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With insomnia, nothing's real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.
August 5, 2005 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Deep into Sleep. "While researchers probe sleep's functions, sleep itself is becoming a lost art." [Via Mind Hacks.]
posted by homunculus (20 comments total)

 
The question is this: does lack of sleep make you stupid, or do stupid people get less sleep?
posted by Osmanthus at 12:43 PM on August 5, 2005


I'll have plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead.
posted by darkness at 12:55 PM on August 5, 2005


This is a really interesting article, there's not much earth shattering here, I think I've pretty much read it all before, but it's nicely written and comprehensive. This was pretty interesting:
Sleeping well helps keep you alive longer. Among humans, death from all causes is lowest among adults who get seven to eight hours of sleep nightly, and significantly higher among those who sleep less than seven or more than nine hours.
posted by OmieWise at 12:57 PM on August 5, 2005


Very interesting link, thank you for posting it.
posted by voltairemodern at 1:11 PM on August 5, 2005


I sleep more than 9 hours. There's got to be something wrong with me.
posted by vodkadin at 1:12 PM on August 5, 2005


Cats sleep throughout the day. Thbey seem happy with this arrangment. But then they miss Happy Hour.
posted by Postroad at 1:13 PM on August 5, 2005


Neat article. Nothing new, as Omiewise said, but interesting.

Before I quit my previous job, I was having a lot of stress-related problems, and 4-5 days of insomnia wasnt that unusual for me. Took an incident where I found myself walking down the steps of my apartment to my car, getting in, starting it up..... and then realizing I was actually sitting at my computer staring at the screen.

Decided I really needed a break after that....

I couldnt find a link to it or recall the exact title, but I read a book fairly recently about the neurological basis of philosophy and higher order brain function that suggested that sleep, and dreams in particular, were analagous to your brain "dumping out the trash" of the days sensory experiences. Dont take out the trash, and the place fills up with garbage, pretty much making your life miserable.

Seems reasonable to me.
posted by elendil71 at 1:24 PM on August 5, 2005


this article just reinforces my joy at having finally found something that has (crossing fingers) cured my 20-yr chronic insomnia. i haven't felt this good in ages. (and yeah, i don't want to talk about all the problems with this drug yet. i'm still catching up on my sleep.)
posted by RedEmma at 1:25 PM on August 5, 2005


As the weekend is coming, I figure time to make some art! (Assuming that sleep is a lost art.)

If I could just get over that silly need to eliminate waste...
posted by mephron at 1:53 PM on August 5, 2005


Hehe I just noticed the Fight Club quote. Dislike over use of them but it's a perfect description of insomnia.
posted by vodkadin at 2:01 PM on August 5, 2005


The trickiest bits are not getting enough sleep while you're sleeping, which is what happens when you have sleep apnea. I've been cpap-ing for almost 9 months now and it's made a big difference. I'm on an anti-depressant, and I must say that helped out quite a bit as well.
posted by daver at 2:08 PM on August 5, 2005


Funky things happen to you when you don't have adequite sleep. I'm really surprised the military is looking into keeping people awake longer with drugs. You can push yourself longer and harder than you might think, but ultimately your performance starts to suffer. Best thing that works to get me to sleep at night is exercise in the morning.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:31 PM on August 5, 2005


I think it's theorized that the reason sleeping more than 9 hours is correlated with bad health is that when that much sleep is needed it could be associated with various undiagnosed underlying conditions.

Jim Horne from Loughborough University claims that modern society isn't actually sleep-deprived and that the amount of sleep people need has remained relatively constant over recent history. Anecdotally it would definitely appear that there are a lot of very tired people out there.
posted by abcde at 2:50 PM on August 5, 2005


I'm really surprised the military is looking into keeping people awake longer with drugs.

Provigil isn't just a stimulant; it actually seems to suppress the need to sleep. Like many drugs, we have no idea how it actually works. Given the lack of side effects now known for its use as directed, on balance, it seems like a good deal for Air Force pilots who have to remain alert for upwards of 30 hours (and certainly better than dexedrine.) I say this as someone who's far from an automatic booster of all things the military does, or all uses of pharmaceuticals.

In the years to come, we'll see advertising executives/start-up hackers/college students/whoever abusing it, and I wouldn't be surprised to see full-on psychotic breaks from that... but that's a layman's speculation.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:24 PM on August 5, 2005


You know what happens to rats if you sleep-deprive them long enough? They die.

Sleep is a biological imperative, it seems to serve to clear out some cellular byproduct that builds up when a nerve cell is active (current theory, but the specific buildup product has yet to be identified - there are suspects, though). As far as anyone knows right now, the newest crop of anti-sleep drugs either clears this product out or reduces the damage it causes.

Modafinil just jumpstarts some arousal peptides, the same ones that are lacking in narcoleptics. Not essential for wakefulness but very important in maintaining high alert states. (These peptides happen to be the subject of my dissertation.)

Come to think of it, hey, it's almost 11 PM. Sleep time...
posted by caution live frogs at 7:48 PM on August 5, 2005


So, I am killing myself by reading this at this at 1:30 AM?
posted by publius at 10:29 PM on August 5, 2005


<loquacious> my sleeping pattern is stochastic, okay? go masticate some waboflex!
posted by loquacious at 8:30 AM on August 6, 2005


I didn't know that getting up to pee or get water or anything in a lighted room upsets the clock so much...interesting.
posted by amberglow at 8:41 AM on August 6, 2005


Not long ago, a psychiatrist in private practice telephoned associate professor of psychiatry Robert Stickgold, a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in sleep research. He asked whether Stickgold knew of any reason not to prescribe modafinil, a new wakefulness-promoting drug, to a Harvard undergraduate facing a lot of academic work in exam period.... “No—no reason at all not to,” Stickgold told the psychiatrist. “Not unless you think sleep does something.” When people make the unlikely claim that they get by on four hours of sleep per night, Stickgold often asks if they worry about what they are losing. “You get a blank look,” he says. “They think that sleep is wasted time.” Harvard Magazine via previous mefi post
posted by roboto at 9:56 PM on August 23, 2005


oops!
posted by roboto at 9:59 PM on August 23, 2005


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