The Ole’ “If You Could Hibernate” Debate

If you could hibernate for 1 month each year and only need 4 hours of sleep for the rest of the year, would you? What would you do with the extra time each day?

I discussed this with some friends earlier this week when St. Louis started to get cold. The overall consensus–and my opinion too–is that I think I would do it, probably in February.

Logistically, it would be a bit tricky. I have a business to run, and I would be unavailable to do so for a full month. I would have to hire someone to run the core aspects of the business while I’m sleeping for 28 days. I’d miss out on seeing friends, and my nieces, nephew, and cats would always be a little bigger when I woke up, but that’s fine.

(Sidenote: Why don’t domesticated animals hibernate?)

The benefits seem immense. I currently need 7-8 hours of sleep a night to be functional the next day–imagine what I could do with an extra 3-4 hours each night for 11 months! I could design, read, write…I would add nearly 1,000 waking hours each year.

What do you think? Is the tradeoff worth it for you? Which month would you choose and what would you do with the extra time?

Also, sci-fi note: Are scientists working on the concept of human hibernation for deep-space travel (or other purposes)?

Read also: A Toast to Hibernation


5 Responses to “The Ole’ “If You Could Hibernate” Debate”

  1. dmvp says:

    I don’t think I’d do it. I’d imagine it’d really mess with your day/night cycle, and the “jet lag” might be brutal! I’d love to be able to function with only 4 hours of sleep each night, but I just can’t imagine missing a month of life. (I think domesticated animals don’t hibernate because there is no need. Food is in plentiful supply. Lack of food is the reason most animals hibernate. That, and survival during the cold for amphibians/reptiles, which when domestic isn’t necessary.)

    • If you can store sleep like that—presumably by tinkering with the switches controlling biorhythm gene expression—why not raise the ante to halt aging during hibernation. The necessary license to use the technology might require the would-be hibernator (WBH) to be 20 years old. And let’s suppose that spry young 20-year-old WBHs respect the wisdom and follow the advice of beloved grandparents who recommend that their grandchildren start the hibernation program early, hibernating two months a year instead of one. (Why else would such youngsters go for hibernation!) If they start at age 20, they will have been spared 10 years of aging by the time they have lived 80 years. (An extra decade in the 70s before the onrushing decrepitude of the 80s would be priceless!)

      Of course, if Human Nature has its way, the CRISPR Crew will unlink the aging stoppage from hibernation, and world population considerations and regulations notwithstanding, a market—or at least a black market—for this anti-aging technology will develop. And, from there, to reversing aging, which delivers us smack into age regression as depicted in existing science fiction. It’s closer than we realize.

      Look what you started!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s a good point about sleep cycles! I’m hoping my body would adjust quickly.

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