Expectations around work might change as well. Without a need for sleep, your boss might be justified in wondering why you didn’t reply to an email at 3 a.m.
Taking away sleep “shifts expectations of how long people can work for without a break,” said Catherine Coveney, a research fellow in global health at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.
As part of a research project, Coveney asked people in different professions what they thought would happen if there were a drug to replace sleep. She found that people who worked day as well as night shifts (such as doctors, nurses and policemen) were concerned about the idea. “They were worried about exploitation and employers putting pressure on their employees to work longer hours and do more shifts in the name of economic productivity, where socially and healthwise, workers would lose out,” Coveney said.
Society would also need more staff in service professions, such as police officers and firefighters, Moloney said. Even though there are night-shift workers now, society would need more, because people would be more active at night, Moloney said.