A third of our life is spent sleeping and it’s an important part of human development. Without a natural sleeping cycle, the body can’t adequately repair itself or prepare for another day. There are several stages to sleep deprivation and I don’t wish to recreate them. All I’m willing to do is explain what I’ve observed.
The first stage is the initial tired feeling; we’ll refer to this as the sleep alarm. The second stage is three hours after the sleep alarm and about an hour of energy. The third stage is seven hours after the sleep alarm and consists of general hallucinations like: gremlins scurrying in and out from cover, shadows dancing, sounds from nowhere, and small objects moving without interaction. Stage four comes twelve hours after the sleep alarm. This is a short period of delirium which is usually occupied with laughter because of an inability to control the senses. After stage four, there isn’t much hope of staying awake without drugs. Stage five is a six hour stretch of absolute mental exhaustion with a mild psychosis and narcoleptic behavior. It’s extremely hard to wait this out unless you find a way to stay active. Normal daily tasks and human interaction will seem difficult and may anger you. Stage six; well, I’m not going to discuss stage six because it’s just too damn dark. Trust me; it’s bad. If you can stay awake for a total time of forty-two hours, then you’ve probably succeeded in making it to stage seven. Congratulations, you’re now mentally handicapped! You should not operate machinery or perform any task that requires responsibility. You can be pulled over for DUI even after stage four.
I’ve never seen stage eight because all hope is lost when the mental retardation kicks in during stage seven. I hear a lot of things from different sources about stage eight. I heard that Darth Vader visits you with rice cakes. I heard that bathtubs turn on and drown kittens. I heard random kids climb through windows with carved pumpkins full of bread. There are all kinds of weird stories like these. Radios explode and your siblings start bleeding. Unloaded guns magically become loaded and shoot holes in mattresses. The car that must be yours because it’s in your parking space; changes make, year, and color. Bosses call to tell you you’re fired then laugh. I never could withstand the abuse of stage seven so I always retired by that time. I’m glad I never got to experience stage eight. I enjoy sleeping and tranquility too much.
While sleep is a required function for an able body, it’s rarely a boring event. I look forward to dreaming as much as I anticipate a new day. My mind keeps me well entertained as I suspend logic and make sense of the senseless. I dream in vivid detail with ample control. My imagination is very powerful and I can be quite empathetic. The dreams I have often reflect the wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings of the day. From time to time, I’ll finish a classic dream from childhood because I’m able to vanquish whatever obstacle confronting me. The curtain is let down and I can see weakness in what used to be unstoppable forces. Intrigue now replaces the fear I would feel as a child.
I’ve often thought if I was given a choice to either never have to consume to stay healthy or never have to sleep to stay sane and rest, which would I choose. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and I can say that I’d choose to never have to consume. I enjoy dreams, and I like the feeling of falling to sleep. While productivity would increase dramatically without sleep cycles, there is just way too much to gain from not consuming. I may write more on the sleep or consume debate later. But for now, this issue is settled.
-Jeremy Edward Dion