Matthew J. Edlund M.D.

The Power of Rest

Are Vampires Getting Enough Rest?

Even if you're immortal or undead, life just keeps changing.

Posted Jul 01, 2010

Even if you're immortal and undead, life just keeps changing. Formerly famous, well established vampires like Dracula could comfortably lie in their coffins throughout the daylight hours. It was never quite clear how much of their time was spent sleeping, but there was clearly plenty of time to rest.
The movies and television changed all that. Vampires used to worry about mirrors and a sometimes unattractive pallor. Then Hollywood recognized sexual charisma worked perfectly well in the daytime. Through the decades crosses and bags of garlic became, well, just so over. Vampires became Americanized, going to school, taking dead-end jobs, even starting relationships with human boys and girls. Soon they were suffering the crazed neurotic conflicts of mere humans. Yet recently things have gone too far.

The Twilight Series

In Stephanie Meyers' celebrated "Twilight Series," vampires no longer get to sleep at all. They work and play day and night, never getting rest. Life for television vampires is also getting tougher. Paying a mortgage, battling other vampires, and having a few "fang banger" girl and boyfriends may pass some of the time, but how can you keep things entertaining day and night for thousands of years?

What Humans Can Learn From Vampires

Vampires rebuild and renew their bodies effortlessly - now even without sleep. Lost a finger at the bar last night? Almost before you look it's grown back.
Humans grow our bodies, too - far faster than most of us think. Your heart cells may "live" for 50 years, but their innards are mainly replaced within 3 days. Those heart proteins pumping to keep you alive and provide vampire sustenance? Quickly gone, pulped and recycled in an hour or two. Looked in the mirror recently? The skin on your face was replaced in the last two weeks - and that's total cell replacement.
Yet we enjoy something many vampires don't - we get to rest. Rest is necessary for human rewiring and renewing. If you know how you can actively rest, the kind of rest that helps direct your body's rebuild process. Even taking a walk in the park can grow you new brain cells - though vampires should be relieved to learn the new cells only grow at night. Fortunately they grow in memory areas, making it easier to remember details about your favorite vampires.

Let's Make a Deal

Somehow vampires can rebuild and renew their bodies for thousand of years, and unlike us do it without rest. So let's propose an agreement - vampires come out of the shadows, get full citizen rights, and give back by letting us study their regenerative processes. This will require improved informed consent procedures, so medical schools and hospitals will need to devise wholly new, morally charged approaches to vampire-human research. Eventually some of the more politically polarized issues will probably go to the Supreme Court.
But the time is ripe. Vampires are getting better press than they have in a long time. They seem to have adjusted to human life far more effectively than in the past, though many are experiencing a more conflicted, unsettled lifestyle. Fortunately we humans have much more to share, including many active rest techniques that can revive energy as well as reengineer purpose. That's an important option. When you're going to live at least a few thousand years, mental revival and rejuvenation is a very big deal.

Yet it looks like some of our performers, CEOs, and politicians seem to have adjusted exceedingly well to the 24/7 media cycle. They never seem to rest at all. Some even tell us they'll sleep when they're dead. Is it possible - no, it couldn't be - is it possible some never resting celebrities are - vampires?

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