Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of the disease of sleep. It’s hard to remember back to a time when people were always awake. As a species, we did one thing, then another, followed by another, and so on.

But then fifty years ago, doctors began to see patients who complained about a grogginess that led to unconsciousness. The sleeping person was sometimes considered to be dead and immediately placed underground, which led to many sleepers being buried alive.

As more people began to experience this loss of consciousness, usually around the evening time, various drugs were used to try and reverse the effects of the disease. Coffee was one such cure. The problem was that coffee had to constantly be administered at ever increasing intervals to maintain enough stimulation for wakefulness. This often led to madness, and then sleep.

Once it was discovered that there was no cure for sleep, beds were invented, followed by pajamas, which were basically clothes that one would be too embarrassed to be seen in while awake.

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