Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Joys of Not Sleeping

The WSJ has an interesting piece about "short sleepers", people who only need a couple of hours of sleep per night in order to function well and happily.

I remember talking once to a friend of mine who has insomnia, and saying that if I ever found that I couldn't sleep, I'd try to take on some obscure project, like learn Russian between the hours of 3 and 5 in the morning. She explained to me that insomnia doesn't actually work this way - rather than not needing sleep, you constantly feel tired but just aren't able to get to sleep. Which sounds like a kind of living hell.

Being a short sleeper, on the other hand, seems like living the ideal version of insomnia - you just don't need as many hours with your eyes closed.

I long thought that if I could get one semi-plausible physical trait, this would be it. Suppose the average person lives to 76 and sleeps 8 hours a night. If you only need 4 hours of sleep instead, if you die at 76 then you'll have lived the same number of waking hours as a person who lived to 95! Not only that, but more of those hours were spent in the prime of your life and health.

Short sleepers, man. It's where it's at.

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