Live More Now or Live Longer Later?

I had this debate the other day, and I want your thoughts.

If you could take a pill that would let you get the equivalent of 8 hours of sleep a night even though you actually sleep only 4 hours, but each pill would reduce the overall length of your life by 4 hours, would you take the pill on occasion?

The pros: You’re alive now–why not enjoy more of every day now? Sure, you might live to a ripe old age, but you could also get hit by a Mini Cooper tomorrow and die early. Plus, you’re young. You can do things now that you won’t be able to do when you’re 70. So why not enjoy extended youthful days? Surely your old self won’t begrudge you. And it’s not like you have to take the pill every day. You can take it whenever you want.

The cons: You like sleep–why would you try to reduce it? Plus, who knows what the pill is doing to your body? After all, it’s literally cutting chunks off your life. It’s not like cigarettes, which just increase the probability of early death. By taking the pill, you are guaranteeing that you will die early. I certainly think it’s an interesting concept, one that probably isn’t beyond science.

Sleep fascinates me. We spend nearly a third of our lives just laying in bed not doing anything–think about that! Think about how much time that is–if you live until you’re 90, you’ll spend nearly 30 years of your life asleep. Seems like an awful waste of time. And yet without sleep, we can’t operate properly. We need it. But that’s not to say that we couldn’t truncate it with a sleep pill. Would you take it?

8 thoughts on “Live More Now or Live Longer Later?”

  1. I would pull a sleeping beauty (go to sleep for as long as is necessary until my equivalent of Prince Phillip came along and kisses me) with no hesitation. However, I would not trade hours at the end of my life for more awake time now because decompression time is an important part of appreciating excitement. If you are up or ‘on’ constantly, it becomes ordinary. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be a rockn’ 90 year old. And I don’t want to detract from that at all.

  2. I would never ever give up my sleep. I love to dream, even though I don’t dream much and makes me feel like I didn’t sleep at all. What would happen to crazy inspiring arts and writings without sleep? There would be no Dali and his melting clocks without sleep.

    • Well, you wouldn’t feel like you were giving up sleep. You’d sleep just as deeply and feel just as rested in 4 hours than you’d usually feel after 8 hours of sleep.

  3. Man, I try to be practical and efficient as a given. But I usually do it so I can get more R&R. You’re always talking about saving time, so you can do more work-type stuff!

    I figure you have as much (if not more) of a chance of getting hit by that mini cooper in the extra few hours you’re buying now as you would tomorrow when yuo’re out. I don’t think that chance decreases just because this is extra time you didn’t have before.

    I said occasionally, because I see it like a 5 hour energy with an according debit to the account at the end of life. There are some TIMES that I’m tired, or need to get something specific done where I need energy now. But big picture, you don’t know when you will be needed by others/ So you could be robbing the world of the experience of having you for something important later.

  4. I’d definitely take this pill. If we live until we’re 90, but 30 years of that is asleep, then isn’t that a bit like we only lived until we were 60? This pill actually elongates lifespan via waking hours.

    Besides, we’re all going to run out of money in the end anyway. I’d rather see the world now.


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