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Burning Question

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Q In Insomnia, set in an Alaskan town where the summer sun never sets, Al Pacino’s cop works five days without sleep. Wouldn’t he have keeled over?

A He’d be down, but not for the count, says Dr. Michael Thorpy, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorder Center at NYC’s Montefiore Hospital: ”After five days, there’d be extreme fatigue and significant impairment, with reduced coordination and reaction time.” Fort Yukon, Alaska, police chief Reginald Fleming says that during his first far northern summer he hallucinated slightly for a few sleepless days. His advice to newcomers? ”Use dark shades in your bedroom and cover your windows with aluminum foil.” The wrap clings to window frames better than blinds.

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