Life's too short to be spent sleeping

My friends are pretty well aware of my insomniac tendencies. If I comment that I was up until 3am, the usual reaction is, “Well that’s nothing new.” On the other hand, if I mention that I was asleep before midnight, the initial surprise quickly gives way to inquiries into whether I’m well. This cycle has become so routine for me that back in the spring, the only time I got sick was after a week of getting eight hours sleep every night.
It’s not so much a matter of not being able to sleep – once my head touches the pillow, I’m generally unconscious in a matter of minutes. It’s just that I don’t want to sleep. I definitely enjoy sleeping, don’t get me wrong, but time spent sleeping is time I can’t spend on other activities – writing, drawing, programming, watching movies, and so on.
The challenge is that we live in a world with a 24-hour day and our bodies are adapted to this environment. On average, most people are awake for approximately 16 hours per day and sleep eight. Put another way, that’s 1/3 of your life spent sleeping – who has time for that?! (I’ve long been a proponent of making the day longer. That way I could do more of the fun things and still get seven or eight hours of sleep!)

Better sleeping through Chemistry!

It seems that science has solved the problem for me, or at the very least, improved the situation. Wired recently ran an article about a new class of medications which seem to reduce the amount of sleep the body needs.
One of the subjects interviewed for the article takes a medication which he reports gives him the ability to go for extended periods of time sleeping just four or five hours a night, but waking up every morning feeling as though he’d slept eight. I’m also able to go for prolonged periods with just a few hours sleep every night, but by the third or fourth day I’m starting to have a lot of trouble getting up in the morning and on Saturday, I make up for it by sleeping past noon. (Fortunately, Wylie also likes to sleep late on the weekend.)
I’m a bit skeptical of the claims that these medicines have no long-term side effects (the brain is a very delicate instrument after all), but just imagine the possibilities! No more turning off a really good movie because you have to go to work in the morning. No more falling asleep in the mashed potatoes at dinner because you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. No more having to wait until the next day to finish reading that really good book.
(This was, of course, posted shortly after midnight.)