IEET > Rights > HealthLongevity > CognitiveLiberty > Vision > Enablement > Futurism
IEET Readers Want to Eliminate Sleep
May 4, 2012  

In a recent IEET poll, 50% of responders claimed that if they had the ability to function optimally without sleep, they would abandon repose altogether.

Additionally, 15.8% said that they would opt for slumbering only 1-2 hours per day, and 16.9% chose to be somnambulant a mere 3-4 hours.

A “lazy” 4% wanted sack-time of 5-6 hours nightly, and an additional 13.5% voted to “not change my sleep quantity.”

Does this poll indicate that IEET readers are extremely time-strapped, with myriad projects we wish to complete? Are we all insomniacs, seeking techno-relief? Is sleep viewed as an obstacle to progress, a Luddite hobby, not fit for serious transhumanists?

We’re not sure - please leave comments below.


I voted ““not change my sleep quantity” because I _like_ to sleep. When it comes to productivity, I can do more in one hour after sleeping well than I can do in 10 hours after sleeping poorly. I have no doubts that technology will permit doing without sleep someday, but why should I want to change something that I like.

I didn’t vote at all on this one, because I am entirely indifferent as to how much sleep I get. What I care about is how many waking hours I will continue to enjoy, and how much I enjoy them. If technology evolves in such a way that I can do this without sleep, then fine. If it evolves so I can sleep safely and easily whenever I want, without ageing irreversibly in the mean time, then also fine. If it evolves in such a way that both are possible then I’ll probably want to sleep from time to time, to fast-forward through boring or unpleasant circumstances, but setting an “X hours per day/night” rule seems completely pointless, unless it is to seek comfort in a familiar routine.

I would like to sleep all the time.

Why not?

@billmerit As the saying goes: they’ll be plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.

Or to put it another way: what you really like about sleep is the sweet feeling of dropping off after a long, tiring day, and the (all too rare and fleeting?) feeling of being well-rested afterwards. And perhaps the occasional sweet dream. The rest is just blackness: “death’s counterfeit”, as Shakespeare put it.


Sleeping isn’t like being dead.  I do my best work when I’m sleeping.  I am conscious when I’m sleeping most of the time.

Re “I do my best work when I’m sleeping: good point. If we want to get rid of sleep then we need to find an alternative way to do the subconscious processing we currently do when asleep.

Re: “I am conscious when I’m sleeping of the time”: isn’t this a contradiction in terms?


I think consciousness is variable.  You are conscious when you are dreaming, right?

Have you heard of ‘lucid dreaming’?

I suppose it depends on how you define “sleep”. I wouldn’t necessarily say you are asleep when you are dreaming lucidly, you are in a state that corresponds neither to the usual sleep modes nor to normal wakefulness (though daydreaming comes quite close).

Anyway you raise an important point: there are all sorts of fun mental states to explore, with, as you point out, varying states of consciousness. Still, a good night’s sleep is a largely unconscious (non-)experience.

PS mostly we are not conscious when we dream. We only remember the dreams on the boundary between sleep and wakefulness.

I’m not sure I want the level of brain rewriting it would take. Sleep is essentially the brain’s disk check and defrag cycle. However, it might be useful if we could do like dolphins and let half the brain sleep at a time.

“I’m not sure I want the level of brain rewriting it would take.”

Yep, I have similar reservations - about much of this technoprogressive stuff. On the other hand, I figure that the future is in any case going to be weird, so it might as well also be utopic. And let’s face it, I’d rather have my brain rewritten (somewhat - while preserving my memories and therefore my identity, of course, otherwise I really don’t care) than be dead. But that’s a slightly different subject.

What’s wrong with beind dead?

All my zombie friends are dead.

If sleep is a restorative factor for the human brain and body, that prospect seems to work for me. I sleep long hours and the sleep restores my capacity. In the same respect, I’ve slept short hours and felt restored upon waking. Since we are all of the human race but different in some respects our bodies seem to reside well with short or long sleeping lengths of time. In my youth I tried to go without sleep, but found it impossible. Sleep would overcome me because of a lack of motivation to stay awake long hours. So, perhaps motivation thoughts in the brain can lengthen awake hours. Sleep may be considred a human emotion, I think.

A lot of magical things happen during sleep. You visit other dimensions in the multiverse and gather information for your learning. You visit other versions of yourself functioning in other planes, and bring back valuable information for your evolution as a human being. Often, you check in with (what we call) “the dead.” All these things and many more take place during sleep. At least they do for me.

We need our brains to “go down” for a time regularly because we cannot perform these essential functions while conscious in the normal way.

Sleep is a biological requirement of a multidimensional human being ... at least at our current level of evolution.

@Ava Park

You wrote: ” All these things and many more take place during sleep. At least they do for me.”

But how do you know?

The same way I know what I had for breakfast .... I remember eating. I cannot say I remember everything that happens while I sleep, but I do remain aware of a lot. Sometimes more than I wish ....and am going to sleep now. I’ll be very busy .... (smile)—A

But saying that you have visited other dimensions in the universe is an extraordinary claim, and as they say, extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence.

If I point out that you may have _imagined_ visiting other dimensions then you may retort that I only imagined having breakfast this morning. And you might be right: for all we know, all our memories are hallucinations, and the external reality and past events to which they appear to correspond simply don’t exist. But we don’t really have any good reason to doubt that they do (do we?). Whereas by saying that you *really* visited other dimensions, rather than just having imagined it during your confused, sleepy state, is asking me to believe something that fundamentally contradicts my current worldview: not that such “other dimensions” don’t exist, but that we don’t access them just by going to sleep. If I really thought there was credible evidence that we can then I would be very curious and intrigued, excited even. And I AM curious…but also sceptical.

Perhaps the line between “I visit other dimensions in dreams” and “I dream of visiting other dimensions” is not as sharp as most people think, and both formulations can be valid.

This is just a very preliminary hunch, which I intend to elaborate further.

@Giulio I look forward to it. smile

I guess the point of my replies here is that I think we can do better than (i) believing such claims unquestioningly, (ii) getting upset about them (as some people do), and (iii) ignoring them altogether. So any insights you might have to help me to do this will be gratefully received!

I completely agree ... we must not believe anyone’s claims unquestioningly. We must speak from our own lived experience—even if that lived experience is having a series of hallucinations from inside a padded cell at Bedlam!

I completely agree ... getting “upset” (“to be turned over”) is pointless. We are only “upset” when our egos are challenged. You believing something different does not challenge my ego.  I’m happy for the diversity of life and opinion on earth.

I completely agree… ignoring claims altogether is living in denial and a closed mind. Which takes us nowhere.

I completely agree .... we do not access these other dimensions “just,” as you say, and the key word is “just,” by going to sleep. That would imply that every human, when in the sleep state, is automatically accessing these dimensions. I do not believe that is so. But one can learn to access them. One does not get to San Francisco from Los Angeles by simply going unconscious and letting “something” happen to you. You get to San Francisco from Los Angeles by having an intention to do so, by getting out the map, seeing what the route is, planning and packing, then taking the action of setting out with intention to arrive. It’s a fair amount of work. Same thing in this case. Doesn’t just “happen.”

There is also some possibility of danger in travel—from LA to San Francisco ....and from this dimension to any other. I do not recommend travel for every person as not everyone is equipped or ready to travel safely. Same thing in traveling to other dimensions. 

I do not agree: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That would only be true if I was hell-bent on convincing you. Which I am not. I offer a description of my lived experience .... which may or may not be similar to yours. I do not feel required to provide evidence .... how exhausting and time consuming! (I would of course do so if writing an article for publication.) In this case, in this gentle, loving, respectful, brief conversation, I simply share, smile, bow to you and allow you to have your own experience. If my different experience interests you, then you can follow up with your own research and studies.  And then share your own experience with me and/or the world. 

I have found that a good shamaness can be most useful in helping you plan and pack for travel. Like a dimensional travel agent! She can also go with you part of the way. The rest of the trip must be done alone ... at least in the beginning.

Perhaps I shall see you sometime in what we hilariously call the future in a dimension other than this one .... and we shall have a good laugh together!  Or not ... in which case, I remain in my padded cell with my very entertaining hallucinations. (laughing) Either way, I’m having a great time….

@Ava Park
Thanks for the lovely reply. Indeed, extraordinary evidence is only “required” if your intention is to convince someone who, for whatever reason, “requires” extraordinary evidence in order to be convinced. In the mean time I remain curious, and sceptical. smile

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