Tuesday, May 31

World

Ticky Tacky Sleep Compilers

Now in convenient capsules!

My grand-daughter Trixie has written of her "sleep compiler", an advanced electronic bio-feedback device that allows you to get by on just two or three hours of sleep a night. (It also lets you subscribe to the cable-dream network, but that's a post for another day.)

We seem to be catching up fast on Trixie's 22nd century world, unless it turns out that modafinil (pronounced like mow-daffodil) has some nasty side effects. Nastier than rashes and upset tummies anyway.

Modafinil (marketed as Provigil) has the curious effect of suppressing your urge to sleep. You still get tired - just not sleepy. And you still can sleep; it doesn't cause insomnia. It's just that you can remain awake and alert for extended periods without the need for sleep, and without the familiar side-effects of caffeine and amphetamines.*

It's not a stimulant; there's no high with modafinil. You wake up feeling rested, you find it easy to concentrate, you feel like doing work. You may also find yourself grinning like a feral chipmunk, so if this is not normal for you, you might find it best to keep your office door closed.

This site has first hand reports from people who have tried modifinil. It's interesting stuff, if subjective and occasionally unsettling:

I would warn that there might be a contraindication for high doses of Wellbutrin plus Provigil. I should mention I had some meth-amphetamine metabolites running around in my system from the previous night's partying (2 healthy sized tokes).
Uh, yeah. My liver has gone into hiding just reading that.

Is modafinil the magic, um, sleep thingy? No-one's ready to come out and say so just yet. As a sufferer of the dread 28-hour sleep cycle† I'm more than a little interested; as a cowardly chicken who ain't gonna take no nasty pills‡ I'm inclined to wait and see.

Now I'm just waiting for the modafinil spam to arrive.

* Well, I'm not personally familiar with the side-effects of amphetamines, but they have been studied extensively.

† Left to my own devices, I sleep ten hours out of twenty-eight, rather than eight out of twenty-four. I'm never ready to go to bed in time to get enough sleep so that I'll be ready to get up in the morning, if you follow me. If I go to bed at 11 pm, say, I don't want to get up until 9, and even if I crawl out of bed at 7 I'm not ready to sleep again until 1 am. I've been this way since my teens, so I've learned to live with it.

One thing that helps is that there are exactly six 28-hour days in a normal muggle week. So if I take a week off and let my sleep pattern take its natural course, it's back in sync at the end... Or actually, eight hours out, which is what happens every weekend, which I counter with a nap on Sunday afternoon, except then I don't get to sleep until late and...

It's after midnight, and I'm fully alert, and I have to go to bed now or I won't get up in the morning. Bah.

‡ Except my anti-sneeze tablets, because without those, life ain't worth living.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 10:30 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 Interesting, though messing with your sleep that way on a long-term basis sounds unhealthy. I enjoy melatonin before sleep (among other things; deep sleep and very vivid dreams.

Posted by: TallDave at Tuesday, May 31 2005 09:57 PM (H8Wgl)

2 Don't know if melatonin would help with the 28-hour cycle problem (that's what you get for emigrating to Earth from a planet that has a 28-hour day) but I first started using for it jet lag when I was consulting and thought it worked pretty well. It also worked pretty for my kittens once, in a proportional dose.

Posted by: TallDave at Wednesday, June 01 2005 12:42 AM (H8Wgl)

3 Gah, pimf -- s/b worked pretty well for my kittens once.

Posted by: TallDave at Wednesday, June 01 2005 12:44 AM (H8Wgl)

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