I may never sleep again

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From Reuters:
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A drug dubbed CX717, made by Cortex Pharmaceuticals, Irvine, California, reverses the biological and behavioral effects of sleep deprivation, according to results of animal studies.

In an article in the research journal PLoS Biology, Dr. Sam A. Deadwyler and his associates propose that CX717 would particularly benefit individuals affected by extended work hours or night shifts.

To test this possibility, they taught monkeys to perform a "delayed-match-to-sample task," in which they were presented with a single image on a computer screen, then would use a cursor to identify that image in a group of several different images.

During normal alert conditions, performance accuracy of the animals was improved from an average of 75 percent to 90 percent after an injection of CX717. The drug also shortened response times, suggesting that "CX717 also facilitated attentional processes related to speed of responding on successful trials."

When the monkeys were subjected 30-36 hours of sleep deprivation, average performance accuracy dropped to 63 percent, which was restored to 84 percent after CX717 treatment.

Pretty impressive. Of course, it probably makes your head explode or something...

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Modafinil has similar effects. The problem is that you can't go without sleeping forever. Sooner or later your body has to do whatever it is that bodies do during sleep. Probably the best use of sleep drugs would be to allow people to rearrange their sleep schedules as they see fit, with naps during off time and remaining alert otherwise.

The real sleep deprivation fighting drug, of course, is caffeine. It's amazing how few side effects that one has.

The problem with caffeine is that, like amphetamines, it doesn't arrest performance degradation as much as modafanil. So, eventually you're awake but you're not performing well.

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