The Sleep Bank

The following article is entirely made up. It’s satire. I am making fun of treatment modalities which are claimed by proponents to cure everything, from real medical ailments to fictional entities like “adrenal fatigue”. I am also poking fun at the state of medical reporting these days. If the concepts discussed seem similar to actual alternative medical practice, it is because a great deal of what goes on out there in the real world really isn’t distinguishable from purposefully outlandish fictional treatments made up by someone with a doctoral degree in Feng Shui from Thunderwood College.

The Sleep Bank: A scientific solution to fatigue?
Jandine Odenkirk sits patiently in a room at a clinic located just blocks from her downtown Baton Rouge apartment, waiting for her doctor. Only instead of the typical sterile treatment room, uncomfortable examination gown and nervous pacing, Odenkirk is nestled in a warm bed, surrounded by soft lights and music. A doctor walks in, places a metallic band around her head and plugs the attached array of wires into a sleek black machine in the corner of the room. It immediately comes to life and within seconds a slow but steady stream of paper emerges which the doctor examines closely for irregularities or, as is usually the case, signs of improvement. The doctor smiles as he examines it. Her brain waves look much better today.

As you may have already gathered, this isn’t your usual medical practice. In fact, it is much more than that. Odenkirk is one of a growing number of patients whose lives are being changed for the better by the Baton Rouge Sleep Bank™, which is owned and operated by Dr. Mort Fishman, DS. Fishman, a Doctor of Sleepology™ certified by the Certification Division of the Correspondence College of Tampa, a subsidiary of Sleep Bank™, saw a great need for sleep banking in Baton Rouge. “I’m proud, not only to call such a fine city as Baton Rouge home, but also to be able to provide such a life-changing service,” Fishman explains while Odenkirk undergoes her hour-long treatment process. “Before I came here people literally didn’t even know that sleep banking existed!”

Fishman has seen it all during his 5 years as a certified Sleepologist™. He says that fatigue is the number one cause of most medical complaints (See Table 1). Luckily, despite being ignored by more conventional doctors who only treat the symptoms of fatigue rather than the whole tired person, maverick scientists have been investigating treatment options for fatigue without the benefit of billions of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry because alternative treatments can’t be patented. Their tireless efforts eventually led to the discovery of sleep banking and ultimately to the patented process of Sleeptivation™, where banked sleep is transferred into the brain of a sleep-deprived patient.

“It’s simple really,” explains Dr. Fishman. “Most people are familiar with regular banks, where they deposit and withdraw money. Many people may even be familiar with milk banks or even cord blood banks. This is exactly like that except instead of breast milk for micropremies or stem cells for cancer patients, we bank sleep.”

Here’s how it works. Just like with blood or plasma donation, healthy volunteers take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour of their time, usually on a weekend or day off, to come to the Sleep Bank™ and donate sleep. The process couldn’t be easier. Volunteers are hooked up to the same machine as Jandine Odenkirk only the large black knob on the front is turned to “In” instead of “Out”. Volunteers are not monetarily compensated for their donation for a very important reason. “Studies performed at Sleep Bank™ regional headquarters in Boulder were troublesome,” Fishman reveals. “They discovered that non-altruistic sleep donation increased the risk of sleep rejection by over a quartile! It wouldn’t be right to take that kind of chance.”

When a fatigued patient, like Jandine Odenkirk, comes in for a Sleeptivation™ session, they are treated as well as they would be at any expensive spa, conventional or medical. Aromatherapy and music therapy are integral to the process, which also includes a 5-minute light massage and a glass of wine. The knob on the machine is then turned to “Out” and the patient typically enters a relaxed state almost immediately, with most actually falling asleep. “Several studies have shown that the process of Sleeptivation™ is more effective if the patient is asleep during it, but that is where our understanding of this complex science becomes less clear.”

Odenkirk, a 45-year-old executive with a history of stress and anxiety disorders, isn’t concerned about the science. She reveals, “I’m glad that top minds are looking into these questions, but what really matters is if it works. And, in general, I can usually say that I feel somewhat more relaxed after the treatment.”

Sessions can last anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes, but Dr. Fishman has on occasion allowed them to go longer. “We don’t practice cookbook Sleepology™ at the Sleep Bank™. Sometimes a patient just needs a few more minutes.”

Dr. Fishman, one of only ten certified Sleepologists™ in Louisiana, invites naysayers to check out the process for themselves. I asked a noted and anonymous local skeptical blogger, The Red Stick Skeptic, their thoughts on sleep banking and Sleeptivation™. “It sounds like a typical set up for being fooled into thinking that a treatment works, when all that is going on is the customer is getting a nap and a healthy dose of placebo,” Red Stick Skeptic bellowed curmudgeonly. “And I’m sure it isn’t free either!” The blogger declined the opportunity to try a session, most likely because of closed-mindedness.

To answer the question once and for all, I underwent a Sleeptivation™ session and couldn’t have been more impressed. As a dedicated investigative journalist who is lucky to get 2 to 3 hours of sleep each night, I know that sleep deprivation is a big problem, and sure enough I suffer from just about every symptom on Dr. Fishman’s list. After my hour of treatment, I felt relaxed and ready to face the rest of the day. I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone. Sleeptivation™ is the real deal.

(Sleeptivation™ costs $200 per half hour but there are less expensive rates when sessions are bought in bulk packages of 10, 20, or 50 sessions. The Baton Rouge Sleep Bank™ also offers an unlimited lifetime membership for $15,000. There is also an at-home system which can be rented for $500 per day or $2,000 per week. These fees do not include consultation with a certified Sleepologist™. High quality cotton tee-shirts, with the slogans “You Ain’t Been Vated, ‘Til You Been Sleeptivated™!” or “Perfect Health is 1% Perspiration and 99% Sleeptivation™!” are available for $20.)


Table 1: Symptoms proven to be treated by Sleeptivation™*
-difficulty maintaining homeostasis
-persistent production of saliva
-excess flatulence
-difficulty abstaining from cocaine use
-continued regrowth of body hair despite repeated attempts at shaving it off
-difficulty holding more than 5 to 9 objects in working memory
-difficulty reading without one’s glasses or contacts
-aching muscles
-erectile dysfunction
-digestive problems
-weight gain
-weight loss
-telomere degradation
*According to the International Sleepology Institute™

Posted in: Humor, Science and the Media

Leave a Comment (28) ↓

28 thoughts on “The Sleep Bank

  1. Hmm.. are you poking fun at the american academy of sleep medicine?

  2. goodnightirene says:

    No, FBA, he’s poking fun at you.

  3. Clay Jones says:

    No, I think that they are legitimate. This is aimed at bogus treatment modalities, more akin to Quantum Medical Consciousness Interface Systems:

  4. windriven says:

    Thunderwood College :-)

    Hey FB – is this your alma mater?


    Love the names, pure poetry:
    – Advanced Bio-resonant Medical Therapy Device
    – Quantum Medical Consciousness Interface System
    – Ten channel computerized biofeedback device
    – Null Field Harmonizing Therapy
    – Subspace Morphic-Transfer Therapy

    so Star Trek!

  6. Liz Ditz says:

    Oh boy, how often I have wished for a sleep transfusion!

    Excellent parody.

  7. Jann Bellamy says:

    Under state “health freedom” laws it would likely be perfectly legal to actually practice “Sleepology.”

  8. Clay Jones says:

    I want a cut of the profits.

  9. ConspicuousCarl says:

    Greetings, Doctor! I notice that you did not include any FAQ section. I hope you don’t mind me doing so, as I feel that I am as qualified as anyone to speak on this subject.

    Q: Will Sleep Bank accept my insurance?
    A: Yes! Sleep Bank accepts all forms of insurance, though the charges on your insurance statement may show up as amalgam replacement or spinal adjustment. We apologize for any confusion.

    Q: Does Sleeptivation use artificial chemicals?
    A: Sleeptivation is a holistic process which works with your natural processes. We do not use any processed substances.

    Q: If I start using Sleeptivation, do I have to use it for the rest of my life?
    A: This is one of our favorite questions. Of course not! Lifetime Sleeptivation treatment is only for people who want to maintain their natural wellness for the rest of their lives.

    Q: My friend said that Sleeptivation improved her wireless phone reception. How does this work?
    A: This is a controversial area of ongoing research. At this time, the FCC will not allow Sleep Bank to advertise the numerous benefits of Sleeptivation which relate to wireless phones, including clearer calls, longer battery life, and reduced operating temperature.

  10. Clay Jones says:

    Q: What if after our patented Sleeptivation sessions I don’t feel as if my symptoms have improved?
    A: Sadly, some people seek out our services too late. Even Sleeptivation may be unable to help after the interventions of allopathic doctors have led to widespread toxicity in the body.

  11. David Gorski says:

    Actually, what Clay doesn’t know is that when I accepted his post to run today I was seriously tempted to remove his disclaimer and see whether anyone recognized his piece as satire. :-)

  12. Clay Jones says:

    Yes, I recently learned about Poe’s Law.

  13. Mark Crislip says:

    The disclaimer should always be at the end. One word. In 4 point font. In the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

  14. ConspicuousCarl says:

    Indeed, Dr. Crislip is correct about the disclaimer traditionally being displayed at the end of a hoax.

    These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

  15. kathy says:

    “-weight gain
    -weight loss” Beauteous example of derrière-protection! Wot a larf!

    But don’t laugh too soon, hey … chiselling people into paying for sleep may just be the next big thing. I mean, if they can persuade millions to pay for a bottle of water, when there’s a perfectly good tap just in the next room, where’s the limits?

    I missed the ecstatic testimonials from some “carefully selected” beneficiaries, though, especially those complaining of “erectile dysfunction”. Can we have a followup article, please?

  16. Clay Jones says:

    If this were for real, I have no doubt Les Miles and the LSU football program would be all over it and could provide many testimonials. We don’t have a lot of celebrities here in Baton Rouge although Tom Cruise lived here for a few months filming a movie. Do you think he would fall for something like this?

  17. David Gorski says:

    Hmmm. Maybe I should move the disclaimer to the end for Clay…

  18. elburto says:

    “Thanks Sleeptivation!

    My nights were a desperate attempt to cram enough sleep into my hectic schedule. My wife was so frustrated by certain physical effects of my stress that she ran off with the pool-boy.

    Thanks to the Sleep Bank it isn’t sleep I’m cramming, if you know what I mean. This ragin’ Cajun’s Baton a thousand, so watch out Louisiana ladies. My wife’s loss is your gain!

    Chet Bois-Tendre

  19. Harriet Hall says:

    I particularly liked putting the disclaimer at the beginning. It gives you a heads-up, keeps the article from raising your blood pressure, and keeps you from feeling foolish as you slowly realize something is wrong. There is so much real nonsense out there, it is easily to be fooled into thinking someone would actually offer this.

  20. David Gorski says:

    The problem is, when you are warned at the beginning that satire is satire, it rather defeats the purpose. If I had it to do again, I would definitely have put the disclaimer at the end. :-)

  21. ufo-42 says:

    I read your article with interest (skipping over the first paragraph because that always contains useless introductory stuff) and I’m excited to find a local practitioner of this new exciting branch of medicine. I happen to have every single one of the symptoms you listed and really would like to be cured. Money is no object! Thanks for bringing this brilliant new branch of science to my attention. Maybe I’ll spend the 45 minutes or so required to become an expert in the practice of sleepology and make my fortune! Thanks again!


  22. BillyJoe7 says:

    “skipping over the first paragraph because that always contains useless introductory stuff”

    Hey, that’s how I read David Gorski’s articles (except that its the first three paragraphs)…gives me more of a chance of actually finishing them.

  23. elburto says:

    BillyJoe- You really think they’re that long?

    I like the extra detail, mainly because there are some topics that really need the added information in order to fully illustrate why a certain form/practitioner of woo is so harmful.

    He does a great job of converting the ‘shruggies’, from what I’ve seen.

    You could also use one of the services at the top. of the page and send the article to yourself to read at your leisure.

  24. David Gorski says:

    One of these days I’m going to surprise you and get to the point in the first sentence.

  25. mousethatroared says:

    hmm – But only the people who read the first sentence will be surprised. It’ll be like the world’s most obvious easter egg – hiden in plain sight.

  26. Davdoodles says:

    Are you like me, and never seem to find the time to take a poop?

    Well, I was a lot like me. And it wasn’t fun, believe me. So much poop, so little time…

    That was, until I invented… the PoopBank(tm)!.

    Here’s how it works: Generous individuals donate an extra poop or two during the day, so that busy people like you and me can work right through the day, confident that our poop needs will never interfere with our important routines.

    Here at the PoopBank(tm) our motto is “We Pinch Out Twice the Poop, So You Don’t Have To”.

    All pooping is covered by insurance, but wiping is strictly co-pay.

  27. BillyJoe7 says:

    elburto, you have no sense of humour. (:

  28. Jay Gordon says:

    @Everyone, everywhere: Could this lack of sleep be attributed to vaccination? I have no proof but I dreamed it.

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