Recent studies illuminate the consequences of our culture's increased consumption of sleeping pills. Sleeping pill users are sleep-driving, sleep-eating and sleep-going-to-work. Much of the research focuses on the dangers: The number of sleep-driving accidents has risen steeply over the past year. Obesity due to sleep-eating is another growing problem. Additionally, sleep-eaters have been known to choke on drumsticks and other food items.
But it's not all a negative picture. Employers are finding that their employees are actually more productive while sleep-working.
"We find they are i-chatting and instant-messaging and dabbling on the Web far less while they're asleep," said one CEO who declined to be named. She added, "Sleep-workers are more focused and ... I don't know ... clearer thinking individuals."
Her company, she said, is considering utilizing air-flow systems to pipe in a steady, but invisible cloud of sleep potion into the workplace.
In a follow-up phone call, the CEO admitted to this reporter that she had been asleep during our interview. I replied to her that I was asleep during the interview as well.
Still, the occasional horror story lays bare the darker side. A man in Vermont sleep-walked to his car, sleep-drove to his ex-wife's house, then sleep-ate her. Unless, of course, I dreamed that part.