Re: Alteration of sleep patterns.

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 03:23:13 MDT writes:

> As I understand it, melatonin is responsible for the reset of
> the biological clock and is released during the night. I've
> frequently been told that when you are forced to operate on night
> hours, the best way to ward off sleepiness is to work in a low or no
> light environment, as this triggers the release of melatonin. Is this
> generally true and are there safer and more useful ways to sustain
> well-being during these conditions?

I would rather say you should do the opposite. Light inhibits the
release of melatonin, which is (among other things) why we feel more
alert and happy in bright sunlight and why people often have trouble
falling alseep in lit rooms. Conversely, if you work in the dark you
have a higher chance of becoming sleepy.

> As far as I can tell, the general symptoms of this behavior
> are depression, fatigue, and anxiety. I'm interested as to if anyone
> has any knowledge of the long term effect of this behavior on one's
> general health and longevity, as well as ways to counter any possible
> effects.

Sounds likely. You essentially get a form of jet-lag as your
biological rhythms do not fit with your activity patterns. Try working
in brightly lit areas during the night, and sleep in carefully
darkened rooms during the day. Possibly melatonin supplements could be
used to really fix the schedule.

> Further, are there any technologies in development that are
> feasible tools to reduce the general amount of sleep required by an
> individual?

Not as far as I know, although there are likely some gains to be made
from learning to sleep more efficiently (however that is done :-). The
memory consolidation that appears to go on during sleep is likely
tricky to speed up, but if I find a way I'm sure you will notice. :-)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:48 MDT