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Can Sleep Be Eliminated Or Is It The Key For Life?

1344 words - 6 pages

Srividya Kannan
Dr. Britton
Paper 3
April 8, 2014
Talk about REM sleep, sleep stages
Talk about Beggars in Spain
Give your own opinions
Address insomnia – what it feels like to not sleep
Can Sleep be Eliminated or Is It the Key for Life?
“Beggars in Spain” by Nancy Kress addresses the futuristic concept of not having to sleep; it further addresses the idea of sleeping vs. a genetic alteration that results in sleeping being an unnecessary routine. There’s a clear social line between those who can sleep and those who’ve been genetically altered so that sleep is no longer a necessity. Can sleep ever actually be eliminated from everyone’s routine schedules without negatively affecting human ...view middle of the document...

Although the latter may be true for a period of time, the risk of dependency runs high. Coffee is yet another stimulant and caffeine dependence can occur. A high consumption of caffeine increases anxiety and disrupts sleeping patterns and can lead to insomnia. Also, stimulants have their limitations, including reduced performance and amphetamine-induced paranoia. Ways of inhibiting sleep have been conceived but the need to sleep remains. There are negative psychological effects like addiction that can occur and taking drugs is equivalent to poisoning your body. Although no one intentionally and knowingly wants to put their body in danger, we are doing exactly this because we think we will be more productive in the end and be more successful. However, the true success lies in getting enough sleep, mentally repowering your neural connections and resting your muscles enough to face the upcoming challenges and stresses of the next day.
“Beggars in Spain” also deals with the genetic alteration that allows for eliminating sleep and there is no result in adverse health effects. This is hard to consider because if not enough sleep is obtained throughout the night, there are multiple negative side effects: it can dramatically weaken the immune system, contribute to depression, and decrease production of melatonin, a potent antioxidant that helps to suppress harmful free radicals. Less sleep slows the production of estrogen, which can activate cancer, raise the risk of heart disease, accelerate tumor growth – tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions, impair an individual’s performance on physical or mental tasks, and decrease their problem solving ability. It can further cause a pre-diabetic state, making a person feel hungry even if they've already eaten, which can wreak havoc on their weight, adversely impact a person’s levels of thyroid and stress hormones and seriously impair memory functioning. Even a single night of poor sleep (4 to 6 hours) can impact the ability to think clearly the next day. Eradicating sleep would only result in more problems both physically and mentally. The negatives truly outweigh the positives when it comes to sleeping less. Due to the fact that we try to do more of the things we want to do after completing all the tasks and chores we had to do, we tend to sacrifice our sleep time. Often we wake up wishing that we had turned off the TV or put the cell phone away earlier the previous night so we could have slept more. Sleep is invaluable and although it may seem like we spend a third of our life sleeping, sleep is essential for normal and productive functioning and also to feel well-rested and happier.
According to the featured article in Aeon, new technologies are emerging, promising to decrease our relentless need for sleep, without the side effects associated with stimulant drugs:
“Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – the research arm of the US military...

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