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A Future Where Sleep is a Thing of the Past!

May 31, 2013

If that sounds like science fiction to you think again, because it could soon be science fact! 

In an extended essay in Aeon magazine, Jesse Gamble has introduced us to a number of new sleep technologies that improve and could ultimately illuminate the need for sleep. 

The Sleep Mask

California-based Advanced Brain Monitoring is working with Americas Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA for short on a mask that concentrates sleep to (and we quote) "only the most restorative stages". In fact, the article goes on to further elaborate the military potential of such a mask by saying:

“With military personnel in mind, ABM has developed a mask called the Somneo Sleep Trainer that exploits one- or two-hour windows for strategic naps in mobile sleeping environments. Screening out ambient noise and visual distractions, the mask carries a heating element around the eyes, based on the finding that facial warming helps send people to sleep. It also carries a blue light that gradually brightens as your set alarm time approaches, suppressing the sleep hormone melatonin for a less groggy awakening.”

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation 

But that is not the only sleep enhancing technique currently being investigated in the US. There is also research being done into transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, that induces "slow-wave oscillations" in the brain. This TMS then pushes us humans into an earlier and much deeper sleep. The article explained this in the following way:

“Whereas the Somneo mask is designed to send its wearers into a light sleep faster, TMS devices might be able to launch us straight into deep sleep at the flip of a switch. Full control of our sleep cycles could maximise time spent in slow-wave sleep and REM, ensuring full physical and mental benefits while cutting sleep time in half. Your four hours of sleep could feel like someone else’s eight.”

Both of these sleep enhancing techniques can and are being perfected for military use, but as with most things created by or for the US army there are still a number of civilian applications that these sleep inducing techniques can be used for, including helping people who suffer from chronic insomnia. 

So could there be a future without sleep? Maybe not just yet, but the truth is there is a future with better sleep over shorter periods of time just of the horizon. All we as humans have to do is embrace the possibilities.

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