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The Dreamer (a.k.a. The Sleepy Psychic by his teammates and enemies alike) has telepathic powers. The problem is that, while extremely useful, he can only use them whilst sleeping. My question is, how does he fall asleep and stay asleep during battle?

Notes:

  • He specifically needs to enter and stay in a state of Lucid dreaming to use his powers.
  • His powers are weaker the farther he is from the target, so sleeping at home is a no go (he'd basically have no affect).
  • Neither he nor his team mates has required secondary powers (other than that he is pretty good at lucid dreaming once he starts dreaming, but that's more of a skill than a power) that would help directly (although you are fine to propose powers for his team mates that might help in creative ways).
  • His enemies know about this weakness, so they will try to wake him up.
  • Since his team usually just have to wait until the bad guys attack, there is not much prep time. He wants to start using his powers as soon as possible. Luckily attacks usually only happen once a month.
  • He does not want to his health to be adversely affected too much.

What should the Sleepy Psychic, ahem, I mean the Dreamer do to get snoozing so he can get telepathing?

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    $\begingroup$ He carries his smartphone to battle, with the movie The tree of life in it. Good luck waking him up from that coma. $\endgroup$ – xDaizu Jun 28 '17 at 8:38
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    $\begingroup$ First, i think "Sleepy Psychic" would be a better name for a telepath. $\endgroup$ – ths Jun 28 '17 at 12:09
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    $\begingroup$ /"Sleepy Psychic" would be a better name for a telepath./ Especially since a physic is another name for an enema. Unless that aspect is involved in the story? Maybe the Sleepy Physic is how he gets himself to sleep! I think this will stay in the comments, though: my off color answers have not always been well received. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jun 28 '17 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ "Thats my secret, Captain. I'm always knackered" $\endgroup$ – Obsidian Phoenix Jun 28 '17 at 13:00
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    $\begingroup$ Sheer mental and physical exhaustion helps in training yourself to sleep, and it can be trained. A lot of people associate this with soldiers or athletes, but it could be associated with a "frantic scientist" trope, aka "so much to do and not enough time." Through practice, one can train themselves to fall asleep at any time, even sitting in a stool and not leaning against anything. $\endgroup$ – JFA Jun 28 '17 at 19:05

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Since that concept sounds like something more on the comedic than on the serious side, make your hero narcoleptic.

Narcolepsy can be triggered through high emotions, so maybe he's actually scared of fighting (or simply excited).

So once he's in a sitation where he needs to fight, he'll automatically fall asleep due to his affliction. Of course the same thing is true outside of a fight.

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    $\begingroup$ I was going to say, "the hero has seizures in tense moments", but narcolepsy is even more elegant -- and sufficiently similar.. $\endgroup$ – Rick Moritz Jun 28 '17 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ Or even just fainting spells. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jun 29 '17 at 2:49
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    $\begingroup$ I wish I could give this answer more than one plus. This should be your answer. Narcolepsy can hit instantly, the moment the action starts. Look up videos of fainting goats. A sedative could take time to affect our hero, or last way longer than the battle. His sidekick wouldn't be able to rouse him, etc. $\endgroup$ – IchabodE Jun 29 '17 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ Agree, narcolepsy is a brilliant way to go. A bonus for your hero: you can actually hold a convo with a sleeping narcoleptic, ask him what he's dreaming about and so forth. Very handy for your superhero and team! Some of them, of course, will have to guard him whilst he's sleeping -- I mean, whilst he's engaged in his struggles against the enemy! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Dec 6 '17 at 13:58
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A sedative should work - especially one that's quick acting. Sedatives are used to send people to sleep on demand quite reliably, and are quite robust so people don't wake easily (one reason they're used for surgery)

Some sedatives might suppress dreams, but others may not - or may encourage vivid dreams. Your superhero may need to experiment to find something suitable.

Some herbs are supposed to be good for lucid dreaming, like Valerian, though they're usually mild enough to not be useful in battlefield conditions - but pairing something like that with a chemical sedative may help encourage lucid dreaming.

Your superhero should be able to come up with a personalized mix that will sedate himself, allow/encourage lucid dreaming, and is consistent and/or flexible enough to adjust for needed effect or expected duration.

Alternatively, meditation may help. Advanced meditation is supposed to give the conscious mind a great deal of control over the body - even parts that are usually unconscious.

It may be possible to gain enough control to enable one to sleep (and stay asleep) even in a battlefield. Or it might be possible to slip into lucid dreaming without sleeping first, maybe in waking dreams, or from a deep trance. Or maybe just help encourage lucid dreaming under sedation. Seems like it would help.

Or another possibility is to use hypnosis to set up a reliable sleep-scenario. Given this is for a superhero, self-hypnosis may be wiser than going to a hypnotist - either that or getting a teammate with experience/complementary-to-hypnosis-powers/willingness to learn, but in any case a great deal of trust is needed.

A post-hypnotic suggestion to sleep at a certain trigger, and to not wake until another trigger (or a set of them, depending on circumstances, fail-safes for if unexpected circumstances pop up), or even certain triggers only as originated from certain people (to prevent the opposition from finding a trigger) will likely work as required.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry about the links, I'll fix them when I'm on my computer... my phone is being tricky $\endgroup$ – Megha Jun 28 '17 at 4:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Vylix How fast do you think chloroform works? Because in reality it takes waaay longer than any movie has ever showed it. From wikipedia "It takes at least five minutes of inhaling an item soaked in chloroform to render a person unconscious." I'm guessing there are intravenously delivered sedatives that work faster than that. $\endgroup$ – Shufflepants Jun 28 '17 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Vylix I've been put to sleep for an operation on my arm before, it took less than a minute of wearing a mask filled with gaz and I woke up 12 hours later and I think it would have been pretty hard to wake me up since they straightened my broken arm and I didn't budge. I don't know what they use but it can certainly act fast. $\endgroup$ – AboveFire Jun 28 '17 at 14:38
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    $\begingroup$ After a little research, you may find interesting to search for general anaethesic which are used in operations to put patients to sleep. Sevoflurane is the fastest inhaling agent, but something given by injection like Ketamine which is used as field anaesthesia where operation must be conducted on scene can be looked into. $\endgroup$ – AboveFire Jun 28 '17 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ A minor tweak which might cover the "staying safe" and some other issues - Have a trained professional administer the sedative/anesthesia. He can monitor Dreamer's sleep (you want REM sleep, not a coma...). Ensure there's no OD, and assist in waking him up in a hurry if needed. Now, as you also need to transport the equipment and substances for anesthesia and monitoring, it makes sense to have some kind of a vehicle (anything between an old van, through a typical ambulance and up to a customized "Dreammobile"...). This will also allow for mobility while using his powers (e.g. chase scenes) $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Jun 28 '17 at 15:50
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There's an old-ish joke I've seen retold on many social media sites that goes something like this:

Want to be able to fall asleep anytime, anywhere, like a well-trained Marine? No problem. Get up at 4am, put on boots and long sleeves, and get your butt outside in less than 10 minutes. Now run 10 miles uphill over a variety of surfaces while shouting. Next eat as much high-calorie food as you can as fast as you can, before running to the airfield... etc.., etc. Sit down at 10pm and the most hardcore insomniac will go out like a light. Keep that up for a few months, and you'll fall asleep anytime, anywhere that you want to.

Now, that's largely a joke (and an abbreviated one at that), but there is a grain of truth to it. Militaries do indeed put effort into figuring out how to get the soldiers the best sleep possible. Here're a couple of articles on the subject:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tricks-from-the-military-to-fall-asleep-quickly_us_56c3e4cee4b08ffac1270502

https://medium.com/@MantaSleep/military-approved-tactics-on-how-to-fall-asleep-instantly-b5b93ce95b70

The short version? Exercise regularly, and generally try to stay physically active when not sleeping to use your powers. Get comfortable being in uncomfortable places (comes with practice), or else have a standard mobile bed that you are accustomed to falling asleep in. Use a sleep mask, and maybe earplugs. Keeping to a strict daily schedule, including a sleep schedule, isn't gonna meet this guy's needs, but he can still maintain a rigid routine prior to sleep so that his mind and body are expecting to fall asleep (the standard familiar bed would help with that).

If it were me, I'd include taking a dose of melatonin in part of the lead-up routine. That would ideally be about half an hour long (giving time for the hormone to hit your brain and take effect), but if that's too, he could just do a lot of practice with a quicker bed-time routine, and the melatonin still won't hurt; at the very least, you'll get a placebo effect out of it. Melatonin is safe in sufficiently high quantities that its LD-50 (dose at which it is lethal to 50% of the population) is unknown, even in rat studies, so it's not going to adversely affect his health. The only known side effects of overdose are lingering drowsiness.

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    $\begingroup$ Turkey Man has high levels of tryptophan, causing boosted generation of melatonin (and serotonin as a happy side effect). $\endgroup$ – David Starkey Jun 28 '17 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ Actually that’s a myth. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 29 '17 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz Are you saying superheroes aren't real?!? My reality has been shattered... ;) $\endgroup$ – Ghotir Jun 29 '17 at 15:30
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Assuming the hero has access to medicines or infusions (a technology level is not specified), I would suggest a sedative. If modern medicines are available, there are fast-acting sedatives in existence that are reasonably safe to use. http://www.nosleeplessnights.com/best-over-the-counter-sleep-aids/

If more archaic medicines are all that are available to the hero, then there are still some infusions with sedative properties. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/valerian/faq-20057875

Given that this is a world with magic, perhaps the hero simply visits a potion maker on occasion and keeps a stock of magical sleep potions handy.

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Question: If he is asleep, how do he protect himself?
For ease of writing, I will call the sleeping psychic Jack
If he have to spend his energy making sure the bad guys don't get too close to his sleeping body, a good teamup would be to have a super-strengh guy around, who will carry him while he is sleeping and using his power.
For ease of writing, I will call our super strengh guy John Depending on how John carry Jack exactly (by hand, in a specially built "backpack"...), John can be only a carrier or a full on superhero with the additional role of carrying Jack.

As of the sleeping itself, sedative act quickly and efficiently.
I don't think you will find quicker than that unless someone have a "put to sleep" power. It will also prevent him from being woke up if moved a bit forcefully, or even when getting hurt.
With the team up with John, the sedative gas canister problem is also resolved, and you find yourself with a duo of hero.

John, being a super strengh fighter, is in the melee, where Jack, safely protected, can use the full extend of his power easily.

Another good point is that it make a direct relation between Jack and John, and you can play with it, and add tension.

EDIT:

A second idea I had, if you want to prevent the use of sedative, is to have the psychic already sleeping before arriving. For example, he goes to sleep before going on patrol, in a sound-proof "cocoon" carried by John. That way he can go to sleep when everything is (still) calm, in case of urgency, the cocoon can help him relax and go to sleep anyway, and it make another layer of protection.

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You say:

Aalthough you are fine to propose powers for his team mates that might help in creative ways

The most obvious power to help someone who needs to sleep is the power to induce sleep in other people (see sleep manipulation). Perhaps one of his team mates is called the Sandman?

Maybe one team mate has the power of generating a calming aura (see peace aura)? She can create this calming aura in a small area so that the Dreamer has an easier time falling asleep. However, if the aura is too peaceful, the Dreamer might not want to partake in the battle anymore.

Or one of his team mates can have the power to create protective bubbles, some sort of magic spherical shield that also blocks out sounds. You can drag a bed into the battlefield, put the Dreamer on the bed, and then summon the protective bubble around him and the bed. Now the Dreamer just needs to relax and fall asleep and doesn't need to worry about being awaken or even harmed by enemies.

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    $\begingroup$ "The most obvious power to help someone who needs to sleep is the power to induce sleep in other people" I wouldn't want a power to directly solve the problem. The other two ideas are fine. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jun 28 '17 at 9:01
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If the enemies are not an AoE (Area of Effect) superheroes, like exploding things randomly, then have a friend that can turn you invisible before the fight, and hide you somewhere in the battlefield (Flash movement is beneficial here, or teleporting).

As how to get sleep quickly, ask your friend to knock you out. It might be painful, but works quicker than consuming sedative. Or chloroform.

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    $\begingroup$ I think being knocked out would have some long term health consequences. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jun 28 '17 at 9:40
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    $\begingroup$ Knocked out people usually either wake up rather quickly or suffer at least some long-term damage. (But you can ignore that fact, like lot of fiction does.) $\endgroup$ – user31389 Jun 28 '17 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ knocking out works just fine e.g. in a lot of cartoons and for mr. spock. But it's your world and your decision ;-) $\endgroup$ – Henning M. Jun 29 '17 at 15:40
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Sleep deprivation. If the hero has not slept for days, he will be quite ready to collapse into a heap whenever necessary.

Additional justification for this could be that he minimizes his out-of-battle sleep time in order to avoid accidentally using his powers.

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If you take a moment to do some deductive thinking, it's pretty simple.

First, we'd determine what's keeping the hero awake in the battle as opposed to his super dope bedroom. What's the one thing that's different?

Noise!

So he would have to cancel out the noise, isolate himself and do some visualization & imagine he's back in his bedroom sleep-inducing pod or whatever he has.

So, the answer is simple for me - he'd have to get himself a good set of noise-cancelling headphones and drown into Enya tunes in the midst of battle.

That's it - the hero falls asleep in battle but not being in the battle...some Yoda-style deduction right here, huh? :)

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Dec 6 '17 at 9:04
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One of his sidekicks can be a hypnotist like the guy from Now You See Me. The hypnotist can do some kind of 1-2-3-snap kind of thing to put him to sleep. Plus a hypnotist and a dreamer would make an awesome combo.

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Sedative gas mask + this suit.

Maybe add a SP logo on the chest and boom movie incoming.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ What's special about this suit? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 29 '17 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ You can lay and sleep anywhere $\endgroup$ – Dan Wears Prada Jun 29 '17 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ What, the air mattress is attached to the clothes? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 29 '17 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ "Guys, you where supposed to put "Dreamer" on the suit, not Sleepy Psychic" $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Dec 6 '17 at 19:20
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A sleeping capsule, perhaps with some kind of vehicle to carry it.

Essentially, carry your superhero into battle like you might carry a missile or power generator, inside this capsule. Then, while the battle rages around them, they can fall asleep in the capsule and activate their powers, with little to wake them up.

This technique would work best in large scale battles, as the capsule could easily be loaded into something like a tank. For smaller scale battles, a sidekick could use an Ironman-like suit to carry the hero on their back. It obviously helps if the hero is physically smaller (perhaps having dwarfism, or being a child).

This technique also lends itself to a different kind of story, told from the perspective of the hero's enemies (perhaps because the Dreamer is actually a villain, or is being held against his will). Readers spend the story in suspense about what the mysterious capsule object is that is ravaging the minds of their finest warriors, and then find out that it's some dude sleeping in a box.

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One of the plots of the Naruto series involved a character who had a beast within him. He summoned this beast to destroy Naruto's village but, in order to let the beast do his thing, he had to be unconscious. So he used a sleep technique (using chakra, an innate energy in that world) to put himself to sleep. He is subsequently defeated after Naruto punches him to wake him up.

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A meditation chamber that he could bring with him or have a technology that could teleport it to the battlefield. Dreamer gets in and activates it, causing instant, uninterrupted sleep. The exterior of the chamber can either be protected by force field or could phase out and disappear. Also, a cool name for him would be R.E.M. -or- LUCID.

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  1. A partner. Preferably a superhero with the power to put people to sleep. Using a "brick" hero who just coldcocks Dreamer would work too, but I don't think Dreamer would like that solution as much.
  2. Pharmaceuticals. Chug Nyquil and sit down, or perhaps use something prescription so it will be faster and more controlled.
  3. Training. I believe there are eastern meditation techniques that would be useful here.*
  4. Hypnosis. One of the traditional uses of hypnosis has always been to facilitate sleep.

Failing that, he could probably use my college Chemistry textbook. I could never get through more than 3 sentences before nodding off. The Nyquil would be much less weight to lug into battle though.

* - Probably not real-world scientifically effective as the other methods, but for comics we don't let pesky things like scientifically-unproven results get in the way of a good mysticism-based plot device.

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It's misdirection, the "Dreamer/Sleepy Psychic" lets people (friends and enemies) think he needs to sleep to use his powers (and initially maybe he did need to be asleep).

However these days he just needs to be in a deep meditative state, which he has practiced and is can get into in most situations, however the time to achieve this state is lengthened by the amount and severity of immediate distractions.

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If he has a separate citizen identity, I would make him addicted to opioids or prescription strength sedatives. (I think even LSD would work because I've read that it puts you in a state similar to lucid dreaming?) A less drugged-out approach would be melatonin tablets.

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  • $\begingroup$ Melatonin? As in, the stuff that makes black people black? $\endgroup$ – I wrestled a bear once. Jun 30 '17 at 22:10
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    $\begingroup$ No. Melatonin is a chemical in the brain that promotes deep and restful sleep $\endgroup$ – cMcNerlin Jun 30 '17 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ I just googled it. I was thinking of melanin. $\endgroup$ – I wrestled a bear once. Jun 30 '17 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ That's an understandable mistake $\endgroup$ – cMcNerlin Jun 30 '17 at 22:13

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