring to see that pharmaceutical companies can make a pill to solve every problem, even ones that weren't a real problem before they came up with a pill.

Re:pills for everything (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951592)

Modafinal or provigil was created long before this study on using it for avoiding sleep. It is a drug used to treat narcolepsi. Some people wouldn't be able to work without it since they would fall asleep walking down the hallway. I took the drug once to help with the sleepy side effects of antidepressants. Provigil felt like taking speed and I was always hyperactive. I wouldn't recommend taking it.

Re:pills for everything (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951782)

Yeah, really.

Now, we'll have more people going out partying late at night, more cars on the roads, more people awake at night using electricity...

Even if this doesn't have any long-term side effects on people (which I bet it does), it'll have a massive impact on energy usage and consumption.
I, for one, hope that this doesn't get adopted until we have 100% clean energy (in other words, never).

WoW (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951904)

It's reassuring to see that pharmaceutical companies can make a pill to solve every problem, even ones that weren't a real problem before they came up with a pill.

Sounds like someone hasn't done a Raid in WoW yet ...

Re:pills for everything (1)

PacketShaper (917017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951962)

The United States is currently the only country in the world that allows drug companies to advertise prescription drugs directly to the consumer. Anyone else think we are headed for trouble?

OMG 10-20 years!!! Thats so close... (4, Funny)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951412)

"In 10 to 20 years we'll be able to pharmacologically turn sleep off." Wow! Right around that time I should be able to stay awake behind the wheel of my flying car powered by a comercially available fusion generator! In 10-20 years, everything will be great!

but you won't need to stay awake, then (3, Insightful)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951516)

Right around that time I should be able to stay awake behind the wheel of my flying car powered by a comercially available fusion generator!


But the car's going to have autopilot and land automatically. So why do you want to stay awake?

10-20 years brought to you by.... (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951650)

The girl who told you she only slept with 1 or 2 guys... ;-)

Re:10-20 years brought to you by.... (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952012)

37 cocks...

I don't understand... (0, Offtopic)

stevobi (600234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951416)

The need for what?

Little to no sleep? (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951422)

I'd go insane if I didn't sleep much/at all. I love relaxing and drifting off for 6-10 hours every day.

Either way, I can't imagine this is too healthy for humans in the long run.

More work, less life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951426)

When do his/her cells get to repair themselves? And a heartrate at a constant 72bpm all day, is that healthy, in the long view?

Life's not a sprint to the finish (or should not be) It's to be an enjoyable treck with rest and recreation.

what a tool (of the "man")

It's called Meth, and it'll turn you into a neut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951432)

No kidding.

Hmmm... Not Good (4, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951446)

If it's artificially interfering with a normal function of life and it's not involved in preventing a life threatening disease, it's just a bad idea. Myself, I only need four to six hours a night and I can function well. I actually natrually wake up after six hours even without an alarm clock. I've always been that way. If I really need to puch myself I can get by with two hours sleep. This is perfectly natural. Back in the 90s I read a book on sleep and it stated that most humans need the typical eight hours of sleep. It also revealed that in a few sleep studies where the subjects are kept from knowing the real time or seeing any cues (daylight), that they tended to sleep more on the order of 10 hours a night with their sleep cycle drifting an hour later each day (ie. they would go to sleep an hour later each day without realizing it). But, they did concede that every human is different and there indeed people who don't need much sleep and others who actualy need a lot more sleep than is culturally possible (13-15 hours a day) to be at their best. Sadly, humans are WAY too flexible in their traits which means that there is no "one size fits all" approach. In the case of this drug however, I'd say that it will be revealed eventually just how detrimental it's effects are while simultaneously being denied by the pharmaceutical companies that produce it.

Re:Hmmm... Not Good (1)

Cerium (948827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951796)

I doubt this will be denied. Perhaps considering it a replacement for sleep is taking it a bit too far, but I can see this easily being a replacement for existing products such as no-doze (Which, I imagine truckers consider a godsend).

Also, I envy your ability to function on six hours of sleep. I'm one of those poor saps who cant get out of bed without a minimum of ten hours. I guess software development probably wasn't the best career choice...

Gadget (0, Offtopic)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951448)

Go Go Gadget Go Pill!

Obligatory Shakespeare Reference (5, Insightful)

duh P3rf3ss3r (967183) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951450)

"To die; to sleep; to sleep perchance to dream! Aye, there's the rub. For, in that sleep of death, what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?"

No thanks (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951458)

I gotta say, I really fucking like to sleep. Disregarding the fact that it's required to live (because I guess it's not going to be anymore, soon enough), I just enjoy actually falling asleep and dreaming.

The fact that the option will be there to not sleep is nice and all, and for some folks this is probably going to be a godsend (long-haul truckers and pilots, for example), but I think I'd off myself if I lived in a world where getting at least some sleep every day just wasn't an option.

Re:No thanks (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951606)

I'd really like to get my hands on this in the next week or two; trying to finish projects and study for finals would be a lot easier without that pesky sleep thing. These companies could make a killing at Georgia Tech...

Re:No thanks (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951710)

You could do what I did at Georgia Tech... sleep through your finals :P

Oh swell (2, Funny)

Mark of THE CITY (97325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951464)

Now your dreams will really miss you.

They already have a drug for this. (1, Funny)

daskrabs (976610) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951482)

It's called cocaine.

Die Another Day? (1)

TCK314 (969876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951502)

Lets just hope our good friend doesn't have any world domination ambitions, eh?

Painkillers? (4, Insightful)

setirw (854029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951504)

The concept behind this drug seems akin to that behind painkillers: Eliminate the symptoms, not the problem. Sure, with a sufficient dose of painkillers, I could run while my foot is broken without feeling any ill effects, but that doesn't nullify the damage that would be caused by doing this.

Better name: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951520)

Ring of Sustenance.

(Faint conjuration; CL 5th; Forge Ring, create food and water; Price 2,500 gp.)

Blah... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951528)

This was covered by the X-Files. A secret government lab created a drug that eliminated the need for sleep and their test subjects were soldiers in the Vietnam War. Side effects? Not being able to sleep for years on end, being able to project the fear of God into people, and being more psychotic than your typical Viet Nam vet. I'll pass...

Next time saving pill coming on the market (4, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951568)

Schering-Plough has just annouced the first prescription drug on the market to eliminate the need to go to the can. The drug, "Excretefree", will allow people to work and play continuously without the need for potty breaks. The drug causes the anus and urethra to close tightly preventing waste products from leaving the body. There is no chance of accidental or voluntary release for 24 hrs.

Side affects include internal rupture, massive swelling of the abdomen, oral (reversed) flatulence, abdominal pain, and epic post-medication trips to the bathroom.

Fuck that (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951588)

I want my sleep damn it

Old news (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951594)

There have been drugs around to do this for hundreds of years, at least. It's called speed.

Re:Old news (1)

Mprx (82435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951778)

Modafinil feels much better than amphetamines if you're just trying to reduce sleep. There's no real euphoria, but also none of the unpleasant side effects of amphetamine (or even caffeine). It's a very "smooth" feeling stimulant, unlike any other type of stimulant. It's not a great recreational drug, but as a drug to enhance your working ability there is nothing better.

Re:Old news (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951944)

but also none of the unpleasant side effects of amphetamine (or even caffeine)

Caffeine? Unpleasant?

-b.

Ironic.... (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951612)

Last night I slept for 13 hours - the night before I only slept 4 and had a very busy day. Yes, i'm still in a daze as i'm just waking up, but I know i'll feel great today. I wonder if mister viking can say the same.

What the hey? Psychosis? (1)

RedOregon (161027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951622)

I seem to remember something about how sleep deprivation can and does cause extreme psychosis after a while. Outside of a brief mention, the article doesn't really address that. Might be interesting to see what happens in six months or so to some of these guys.

I also foggily remember an article (National Geographic?) many years ago about a study where they put a guy deep underground in a cave with *no* clocks of any kind... if I remember right he eventually equilibrialized (is that a word?) at something outrageous like 27 hours of wakefulness with like 13 hours of sleep in between? Anyone remember that?

Re:What the hey? Psychosis? (1)

Rob86TA (955953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951744)

I seem to remember something about how sleep deprivation can and does cause extreme psychosis after a while.

I saw that episode of TNG as well! Fortunately we have an ample supply of Hydrogen here on earth.

The real danger... (2, Interesting)

dropshot (646089) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951626)

is if this works exactly as described. How long will it take until employers (or anyone who demands time in our lives) expects us to be available for 18 or 20 hour days? How disruptive would this be to society? If expectations change, anyone who doesn't want to disrupt their life to the extent that might be demanded will be at a competitive disadvantage.

Erradicae? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951632)

What is sleep now vermin, a disease --something in need of anihilation? What's with the ignorant use of language?

Re:Erradicae? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952018)

How is that ignorant?

Main Entry: eradicate [webster.com]
Pronunciation: i-'ra-d&-"kAt
Function: transitive verb ...
1 : to pull up by the roots
2 : to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots (programs to eradicate illiteracy)

Barring that, it certainly seems that it's being *treated* as a disease. Sleep interferes with productivity, therefore it must be cured.

It could also be a metaphor.

Grammatically, the word's perfectly fine. Just because you have a preconceived notion on how it should be used doesn't mean it's wrong.

There is a huge difference... (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951662)

between not feeling sleepy, and not needing sleep.

There is quite fascinating research into this subject actually with old people. Research determined that it's not that they need less sleep in old age, but that they can't sleep more and it is speeding up the consequences of old age.

So even if you don't feel sleepy, you need sleep and the effects would be quite devastating on a medium/long term. The problem with the drug industry is that it's more profitable for them to treat/mask sympthoms than to actually cure something. There are various anti-flu pills for example that only mask the sympthoms, so it will take a month or two to recover from a simple cold instead a week or two.

tha shiznit (1)

fscrubjay (1030738) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951666)

It works. I use it to counter severe side effects of antidepressants. I went from sleeping 18 hours a day to 3 a night, feel no jitteryness and refinished an arts and crafts dining room table at 3am this morning after baking a tart for my son's school Thanksgiving celebration. After running a 3 hour seminar on Aguerre Wrath of God. It is crystal meth without the threat of reprisals from biker gangs, crack cocaine without the social stigma. I am just waiting for an arm to start growing out of the back of my head.

This is vastly overhyped. (1)

leifb (451760) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951700)

As the article says, modafinil lets you go without sleeping for a couple of days. That's not much different than pulling a couple of all-nighters in college.

I know several people who use modafinil occasionally, and every one of them says they still feel awful if they miss too much sleep -- bad enough to know they're doing something stupid.

It's a huge leap from this, to a world where sleep is obsolete.

I'll pass on that software, thanks (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951704)

-- Yves (not his real name), a 31- year-old software developer from Seattle, often doesn't have time for a full night's sleep.

I am sure his coding is SO WAY IMPORTANT that he just doesn't have time to sleep.

excuse me while I spend some time laughing...ok, I am back

my suggestion is that this dumbass programmer (who's name isn't Yves), get some friggin' sleep, you aren't that important. really

Do it the natural way (4, Insightful)

stox (131684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951712)

Have a newborn child. You won't be getting any sleep for a long time.

Sleep debit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951722)

Sleep is like a bank account, you cannot keep withdrawing from it without putting something back, all the sleep you miss will have to be paid back eventually, with interest! I'm now in my late 40's and I can only sleep 6 hours, no more even if I try, but, I need that 6 hours or I cannot function.

If you took this drug, you'd have time to RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951816)

It operates without the debit. You stay awake and you don't need to catch up.

Re:Sleep debit (2, Interesting)

amrust (686727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951982)

I'm now in my late 40's and I can only sleep 6 hours, no more even if I try, but, I need that 6 hours or I cannot function.

I know what you mean. I'm coming up on 40, and I've noticed that I sleep less now than I did 5 years ago. Which is scary, because I always assumed that the "getting older = less sleep" thing didn't happen until you were MUCH older.

I guess we're all only as young as we feel, but still older than we think.

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951724)

During the day I can give my children Retaline and in the night I can give them this.

And nobody can sue me because I love my children :-)

If sleepinh isn't needet... (1)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951734)

...why the heck evolution developed it? You could be eaten
by a lion during the sleeping time. So sleeping must be such
a relevant behaviour, that its benefit is it worth to be possibly
killed by an predator. And that means it is better not to
prevent you from fall asleep, because the consequence must
be much worse than to be the lunch for another animal.

sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951750)

Ha ha remember that episode of Star Trek NG where "Q" becomes a real human, and he's all panicking and flipping out and he's all "DUDES, WTF, I was in my quarters and I passed out for like 8 hours straight! WTF is up with THAT shit!!"

Too funny.
People are so goddamn stupid.

Shame on you, Taco! (1)

Bugs42 (788576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951818)

from the we-already-discovered-meth dept.
You misspelled caffeine!

Know Your Source (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951900)

This is the same New Scientist that published Roger Shawyer's physics-defying theory [utexas.edu] about the so-called EM Drive? /. editors may as well start accepting submissions pointing to Weekly World News articles.

"Batboy divides by zero!"

ethics smethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951934)

FTA: So how does modafinil work? "No one really knows," admits Vaught. He says that Cephalon thinks it understands the drug, but is keeping the details under wraps

The general pattern is to simply factor in the cost of wrongful death lawsuits into the long-term cost of doing business. First, Hide the ill effects from the FDA to get the drug approved. Fortunately, Bush and Republicans are willing to help by appointing people from industry who do not care about consumer safety to run the FDA.

Second, escrow enough money to cover legal expenses and settlements that you know you will face, because you know the drug is not safe. As long as profits are greater than the cost of killing people, the shareholders win, and executives win.

Great. Next thing for corporate slave drivers (1)

bADlOGIN (133391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951942)

I can hear it now: "We'll be happy to offer you the position at a full $40k per year. It is however, a mandatory 120 hour work week..."

Way of stopping certain epilepsy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16951946)

Be interesting to read replies on this. I want to post as Mr. Anonymous for this post (for obvious reasons)....

I'm not going to disagree with earlier comments this isn't a good thing necessarily as as I really understand the need for good sleeping patterns. I have epilepsy caused by sleep deprivation. Without medication I would be totally fsck'd. With medication I usually get really bad migraines and small tremors when I haven't slept well. 95% of the time, no one would know.

I have to wonder though if this pill wouldn't have a better effect, given time and research of effectively eradicating the trigger mechanisms causing my epilepsy then current medications. If it lets others go without sleep, maybe it would trick (safely) my brain into doing the same thing. I know that my epilepsy is caused (as with probably other) poor regulation of the sodium-postassium channel on a specific site in the brain.

My condition is still misunderstood. No neurologists I've spoken to generally understand why people develop this type of epilepsy. They know from CAT and X-Rays where the seizures are being triggered. But no one knows why my brain developed that way. I never had nor suspected I would have epilepsy for more than the first 15 years of my life. A lot of people think of epilsepy being something where its always on (most severe cases) to being turned on by trigger mechanisms (lights, smells). Almost no one I've told knows of the sleep deprivation type though.

But are they "Trucker's Choice" ? (1)

turthalion (891782) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951958)

Some people think I'm being suspicious and shouldn't comment on this thread, but I don't need pep pills to be suspicious. If I wanna comment on it, I'll comment on it. Who's gonna stop me? You, Pep Pill Boy? Pep boys, pills, Beverly Sills, oh boy ah boy. Uh oh-uh oh...

Uh oh. I gotta stop taking those pills...

The other flip side of a no-sleep drug (5, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951970)

So this pill will surely have some side-effects, and some of them will likely be negative. Fine.

Now think about the value of your time. You get ~100 years here on Earth and that's all. You are wired to spend about a third of that time unconscious. An entire third of your life will be spent not doing or experiencing anything.

How much effort do you expend just to shave ten minutes off your commute? Or to save three minutes standing in line?

What, then, would 33 extra years be worth?

What about the physical impacts.... (1)

Lunch2000 (701764) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951984)

It seems everyone focuses on the neurological impact of skipping sleep. What about the physical; from what I have read your body also uses sleep to heal and rest. For instance what kind of strain is placed on your heart when you regularly go for days without sleep. When you sleep you lie down, your heart slows and does not have to work as hard to pump blood through your body. It essentially gets a rest. What happens when you stop doing this. Will people who start living a sleepless life style suddently drop dead of cardiac failure at 35? What are the long term physical effects of removing such a significant metabolic process from your life? Sure you can fool the brain, but can you fool the rest of the body?

Lunch

This pill will 'cure' many 'sleeping disorders' (1)

xplenumx (703804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16951994)

This reminds me of a technician I had who used to fall asleep at his bench. He was convinced that he had sleep disorder and would bounce from doctor to doctor looking for a cure. It turns out he was right - his sleep disorder was called Online Gaming. While the solution to his problem was cheap and easy, it didn't involve a pill so he kept looking for an alternate explanation.

Ambien's a hell of a drug. (1)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952010)

I'm on Ambien currently for insomnia. Kinda related, but not completely, since it's a sleep aid.

I really should stop IMing people after I've taken it, and just get right in bed and turn the lights off instead of waiting a few minutes for it to kick in.
Me [2:44:53 AM]: but if ou take e wee uij think i;m pretttu wwriiiki whwehjeejmhjssssshhhnnmnmnmsnmsnmsngnnhhnaASseeses s

What the HELL is that?

WoW (1)

The evil doctor Matt (847030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16952014)

Just think this stuff could enable a week long LAN party with no sleep. I gave up WoW so that I could have a job AND sleep... Guess now I'll have plenty of time to level up my Warlock...
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