Pills to Replace Sleep
Posted on March 27, 2006
Sky News reports on the possibility that pills in the future could replace or reduce the need for sleep. The article says pills that will let people survive on just two hours of sleep are being developed.
Russell Foster, a circadian biologist at Imperial College London, said: "The more we understand about the body's 24-hour clock the more we will be able to override it.It does sound far-fetched since we have such little understanding of sleep and dreams but anything is possible. If they are invented and they work they would be extremely popular. There are already plenty of people who try and survive on as little as four hours of sleep a night without the help of these future pills.
"In 10 to 20 years we'll be able to pharmacologically turn sleep off. Mimicking sleep will take longer, but I can see it happening."
Neil Stanley, head of sleep research at the Human Psychopharmacology Research Unit at the University of Surrey, countered: "I think that would be the most hideous thing to happen to society."
Scientists are hoping to build on the success of the drug Modafinil, a stimulant launched seven years ago which allows people to wake up refreshed after four hours of sleep.