An average human (if such a thing exists) typically spends approximately a third of its life sleeping. This seems like a massive inefficiency. If humans did not waste so much time sleeping, just think about how much more they could accomplish in a day! A human that sleeps for 8 hours a day could potentially increase its productivity by 50% simply by not sleeping. Right?

OK, maybe not. Empirical evidence has shown sleep to be essential to human functionality. Indeed, many (though apparently not all) humans cease to function effectively after sleep deprivation on the order of days. Though they have learned to use chemical stimulants such as caffeine to help them stay conscious for longer periods of time, they inevitably fall victim to sleep. This seeming need to waste years of each individual’s life on totally unproductive sleep is not yet understood by this researcher, so it shall be an area for further study.

That was my attempt at imitating biologists and sociologists. Which one did I actually imitate? I believe that biologists and sociologists are more or less isomorphic, so it doesn’t matter.

And now, after that little bit of excitement, we’ll abandon the world of biology and sociology and return to the standard mindnumbingly dull content that we all know and love.

I haven’t been sleeping enough recently. That’s unfortunate. It’s not because I have too much work — as work expands to fill all available time, I could sleep more and the same quantity of work would still be done. Instead, I’ve decided that sleeping for more than eight hours in a night is a waste of time. In fact, even sleeping for eight hours is a waste of time, as the biologist/sociologist said above; however, I’ve demonstrated that I cannot function without sleep.

So I don’t consider sleeping until eight hours before my alarm. Then, I remember other things on my to do list and deal with a bunch of emails, and then I regret staying up so late. It’s a failure of rationality and intelligently designed planning. Any suggestions?

Maybe sleeping isn’t such a waste after all. But the thought of spending 20 years (in the unlikely circumstance that I live as long as expected value predicts) of my finite life sleeping instead of doing math just seems ridiculous and depressing. Am I insane?

As we all know, I probably am insane. So life will go on as normal… that is, until life comes to an end.


One response to “Sleep

  1. Elliott December 20, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Saying “sleep is a waste of time” might be like saying “taxes are a waste of money”. Sure, it would be nice to live in a universe where sleeping (and paying taxes) is unnecessary, but since we don’t live in such a universe, it’s probably counterproductive to be depressed about it.

    Besides, instead of spending your time being depressed, you can spend that time doing math :)

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