Sarah Hird answers the question, Why do Mammals Sleep? A winner is announced in the SMBC-inspired 2014 Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses. [more inside]
A recent study indicates that scientists may have found the first real mechanical reason we need to sleep.
The Philosophical Implications of the Urge to Urinate: Our Sense Of Free Will Diminishes When We Need To Pee Or Desire Sex.
You're not as busy as you say you are. "According to sociologist John Robinson, or better known as “Father Time” to his colleagues, most people have around 40 hours of free time per week." [more inside]
Last week, American doom/stoner metal band Sleep released a single entitled 'The Clarity', their first new recording in over sixteen years, via the 2014 Adult Swim Singles series. [more inside]
Here's six minutes of glorious up-close video of a cockroach being surgically removed from a man's ear. No idea how it got in there, but I guess that's what the beauty of imagination is for.
What did Mozart do all day? A poster breaks down the daily habits and self-reported routines of hundreds of composers, painters, writers, scientists, etc to illustrate how people find the time to construct their work.
Blue light may be bad for your health, especially at night. You may want to click over to the grey or the green before you go to sleep, or, god forbid, turn off the technology!
In Dreams is an experimental documentary that visualises the dreams of ordinary individuals...
Sleepy, sleepy ostriches. According to this PLOS One article, "the amount of REM sleep in ostriches is greater than in any other bird." Here's a simplified article about that study, featuring video of three of the ostriches from that study experiencing [well-labelled] slow-wave and REM sleep. Here's one tired ostrich, succumbing to slumber around 0:50. And here's the cute baby ostrich who just can't stay awake. If this all's making you snoozy, you may need an ostrich pillow.
In a nutshell, this new study provides evidence that we need a certain amount of sleep every night, because the brain takes this time to rid itself of toxic metabolic byproducts, which would otherwise accumulate in the brain and impair brain function, destroy neurons — and potentially cause neurodegenerative disorders.
An animated comic that tries to capture what it was like to fall asleep in the car at night as a child. (via)
"Over the years, napping has gotten a bad rap, becoming a sign of laziness or weakness, especially during the workday. Yet, according to a growing body of scientific research, napping can actually be a very good and very smart thing to do. How so? Napping can help refresh the mind, make you more creative, boost your intelligence, and even help you live a longer, healthier life. Studies over the past decade have confirmed all of this and more, and napping is slowly gaining acceptance as a part of a healthy lifestyle, even in some corporate offices. Whether you're ready to jump on the nap-happy bandwagon or just learn more about the research being done on the practice, read on as we share the science behind the need to nap, interesting research into napping, and a scientist-approved method for taking the ideal nap."
The Great Hog-Eating Confederacy
Early Southerners ate a rather limited and unvarying diet. At table the famished guest seldom found more than bacon, corn pone, and coffee sweetened with molasses. Pioneering sociologist Harriet Martineau complained that “little else than pork, under all manner of disguises” sustained her during her visit to the American SouthFor the most part, slaves observed the same diet as poor white farmers. Though many kept gardens, and thus supplemented their rations of pork and corn with a wide variety of vegetables, they had otherwise little opportunity to augment their diet.. Another traveler griped that that he had “never fallen in with any cooking so villainous.” A steady assault of “rusty salt pork, boiled or fried … and musty corn meal dodgers” brought his stomach to surrender. Rarely did “a vegetable of any description” make it on his plate, and “no milk, butter, eggs, or the semblance of a condiment” did he once see.Christine Baumgarthuber is a writer for The New Inquiry and runs the blog The Austerity Kitchen. [more inside]
The science of sleeplessness. "Wolf-Meyer refers to the practice of going to bed at around eleven o’clock at night and staying there until about seven in the morning as sleeping 'in a consolidated fashion.' Nowadays, adults are expected to sleep in this manner; anything else—sleeping during the day, sleeping in bursts, waking up in the middle of the night—is taken to be unsound, even deviant. This didn’t use to be the case." [more inside]
"Although IMDb warns that short descriptions of less than ten lines may not be adequately detailed, I believe that a longer description is probably not reasonably possible. I think I have included everything that bears mentioning." Andy Warhol's Eat. Also Kiss. Also Sleep.
Anna Sumner’s craving for sleep began when she was an 18-year-old high school senior. She thought nothing of it. When it followed her to college, she blamed it on stress. She was working so hard, she told herself, her body just needed the extra rest. But it was more than that. She would chose naps over eating lunch, working out, or being with friends. Every night after dinner, she came back to her dorm room to sleep. If her parents called on those evenings, her roommate would cover for her, telling them she had gone to the library.
"Even if your alarm clock is one of those Zen alarm clocks with melodious metal chimes, or it's your phone playing New Age music at gradually increasing volume, an alarm clock is still not offering you anything." MeFi's own dansdata wakes up to a proper cuppa.
Sleep deprivation making you feel jumpy? It's not in your head. Human cortical excitability increases with time awake. [Abstract and link to full paper.]
Whoever claims to be on a perpetual polyphasic schedule must be either suffering from a sleep disorder, or be a liar, a mutant, or a person with a mulishly stubborn iron-will that lets him plod through the daily torture of sleep deprivationPolyphasic Sleep: Facts and Myths | Polyphasic Sleep: 5 Years Later!
Top 10 cutest photos of sleeping cats. UK charity Cats Protection has released its top ten pictures of sleeping cats, to coincide with National Sleep Awareness Week. [more inside]
Adults needing 8 consecutive hours of sleep every night is a common, generally unquestioned bit of medical wisdom that we are all familiar with. Is it really true?
Getting babies to sleep is a topic of great interest to all parents (see previously). One trick that has been shown to work is white noise. Although many opt for a white noise machine, other parents swear by radio static, vacuum cleaners, dryers, or a running faucet. Now, of course, you can send your cutie to slumberland without wasting nearly so much electricity or water, all thanks to youtube. [more inside]
The Phantom Menace of Sleep Deprived Doctors: Young doctors are no longer working long, stupor-inducing hours. So why aren’t hospitals any safer?
For tired parents everywhere, the not-even-released yet Go the F**k to Sleep, is a already a best seller on Amazon.com, probably due to its viral release on the Internet. You can find the pdf if you use your Google-Fu and definitely worth the search. I've ordered my copy.
Featuring 2052 performers from 58 countries, I give you Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0 performing Sleep. [SLYT]
1-3 percent of the population may be natural "short sleepers" who function well on only a few hours sleep. Not only are these people both night owls AND early birds, they function perfectly happily on a short amount of sleep, without caffeine, without drowsiness. They're more energized, multitask more, are thinner, and are very cheerful and resilient. Sounds like Beggars In Spain wasn't too far off...
"When you say to a child 'Bedtime, it's bedtime now' that's not what the child hears. What the child hears is 'Go and lie down in the dark. For hours. And don't move. I'm locking the door now."
Scottish teenagers to receive sleep training in schools. [BBC] Resources to teach teenagers how to get enough sleep are to be offered to schools across Scotland.
Parasomnia Pseudo-Suicide? Family and friends of designer Tobias Wong speculate that his suicide may have been linked to a severe sleepwalking disorder. Parasomnias can result in weight gain, severe injury or criminal charges*. The theorized phenomenon of parasomnia pseudo-suicide adds new terror to an old myth. *previously
An essay on sleep and loss by Bill Hayes, author of Sleep Demons. The essay is part of a NYT series All-nighters, which has also included work from Mefi favorite Christoph Niemann (previously) and other sleep deprived contributors.
Sleep problems? There are a slew of new products out there that purport to help people improve the quality of their sleep by tracking things like brainwaves and movement. Thomas Goetz (who seems to have written the book on these types of things), offers a glimpse into a handful of the more well known offerings.
Forget cosmetic upgrades—Air New Zealand has been working on improving the actual flight experience, first introducing In-Flight Concierge Service, and now, the Skycouch - a row of seats that convert to a bed—in Economy Class.
via mathowie's delicious
via mathowie's delicious
Good Night and Tough Luck "Getting a good night’s sleep is actually a lot more complicated than one would think." An amusing look at the problems involved in getting a good night's sleep.
"Common images are bearded, goblin-like demons laughing or whispering sinister speech, a faceless girl (usually covering her face with hair, moving around in bed moaning and feeling my body), hands appearing from the wall and attempting to strangle me. A hung man talking in the corner of the room, and some of the most bizarre experiences may include up to a dozen 'critter' entities (think Gremlins movie) laughing and talking about me. The environment tends to feel like a holographic dollhouse, the experience peaks and then the hallucinations mysteriously vanish when I regain control of my body."- The bizarre world of sleep paralysis, a form of hypnagogia and root of many folkloric figures such as succubi or incubi and the night hag.
"Web professionals are often expected to be “always on”—always working, absorbing information, and honing new skills. Unless our work and personal lives are carefully balanced, however, the physical and mental effects of an "always on" life can be debilitating." Burnout: Running On Empty [more inside]
On jetlag, and how to beat it. Reconfiguring your body clock. There and back again.
To Sleep Perchance to Dream : an exhibition of 17th century sleep-related paraphernalia at the Folger Shakespeare Library offers insight into attitudes towards sleep and dreams. Insomnia? Try eating some lettuce.
Rich Jones has been told that he talks in his sleep quite a bit. The next logical step, of course, was to record his sleep talk and post it on the web.
Do you ever wake up feeling like a cannon just went off inside your head? If so, you may have Exploding Head Syndrome. People affected by this parasomnia experience it as a loud bang coming from inside the head, while sleeping. Think exploding bomb, gunshots, cymbal crashes. Sometimes there's a muscle twitch, or even a bright flash of light. Doctors theorize that stress may be a factor. (Also, it's "The Internet's Newest and Most Exciting New Band!")
Crimes of Necessity On Oct. 14 2008 the B.C. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision declaring that, due to the lack of adequate homeless shelters, it was unconstitutional for the City of Victoria to prevent homeless individuals from erecting temporary structures for protection from the elements. The ruling culminates a multi-year campaign by David Arthur Johnston to establish the "right to sleep". As the decision is based on an interpretation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the ruling applies to every municipality in Canada. In the wake of the decision, Victoria City Council passed a resolution which stipulates that such shelters must be removed by 7:00 each morning. [more inside]
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