The defeat of sleep

BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast a documentary on the effects of the new generation of anti-sleep drugs on health and society.

Drugs, such as modafinil and adrafinil, seem to remove the need for sleep and promote alertness while having minimal side-effects in most users.

Unlike older drugs which prevent sleep, such as amphetamine, these drugs typically don’t feel pleasurable and have few other effects, meaning they are less likely to be used recreationally or lead to compulsive use.

Originally used to treat sleep disorders, there is now a large grey market for these compounds, as people use them to extend their work or play time.

The BBC documentary tackles the possible effects on society of being able to easily manipulate and delete the need for sleep at will, as well as investigating the possible mind and brain consequences of not sleeping for long periods.

Link to The Defeat of Sleep webpage with embedded audio.

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