From Pacific Standard comes the news that insomnia cookies -- aka, a wonder drug called Modafinil, is available that will make sleep all but unnecessary. An hour or two a night will be plenty, it is said. No problems.
The past week has seen a flurry ofattention around the latest purported wonder drug, Modafinil, which claims to make sleeping basically optional, with no ill effects. Just pop one, and two hours of sleep is plenty—with no headaches, “sleep debt,” hangover feeling, withdrawal, post-dopamine crash (as with that other common sleep-avoidance drug, speed) and little addiction risk.
On the other hand, a simple googling for side effects brings the fact that it's first compared to amphetamine, and this cheerful list.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of modafinil are headache,upper respiratory tract infection, nausea, nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. Modafinil also may cause serious skin reactions, multiple organ hypersensitivity reactions, high blood pressure, fainting, psychosis, thoughts of suicide, and abnormal heart beats.
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Color me skeptical, more along the lines of Chloie Aridjis, from the on-line journal of Granta, who has had insomnia in her earliest memories, and wonders in Berlin if she ever will really sleep well.
Whenever I seek assurance that my insomnia is not something that arrived with adulthood or even with adolescence, but rather much earlier in life, I return to a poem my father once dedicated to me: ‘El insomnio empieza en la cuna’ (‘Insomnia Begins in the Cradle’). My sleepless nights began long before I knew the ailment had a name. My parents would look into my darkened room and see me standing in my crib, gripping the bars and peering over the rim, waiting for something or someone to come and save me from the desolation. Decades later, I experience that same old resistance to laying the day down to rest.
Insomnia: Who in their right mind would want more of that?