The world’s best medicine By: Nivas Ramachandiran Ph.d. Student, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering


As a result of two decades of research, an exquisite drug was discovered recently. From coughs to heart attacks, this drug could preserve your health, maintain fitness, and enhance beauty for many years. On the whole, it could drive hospitals and parlors out of business.

Luckily, it costs zero dollars but unfortunately, demands a lot of self-discipline. Let me give you an example to help you guess what it is: the Guinness Book of World Records allows skydiving from a height of 25,000 feet without a parachute but does not permit attempting sleep control due to extreme mental harm associated with it. The medicine I am talking about is eight hours of peaceful sleep every night.

Sleep is divided into two parts: NREM (Non-Retinal Eye Movement) and REM (Retinal Eye Movement). During the NREM part of sleep, daily happenings — including people we meet, places we visit, and jokes we hear — are transferred from the limited temporary memory to the infinite permanent memory of our brain. Unless this transfer happens regularly, it is overwritten. Thus, not sleeping for days and trying to catch up on it, e.g. during exams and then hibernating later, does not work. If you had difficulty in recalling anyone’s name you met just once or twice recently, you possibly suffer from a lack of sleep.

REM is where the content transferred to the permanent memory is processed and linked to previously stored information. In other words, they cause our dreams. Through dreams, they organize our memories — similar to the defragmentation feature in windows. Recently, I saw a couple of my dead relatives walking in my room. Game of Thrones followers can guess. The Night King’s army attacked Winterfell the previous day.

If REM duration is inadequate, we are most likely to blank out — similar to an old computer that often hangs or blue screens. If you could remember blanking out for a moment or two in any class occasionally, it could be due to your poor sleep pattern. Imagine the consequences of blanking out while driving.

Let us wrap it up by sharing how we could fix our current sleep cycle.

1. Turn off your phone and other digital screens at least 15 minutes before going to sleep.

2. Reduce coffee and alcohol consumption, and stick to a low-calorie dinner.

3. After dinner, listen to soft music or read a book for a while.

4. Keep an alarm to sleep and not to wake up — humans are the only species known to disturb their own sleep.

5. If nothing works, consult a doctor.

It is practically impossible for us to enjoy the same quality of sleep with aging. Poor sleep pattern would drastically affect our rational thinking, memory, and will leave us helpless in our 60s. So, let’s prolong and celebrate our precious youth by respecting our body. After all,  YOLO.