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8/28/12

Thinking About Not Thinking

Bookmark and Share "If I told you that I had a neurological disease which meant that for eight or more hours a day I lost control of my faculties, bade farewell to the outside world, and was subject to complex hallucinations and delusions . . . you would think I was in a pretty bad way. If I also claimed that the condition was infectious, you would wish me luck in coping with such a terrible disease, and bid me a hasty farewell."

But hold on! We are talking about sleep. Everybody does it. Everybody agrees it has biological purpose but nobody knows what the purpose is.
We don't fully know why we sleep. We do know we need it and there will be consequences for ourselves if we don't get it. We spend a third of our lives in this most unproductive of states, sleep. For the average person, this means 25 to 30 years of life span is lost. Some have tried to live without it in order to get as much life out of the years as possible. It doesn't help, and only makes things worse.

In 1959, a New York disc jockey, Peter Tripp, announced he would begin a "wakeathon" to promote donations for polio research.  To do this, he set himself up in a glass booth in Times Square--a most public place--so that everybody could insure he was awake.  He spent 201 waking hours in the booth.  We do not know what stimulants he took but we do know he became aggressive, hallucinative, and paranoid, thinking his support group conspired against him. The key point here is that irritation and paranoia can be linked to sleep deprivation. In later life he was a troubled man, both professionally and personally, and this was blamed on his sleep-deprivation stunt.  More

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