On the topic of sleep
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26-08-2012, 10:39 AM
On the topic of sleep
[Image: all-creatures-sleep-diagram.gif]

I have often wondered about the biological need for sleep and how it evolved.
How does being unconscious of your surroundings for hours at a time aide in your survival ? I know I know, we recharge and repair our bodies from some built up fatigue poison.

Added in with sleep, at least for humans and I'm sure other creatures, is the need to dream. If we don't sleep, we drop. If we don't dream, we go a bit insane and drop.

I wish I had a better understanding of why.

When we look at some animals like the giraffe and the brown bat.
It's a huge difference in the amount of sleep that a creature needs or perhaps wants.
Giraffes have a total average sleep per day of about 2 hours, but they don't sleep for 2 hours at a time. It's usually about 15-30 min at a time.

Baby orca and baby bottle nose dolphins don't seem to sleep at all for the first few months and I can understand that as a survival mechanism.

So any thoughts on the subject ?

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26-08-2012, 10:49 AM
RE: On the topic of sleep
Nova did a pretty good episode on dreams.

Here's the first part:



The rest you lazy bastards can find on your own.

One of the cool studies they highlighted was there seems to be 2 dream states. One which occurs during REM sleep involves paralysis to keep the body from moving as in the dream so the individual actually rests. This MAY just be random firings of neurons and transmitters, etc. But the other dream state occurs without paralysis. The indications are, learning takes place as tasks that were done learned before non-REM are performed better after having dreamed about those tasks.

Another point of interest to me was the indication that people with depression dream and sleep differently than non-depressives. Most people fall asleep through non-REM sleep, "but depressives...go right to REM, and then they stay in REM, and they spend too much time in REM. So if REM sleep is associated with all this unpleasant emotion and you get too much REM, then you are going to have a lot of unpleasant emotion. We call that depression."

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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26-08-2012, 10:51 AM
RE: On the topic of sleep
That puts me in the elephant-category!
(worse when the yanks on TTA start a good thread when I should be going to bed)

It must have something to do with how far above your brain is from your feet (or flippers)... note that the bat sleeps with its brain below its feet.

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26-08-2012, 11:09 AM
RE: On the topic of sleep
We need those hours of sleep.

Margaret Thatcher slept for 4 hours every night.

I rest my case, m'lud.
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26-08-2012, 11:16 AM
RE: On the topic of sleep
Joking aside, it is a subject that has great interest to me, too. Given our lifespan, I see it as an annoyance that 1/3 of that is spent asleep. I, too, am confused as to why we need that much sleep... and why exactly we risk death if we deprive ourselves of it.

Perhaps the question will be properly answered in our lifetimes. I once told someone that a good reason for our continued existence is the expectation of the solution of unsolved riddles. A bit like a crime-thriller, where you watch it to the end purely so you can say "Oh, so that's how it happened!". Take away all of the mysteries and life would be dull as fuck. Omniscience definitely not FTW.
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26-08-2012, 11:53 AM
RE: On the topic of sleep
I wish I didn't have to sleep so much, I have so much to do. I do my best work before bed, too. (night owl). However, I can nap like none other! I love naps. A couple weeks ago I had three naps in one day. I barely get one nap a day in months, so that was a treat- I was coming down with something though.

I haven't looked into the science of sleep in a long time, I should spend a few days revisiting the subject, thanks!
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26-08-2012, 12:07 PM
RE: On the topic of sleep
(26-08-2012 11:53 AM)LadyJane Wrote:  I wish I didn't have to sleep so much, I have so much to do. I do my best work before bed, too. (night owl). However, I can nap like none other! I love naps. A couple weeks ago I had three naps in one day. I barely get one nap a day in months, so that was a treat- I was coming down with something though.

I haven't looked into the science of sleep in a long time, I should spend a few days revisiting the subject, thanks!

You should probably plan to do some field experiments and take some more naps to conduct your research. Sleepy

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26-08-2012, 12:45 PM
RE: On the topic of sleep
(26-08-2012 10:49 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  Another point of interest to me was the indication that people with depression dream and sleep differently than non-depressives. Most people fall asleep through non-REM sleep, "but depressives...go right to REM, and then they stay in REM, and they spend too much time in REM. So if REM sleep is associated with all this unpleasant emotion and you get too much REM, then you are going to have a lot of unpleasant emotion. We call that depression."

Many years ago in some psychology class, we touched on sleep and dreaming, with the teacher saying that for human beings it at least took 30 min to get into REM and only from REM can you dream. I knew this was all wrong because of my own sleep patterns and dropping into dream states within 30 seconds sometimes.

I've also had a form of mild depression most all of my life and if allowed to sleep, I can sleep for 10-14 hours (not constantly, but waking for a short time and then drifting back to sleep)
I don't do this on a regular basis. My average night sleep is 6 hours when I'm working a full time job. Sometimes 4 hours if there are women involved.

I find the topic of sleep to be very fascinating and often wonder what a society would look like if no one needed to sleep. Would most people have two jobs ? Would night school last for 8 hours ? Would people attempt to drug themselves into an unconscious state ?

I may have a long ways to go to ever answering any of my deeper questions, but it's good to see that this mystery hasn't been solved just quite yet. I like a bit of mystery Smile

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26-08-2012, 12:53 PM
On the topic of sleep
(26-08-2012 12:45 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  
(26-08-2012 10:49 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  Another point of interest to me was the indication that people with depression dream and sleep differently than non-depressives. Most people fall asleep through non-REM sleep, "but depressives...go right to REM, and then they stay in REM, and they spend too much time in REM. So if REM sleep is associated with all this unpleasant emotion and you get too much REM, then you are going to have a lot of unpleasant emotion. We call that depression."

Many years ago in some psychology class, we touched on sleep and dreaming, with the teacher saying that for human beings it at least took 30 min to get into REM and only from REM can you dream. I knew this was all wrong because of my own sleep patterns and dropping into dream states within 30 seconds sometimes.

I've also had a form of mild depression most all of my life and if allowed to sleep, I can sleep for 10-14 hours (not constantly, but waking for a short time and then drifting back to sleep)
I don't do this on a regular basis. My average night sleep is 6 hours when I'm working a full time job. Sometimes 4 hours if there are women involved.

I find the topic of sleep to be very fascinating and often wonder what a society would look like if no one needed to sleep. Would most people have two jobs ? Would night school last for 8 hours ? Would people attempt to drug themselves into an unconscious state ?

I may have a long ways to go to ever answering any of my deeper questions, but it's good to see that this mystery hasn't been solved just quite yet. I like a bit of mystery Smile

I haven't noticed a link between my own depression and dreams, but this last winter I did realize that it had been years since I had woken up remembering dreaming on a regular basis. This happened when I went on a CPAP breathing machine for sleep apnea. Apparently my apnea was keeping me from falling into a deep enough sleep to dream. I noticed it when my dreaming became significantly more vivid after I started sleeping deeper. And, I do think I've been feeling better physically as well.

You're right. Mysteries make life more interesting!

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