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In my world, I have a very humanlike species that doesn't sleep. It's biologically impossible for these creatures to sleep, and for the sake of this question, assume that this species is exactly identical to modern humans except for the fact that they don't sleep. The members of the species do not enter any sort of state of sleep for any duration of time. However, this species does rest for short periods of time by staying stationary (but never enters a state of sleep while resting). By short periods of time, I mean resting about 4 hours each earth week.

Is this premise feasible? What changes in biochemistry, biology, or genetics would I have to make to make this more believable?

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    $\begingroup$ Faster regeneration during activity therefore higher consumes, like more food etc...Such person would be a living fire that burns and consumes until death. $\endgroup$ – άλεξ μιζέρια Jul 23 '16 at 9:04
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    $\begingroup$ To throw in a random thought: I heard dolphins rest one brain half when they don't need it. I don't know though if that could be applied in your situation. $\endgroup$ – J_F_B_M Jul 23 '16 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ Like @J_F_B_M said: do it dolphin style: sleep with one half of the brain at the time. It is the simplest way. Otherwise we would have to dive into the biology and — more importantly — psychology of sleep and that if a big can of worms of which not even science has seen the bottom yet. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Jul 23 '16 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ I really interested in knowing more about your world, about how the society is ? technological advancement ? if you don't mind sharing . $\endgroup$ – Chinu Jul 23 '16 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ @J_F_B_M I know a few people who seen to do that all the time $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Aug 10 '16 at 6:07
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These creatures are "very humanlike" - what does that mean? The two obvious choices are a) they look like people (more or less) and behave like people (more or less) but they are examples of an entirely unrelated biology, and are farther away from us genetically than a cabbage. Or b) they are the result of earth organisms from, let's say, 20 million years ago being transplanted to another world.

If a) then there is no problem. Nobody knows for sure why animals sleep, so whatever is going on when we do can presumably occur in your humanoids without needing sleep. Or their biology, particuarly their mental processes, simply don't need it. For instance, it's generally accepted that sleep allows long-term integration of memory, but there is no obvious reason it can't happen "on the fly" - it's just that the sleep mechanism happened first, or is biochemically/genetically "easier", and has been preserved.

If b), then things get much more complicated. Sleep is one of those processes that is pretty much ubiquitous in animals, so it's hard to imagine how a replacement process could have evolved and replaced it. After all, it hasn't happened on earth in the last 20 million years. And coming up with an explanation of how a process/structure could replace sleep is made much more difficult by the fact that, as I say, nobody has a really good idea of why sleep is so necessary in so many species.

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Sleep in humans appears to be when you move information from short term memory to long term memory. And here is a scientfic paper about sleep improving memory in adolescents. It also mentions in the introduction that disrupted sleep is common in adolescent psychiatric disorders.

Or as commenters suggested: perhaps your humanoids only sleep half their brain at a time like dolphins do? Scientific American article on dolphin sleep So they can still watch for danger or walk slowly without bumping into things, but they wouldn't be able to do more complicated stuff while half their brain is 'offline' such as playing tennis, having a conversation or doing a crossword puzzle.

If you build in extra redundancy to their brain (extra processing capacity), perhaps only a third or a quarter of their brain needs to go offline at a time. However, building and maintaining that bigger capacity brain is evolutionarily very expensive. Your humanoids will have to eat tons more food than a normal human to fuel their brain. You'd need to think of a terrific payoff to sleeplessness to justify why natural selection hasn't eliminated them.

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Meditation, or Mindfulness, this can be achieved through genetic mutation, by increase few brain chemicals for alerts and decreasing or eliminating flight or fight responses. This could happen through lack of predators, easy accessible resources, but some reason to be in present.

In our world when the practitioner attains certain level of mastery in meditation and mindfulness, their sleep acquires a character of meditation. It's not like they don't sleep at all, but they do retain certain level of deep awareness during their sleep.

Specifically, when they see a dream, they know it's a dream. They remain aware of their body lying down on the bed. They remain aware of the content of their consciousness no matter how disjointed it gets during a deep sleep. If something happens around them, they wake up easily to provide their help if needed.

Mediators also have been know to sleep less, more like 2hours a day. And here is a old BBC article about monks who sleep upright.

Something similar but more genetic/biochemistry in nature, so it happens to all members the species. Culturally it would more like spirit walk than a dream because they can if necessary return to real world. Due to it being genetic it would more prominent, it would be really interesting society.

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There are reports of humans who need much less sleep than is "normal". A Vietnam man, Thai Ngoc, and an American man, Al Herpin, have both been reported to suffer from a rare form of insomnia and have not slept for years (decades).

Both appear to be in otherwise good health.

So to answer your question: Yes, a humanoid race could be made up of such people and it would not be impossible.

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There are animals that do not sleep, at least in the traditional sense. They enter a period of torpor. Basically, these animals lower there metabolism and body temperature to conserve energy.

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