Monday, 17 November, 2014
It’s no secret, it would seem, that sleeping for a straight eight hours each night, is not what we’re wired to do. Indeed in ages passed, it was the norm to slumber for a few hours, get up, do something, anything, in the middle of the night, and then snooze again another couple of hours.
If nothing else, it’s a routine that might suit the writers, and creatives, among us, says Scottish author Karen Emslie:
And, even though I am a happy person, if I lie in the dark my thoughts veer towards worry. I have found it better to get up than to lie in bed teetering on the edge of nocturnal lunacy. If I write in these small hours, black thoughts become clear and colourful. They form themselves into words and sentences, hook one to the next – like elephants walking trunk to tail. My brain works differently at this time of night; I can only write, I cannot edit. I can only add, I cannot take away. I need my day-brain for finesse. I will work for several hours and then go back to bed.
And what threw out this once innate sleep pattern? The advent of artificial lighting of course. Followed later by the internet and smartphones of course.
creativity, psychology, sleep, writing
Monday, 22 September, 2014
If you have a full diary, or an overly busy schedule, news that you might be able to do a thing or two while sleeping could be music to your ears…
The researchers then lulled the participants to sleep, putting them in a dark room in a reclining chair. Researchers watched them fall into the state between light sleep and the deeper sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM). They were then told a new list of words. This time, their hands didn’t move, but their brains showed the same sorting activity as before. “In a way, what’s going on is that the rule they learn and practice still is getting applied,” Tristan Bekinschtein, one of the authors of the study, told Shots. The human brain continued, when triggered, to respond even through sleep.
It sounds like what we might be able to do while asleep is pretty limited – actually it’s incredible that anything at all is possible – so I wouldn’t go expecting to achieve all that much.
neuroscience, psychology, sleep
Wednesday, 16 July, 2014
The sleeping habits of geniuses… twenty-seven of them to be precise. I was hoping to find something that I might be able to take advantage of, and it looks pretty straightforward, seven to eight hours sleep seems to be the norm among smart people.
Then again no fewer than one hundred and fifty items, problems in the world and the like, may also be keeping the same people awake at night.
health, psychology, sleep
Monday, 7 July, 2014
I’m not sure I’d regard the sleep paralysis experience as being a “portal to out-of-body travel and lucid dreams”, unless that’s how you see the sensation of having what feels like an elephant sitting on while you lie, unable to move a muscle, in what seems like a wind tunnel, a dark wind tunnel at that.
The experience can be terrifying. Trapped in your paralysed body, you might sense the presence of a malevolent intruder in the room or a pressure on your chest, squeezing the breath out of your lungs. Hallucinations can jangle the senses: there are ominous voices, supernatural entities, strange lights. You feel as if you are being touched or dragged, bed covers seem to be snatched from you, and you are helpless to grab them back.
Then again, what is actually happening quickly becomes apparent, so as disconcerting as a sleep paralysis episode is, the knowledge that it will be relatively short lived is reassuring. So why not view it as positively as possible…
health, sleep, well being
Monday, 3 February, 2014
Convincing yourself you had a full night’s sleep, when possibly you barely slept a wink, is akin to enjoying said night’s full and relaxing sleep, or so says some research into the topic:
A great victory was won here for lies, over truth. This study shows that if you’re in the mindset that you’re well-rested, your brain will perform better, regardless of the actual quality of your sleep. Conversely, constantly talking about how tired you are, as so often happens in our culture, might be detrimental to your performance.
I absolutely would not go for any of this if you need to drive somewhere, especially a long distance, though.
health, psychology, sleep
Tuesday, 26 November, 2013
You could dispense with an alarm clock, were you to go to sleep around the same time each night, every day, and wake up at the same hour the next day. Such a routine allows for the optimisation of a protein called PER, that regulates sleep, largely ensuring you wake at the same time every day.
If you follow a diligent sleep routine – waking up the same time every day – your body learns to increase your PER levels in time for your alarm. About an hour before you’re supposed to wake up, PER levels rise (along with your body temperature and blood pressure). To prepare for the stress of waking, your body releases a cocktail of stress hormones, like cortisol. Gradually, your sleep becomes lighter and lighter.
health, neuroscience, sleep
Monday, 29 April, 2013
Nine hours sleep a night seems to becoming the norm, in the US at least, and while the prospect may seem like bliss, especially on a Monday morning, and after what, for some, may have been a long weekend, oversleeping, as with too little sleep, likewise poses health risks:
Although there’s been lots of talk about society sleeping too little, not much attention has been paid to the problem of too much sleep. However, studies show that sleeping more than nine hours a night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, thinking problems and premature death.
health, psychology, sleep
Wednesday, 6 March, 2013
While I’ve not encountered any sleep-walkers to date, I’ve often heard that they should not woken mid sleep-walk. It seems this advice is more for the well-being of the person trying to help someone who is walking (or cooking, or driving even) in their sleep, rather than the sleep-walker:
Sleep experts warn that forcefully bringing a person out of a deep sleep into this impaired state can cause them to become startled, confused or agitated. Not immediately recognizing you as someone they know, they may push you, strike you, or otherwise lash out at you. Even if they don’t react aggressively, some sleepwalkers have been known to drive or prepare meals in their sleep, and having a groggy, confused person behind the wheel or at the stove can be dangerous for them and for others.
health, psychology, sleep
Wednesday, 23 January, 2013
The eight-hours sleep a night we currently enjoy may become a thing of the past, if drugs that safely allow people to get by on two to three sleep, become commonplace. This has the potential to free up a person’s day by about five hours. So what to do with this extra time, work, or pursue more leisure activities?
Well, it could be you do not have a choice in the matter:
Workers would probably prefer to allocate the bulk of that extra time to leisure but I doubt employers will let that happen. Let’s make a generous breakdown and give work an extra 3 hours and let workers spend another 2 as they wish. This increases working hours by around 34% and potentially increases leisure time by 80%. This increases the number of hours a worker spends at work from around 1800 hours a year now to about 2,400.
productivity, sleep, work
Tuesday, 9 October, 2012
Circadian rhythms are back in the news… if we were more in sync with them, those early morning starts may not be so harsh as to invoke a five stage grieving process:
The first is Denial, which entails pressing the sleep button when the alarm goes off. Five minutes later it’s buzzing again, so I proceed to Anger. This is followed by Bargaining, during which I attempt to calculate how many more minutes I can stay in bed without being late. The stage of Depression hits as soon as I realise that – shit – now I’m late. And finally, when I get to work, I reach Acceptance.
psychology, sleep, well being