Sleep Is Now An Option

For soldiers, the answer is yes. In another study, published in 2000, U.S. Army helicopter pilots stayed awake for 40 hours while being called upon periodically to perform maneuvers on a flight simulator. Unmedicated, the aviators became sloppy and made errors in the early morning hours. But while taking Provigil during a second 40-hour marathon, their skills and focus never wavered. Army psychologist John Caldwell, who conducted the latter study, says more research is needed to determine whether dosing soldiers with Provigil is a safe and effective way to promote alertness. However, he says, it’s possible that one day the drug could be used “as an emergency measure to briefly overcome fatigue in ‘must-do’ missions where total sleep deprivation is unavoidable.”

So…want some? Or maybe you’d prefer a drug to erase your fears and phobias…

13 thoughts on “Sleep Is Now An Option”

  1. Is this really a good thing? I’m not convinced of having “apparently no side-effects”.

    I know the existing drugs make soldiers/pilots more jumpy, resulting in a lot of friendly-fire incidents. I just can’t believe such a thing would have no side effects.

  2. When we had to stay awake studying, we used the “snowy-buds-o-coffee” trick. That’s where you take the inside of an oreo cookie and roll it in coffee grinds. Mmmmmm.

  3. “Men’s Journal” rates “The Terminator” as a “Guy Movie”?! I hate to break it to those guys, but I see it as a Chick Flick that just happens to have explosions in it. After all, the heroine finds her One True Love, a Love that is her Destiny! A Love that Transcends Time!

    They cite “Violence trumps sex” as one of their criteria, but the fact is, I remember the love scene pretty clearly (ooh la la!), and I have no memory whatsoever of the dance club massacre.
    “A movie only a guy can love. … your wife or girlfriend should run screaming from the room” – no, no, no. We’ll be sitting right there with you for this one (fantasizing about being on the run with Michael Biehn).

  4. Luckily, doctors have been able to prescribe this stuff for conditions other than narcolepsy since it was initially approved. My work sometimes requires me to keep a pretty erratic sleep schedule, so I’ve been taking Provigil an average of about once a week for the last year and a half or so. It’s wonderful stuff.

    On one level I am aware that I haven’t gotten enough sleep, but when my mind would ordinarily start getting foggy and my eyes would start drooping, the tired feeling remains very far in the background, something I can note and then ignore. There is none of the giddy, twitchy, jumpy feeling I used to get when I drank caffeinated beverages. And in fact, I’ve more or less completely stopped drinking them — caffeine’s side effects become much more noticeable when you have something better to compare it with.

    Where caffeine prevents you from going to sleep, Provigil stops you from *wanting* to go to sleep. Big difference in my book.

    I have never tried using it to completely skip a night’s sleep, so I’m not sure what that would feel like. But I can easily see this stuff being included in half the junk food on the market a few years from now, just like caffeine is today. Unless there’s some hidden damage being done to my internal organs, Provigil feels less harmful than caffeine, and it works a lot better too.

  5. Thanks for the insight. Two questions: Do you note a change in your dreams? Also, does Provigil have to “wear off” before you can go to sleep, or could you just go to sleep if you wanted to even while it was active in your system? If the latter, do you have to “concentrate” or do anything different than you wouild regularly do mentally to drift off to sleep?

  6. …that you can enjoy explosions while nurturing your fem side, Sweetwind! Of course, Cameron is the guy to provide movies with both – he consistently has the strongest women in his movies since Howard Hawks. And TV shows, too, I was a big fan of his Venus that sprung from the secret labs of Gillete Wyoming in Dark Angel. I also like Michael Biehn (tho doubtless not QUITE in the same way!) and have always felt he coulda/shoulda had as big a career as his contemporary Harrison Ford. Guess being Cameron’s fair-haired boy isn’t quite as big a deal as being Lucas’ and Spielberg’s. THo I DO wish Biehn and gotten a chance to get a little closer to Sigorney in Alien 3 before being inevitably eaten…

  7. The explanation for sleep which makes the most sense to me was pointed out just a few years ago: The bloodstream simply can’t deliver as much energy as a brain needs.

    All animals sleep, despite the huge evolutionary advantage if one did not have to sleep.  This suggests something ancient in the biology of the brain requires sleep.  Even fruit flies need sleep.

    The researcher who pointed this out thinks it’s simply the basic chemicals needed by neurons which cause the problem.  The bloodstream can’t deliver enough glucose and nutrients to meet the demands of an operational brain.  Apparently it can to other neurons, but not to a brain.

    So sleep is simply a time when the brain is slowed down and operation altered so neurons and glial cells can be recharged.

    This explains a lot about sleep deprivation.  Visual hallucinations, starting with the "bug flickers" in peripheral vision as the motion-sensing systems malfunction.  Altered thinking and states of consciousness.  And death if the autonomic systems malfunction.

    In humans, 48 hours can often be achieved by prepared individuals.  So I’m not surprised at easy enhancement of the quality of 40 hours in young military men in good condition.

    Although it is interesting that Japan’s oldest woman recently died, and she was known for her habit of staying awake for 2 days and then sleeping for 2 days.

  8. I’ve suffered from insomnia since childhood, so this may not be a typical experience. I find that it’s not any harder to get to sleep at night when I’ve taken a Provigil in the morning, which I always do immediately after getting up on days when my schedule is shifted. However, I do tend to wake up in the middle of the night more often. As a result I find that I remember a few more of my dreams than usual the next morning, but I wouldn’t say they’re really any different than my normal dreams.

    I’ve never had the effects last more than a day — if I take a pill Monday morning, my sleep Tuesday night is normal.

    Because of my insomnia, I should note that “normal” for me is “a lot harder than usual” for most people — unless I’m completely exhausted, it always takes me between 45 minutes and 2 hours of lying in bed to get to sleep. So if Provigil is actually causing me to take 20 minutes longer, I’m not sure I’d notice. (And yes, I’ve tried melatonin and seen a doctor; haven’t found anything that doesn’t leave me feeling awful the next morning.)

  9. It looks like they listed all 50 movies, there is a set of links at the bottom of the first page to get to the rest it looks like:

    Best Guy Movies: 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50

  10. Just a quick comment. My husband has bipolar disorder and was prescribed Provigil to counteract the drwsy effects of the lithium. After two months on Provigil, I had an al out junkie for the stuff and for the first time in 20 years got to witness a full blown episode of mania. It was terrifying. May I add that after his Provigil was taken away…and no he was not taking it other than as prescribed, he screamed, yelled and fought to get it back. He didn’t but now we have a major stimulant problem as he has replaced it with caffeine, sugar and ephidrine. He’s put on 30 pounds in two months and is on the brink of rapid cycling EVERDAY! AWESOME product… at times he didn’t sleep for days. THIS PRODUCT HAS ADDICTIVE PROPERTIES AND SHOULD BE MORE CAREFULLY CONSIDERED BEFORE PRESCRIBING IT TO SOMEONE WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER!

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