Tag Archives | Sleep

I tried Polyphasic sleep for a week and it felt like LSD

Theophilos Papadopoulos (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Theophilos Papadopoulos (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Hopes&Fears challenged a friend to adopt a Polyphasic sleep schedule for a week. This is her story. 

Luvina Jean-Charles via Hopes&Fears:

Cue the scene: Oakland, California. Early 90’s. Streaks of afternoon sun.

A preschool-aged me lies staring at the ceiling, back flush against a blue gym mat, in a quiet classroom.  Around me, classmates do the same, some of them fidgeting nervously with their hands.

It’s Nap Time   

I’m still awake, as usual, but instead of spending the next half hour mentally cataloguing everything in the room, I decide to inquire further about this elusive nap thing. I turn to my friend, who is spooning a stuffed Tasmanian Devil on the mat across from mine.

“How do you go to sleep? Can you show me how?” I ask. She nods, slowly. “It’s easy.” Lip smack. Yawn. Lip smack. “You just go like this.” Her single open eye falls back closed, and in seconds, she is snoring.

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Forget Freud, research on dream imagery may help us understand consciousness

Rapid eye movements (REMs) during sleep may contribute to the visual part of our dreams by acting as a switch from image to image, researchers have found. The study, which measured the activity of individual cells in the brain in both awake and sleeping participants, is important because it is the first of its kind and provides a great starting point for uncovering the deeper secrets of human consciousness.

Consciousness can roughly be summed up as our awareness of the environment and our ability to respond to it. However, Sigmund Freud and his followers have described dreams as deep-seated, unconscious psychic desires. Today, many instead see them as an interpretation of images of the environment stored in certain parts of the brain. These images are thought to be projected onto the visual cortex so we can “see them” in our dreams.

Physiologists and experimental psychologists refer to mental images of 3D scenes as “visuospatial imagery”, which is similar to what we see when we dream.… Read the rest

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Can we unlearn social biases while we sleep?

Betsssssy (CC BY 2.0)

Betsssssy (CC BY 2.0)

Xiaoqing Hu, University of Texas at Austin

Your brain does a lot when you are asleep. It’s when you consolidate memories and integrate the things you’ve learned during the day into your existing knowledge structure. We now have lots of evidence that while you are sleeping, specific memories can be reactivated and thus strengthened.

We wondered whether sleep could play a role in undoing implicit social biases. These are the learned negative associations we make through repeat exposure – things like stereotypes about women not being good at science or biases against black people. Research has shown that training can help people learn to counter biases, lessening our knee-jerk prejudices, many of which can operate without our notice. We know from earlier studies that sound can cue the process of memory consolidation. Can this sleep-based memory trick strengthen newly learned information and in turn help reduce or reverse biases?… Read the rest

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A dark night is good for your health

Joe Goldberg (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Joe Goldberg (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Richard Stevens, University of Connecticut

Today most people do not get enough sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called insufficient sleep an epidemic. While we are finally paying attention to the importance of sleep, the need for dark is still mostly ignored.

That’s right. Dark. Your body needs it too.

Being exposed to regular patterns of light and dark regulates our circadian rhythm. Disruption of this rhythm may increase the risk of developing some health conditions including obesity, diabetes and breast cancer

Light regulates our sleep and wake patterns

The physiological processes that control the daily cycle of sleep and wake, hunger, activity levels, body temperature, melatonin level in the blood, and many other physiological traits are called the endogenous circadian rhythm.

On its own, the endogenous circadian rhythm is nearly, but not exactly, 24 hours. Our bodies rely on the Sun to reset this cycle and keep it at precisely 24 hours, the length of our days.… Read the rest

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Night Terrors In Adults: When Sleeping Turns To Terror After Dark

Jeffrey (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Jeffrey (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Lizette Borreli via Medical Daily:

Like clockwork, every night at 2 a.m. the house would ring out with gasps for air, cries for help, and screams. My parents, all too familiar with these frightening sounds, would brace themselves for what would be one of many sleepless nights. Those nights filled with terrifying images and haunting sounds never went away for me.

Fourteen years later, I found myself within the confines of the Sleep Disorder Institute in New York, looking for answers to why I still wake myself up screaming in terror.

1. Night Terrors Exposed

The rare sleep disorder goes by many names: night terrors, sleep terrors, pavor nocturnus, or AXIS I: 307.46 (The DSM’s code). It remains a medical mystery. What medical researchers do know is that night terrors are caused by an over-arousal of the central nervous system (CNS) during sleep. In children, this may be the result of the CNS still maturing — it has long been believed that the CNS’s maturation process ends in early childhood (although several recent studies suggest it may continue to develop through around age 25).

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How Electric Light Changed the Night (And The Way We Sleep)

About 18 months ago, we ran a story entitled How Our Ancestors Used to Sleep Twice a Night and Highlighting the Problem of Present Shock. The author, Jeremy D. Johnson, informed us that, “8 hour sleeping is a modern invention” and in the 18th Century “we slept twice a night, getting up for an hour or two for recreation before heading back to bed until dawn.” Now San Francisco’s public television station KQED has produced a short film laying the blame on artificial light:

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The Danger of Sleep Deprivation

By Eric Skiff via Flickr (CC by -sa 2.0)

By Eric Skiff via Flickr (CC by -sa 2.0)

I’m queuing this post at 10:30pm and can barely keep my eyes open. Sleep is my favorite treat. Unfortunately it shouldn’t be considered a “treat,” but rather a necessity.

via The Atlantic:

I’m sure a lot of subway riders are skilled nappers, but this car seemed to be particularly talented. Going over the Brooklyn Bridge on a recent morning, just as the sun was coming up, a row of men in nearly identical black suits held on to the straps with their eyes closed. Their necks were bent at the slightest of angles, like a row of daisies in a breeze, and as the car clanged over the tracks and the sun pierced through the grimy train windows, it finally dawned on me they were all sound asleep. Not even the bumps and the light could stop them from sneaking in 15 more minutes of shut-eye before work.

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The Dangers of Ambien and Other Sleeping Aids

800px-Kc-zolpidem-10mg

via AlterNet:

It has been several years since the bloom fell off the rose of Ambien, the blockbuster sleeping pill. Recently, the FDA has warned about Ambien hangovers, sedation and the risk of dangerous driving and recommended lower doses. The FDA warnings came a year after Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and former wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was arrested for what was believed to be Ambien-inebriated driving. The arrest came six years after her cousin, former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, was also involved in an apparent Ambien-related traffic mishap.

After Rep. Kennedy’s crash, as stories of more bizarre behavior on the sleeping pill surfaced, Ambien’s manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis, was forced to launch an ad campaign telling people if they were going to take Ambien, to get in bed and stay there. (Or you’ll “break out in handcuffs” as the joke goes.) Reports of driving, eating, sex and other “wakeful” behavior in Ambien blackouts proliferated.

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