Short sleeping increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path toward cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure.
Scientists such as myself have even started lobbying doctors to start “prescribing” sleep.
Society’s apathy toward sleep has, in part, been caused by the historic failure of science to explain why we need it.
suprachiasmatic (pronounced soo-pra-kai-as-MAT-ik)
We require more supple work schedules that better adapt to all chronotypes, and not just one in its extreme.
Caffeine—which is not only prevalent in coffee, certain teas, and many energy drinks, but also foods such as dark chocolate and ice cream, as well as drugs such as weight-loss pills and pain relievers—is one of the most common culprits that keep people from falling asleep easily and sleeping soundly thereafter, typically masquerading as insomnia, an actual medical condition.
Their scientists exposed spiders to different drugs and then observed the webs that they constructed.X Those drugs included LSD, speed (amphetamine), marijuana, and caffeine.
Caffeine is also the only addictive substance that we readily give to our children and teens—the consequences of which we will return to later in the book.
Second, can you function optimally without caffeine before noon? If the answer is “no,” then you are most likely self-medicating your state of chronic sleep deprivation.
Before bed, you diligently set your alarm for 6:00 a.m. Miraculously, however, you woke up at 5:58 a.m., unassisted, right before the alarm.
Have you ever taken a long road trip in your car and noticed that at some point in the journey, the FM radio stations you’ve been listening to begin dropping out in signal strength?
When it comes to information processing, think of the wake state principally as reception (experiencing and constantly learning the world around you), NREM sleep as reflection (storing and strengthening those raw ingredients of new facts and skills), and REM sleep as integration (interconnecting these raw ingredients with each other, with all past experiences, and, in doing so, building an ever more accurate model of how the world works, including innovative insights and problem-solving abilities).
The steady, slow, synchronous waves that sweep across the brain during deep sleep open up communication possibilities between distant regions of the brain, allowing them to collaboratively send and receive their different repositories of stored experience.
The mystery deepens when we consider pinnipeds (one of my all-time favorite words, from the Latin derivatives: pinna “fin” and pedis “foot”), such as fur seals.
I believe a similar story of atypical, but nevertheless present, REM sleep will ultimately be observed in dolphins and whales and seals when in the ocean. After all, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Sleep with both sides of the brain, or sleep with just one side and then switch. Both are possible, but sleep you must. Sleep is non-negotiable.
Both you and the meeting attendees are falling prey to an evolutionarily imprinted lull in wakefulness that favors an afternoon nap, called the post-prandial alertness dip (from the Latin prandium, “meal”).
Apparent from this remarkable study is this fact: when we are cleaved from the innate practice of biphasic sleep, our lives are shortened.
From these clues, I offer a theorem: the tree-to-ground reengineering of sleep was a key trigger that rocketed Homo sapiens to the top of evolution’s lofty pyramid.
Now we can appreciate what I believe to be a classic, self-fulfilling positive cycle of evolution. Our shift from tree to ground sleeping instigated an ever more bountiful amount of relative REM sleep compared with other primates, and from this bounty emerged a steep increase in cognitive creativity, emotional intelligence, and thus social complexity. This, alongside our increasingly dense, interconnected brains, led to improved daily (and nightly) survival strategies. In turn, the harder we worked those increasingly developed emotional and creative circuits of the brain during the day, the greater was our need to service and recalibrate these ever-demanding neural systems at night with more REM sleep.
This phase of development, which infuses the brain with masses of neural connections, is called synaptogenesis, as it involves the creation of millions of wiring links, or synapses, between neurons. By deliberate design, it is an overenthusiastic first pass at setting up the mainframe of a brain. There is a great deal of redundancy, offering many, many possible circuit configurations to emerge within the infant’s brain once born.
As a result of this mismatch, the fetus brain still generates formidable motor commands during REM sleep, except there is no paralysis to hold them back. Without restraint, those commands are freely translated into frenetic body movements, felt by the mother as acrobatic kicks and featherweight punches.
Newborns will normally transition straight into REM sleep after a feeding. Many mothers already know this: almost as soon as suckling stops, and sometimes even before, the infant’s eyelids will close, and underneath, the eyes will begin darting left-right, indicating that their baby is now being nourished by REM sleep.
Sleep accomplishes this by using meaningful tags that have been hung onto those memories during initial learning, or potentially identified during sleep itself.
Sleep powerfully, yet very selectively, boosted the retention of those words previously tagged for “remembering,” yet actively avoided the strengthening of those memories tagged for “forgetting.”
Not without putting too fine a point on it, if you don’t snooze, you lose.
As a result, car crashes caused by drowsiness tend to be far more deadly than those caused by alcohol or drugs. Said crassly, when you fall asleep at the wheel of your car on a freeway, there is now a one-ton missile traveling at 65 miles per hour, and no one is in control.
Approximately 80 percent of truck drivers in the US are overweight, and 50 percent are clinically obese.
One of my true loves is teaching a large undergraduate class on the science of sleep at the University of California, Berkeley.
One night of modest sleep reduction—even just one or two hours—will promptly speed the contracting rate of a person’s heart, hour upon hour, and significantly increase the systolic blood pressure within their vasculature.
Making matters worse, growth hormone—a great healer of the body—which normally surges at night, is shut off by the state of sleep deprivation.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the switch to daylight savings time in March results in most people losing an hour of sleep opportunity. Should you tabulate millions of daily hospital records, as researchers have done, you discover that this seemingly trivial sleep reduction comes with a frightening spike in heart attacks the following day.
The experimental results support the finding that men suffering from sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea associated with snoring, have significantly lower levels of testosterone than those of similar age and backgrounds but who do not suffer from a sleep condition.
Indeed, journaling your waking thoughts, feelings, and concerns has a proven mental health benefit, and the same appears true of your dreams. A meaningful, psychologically healthy life is an examined one, as Socrates so often declared.
It is sleep that builds connections between distantly related informational elements that are not obvious in the light of the waking day. Our participants went to bed with disparate pieces of the jigsaw and woke up with the puzzle complete.
It is possible that lucid dreamers represent the next iteration in Homo sapiens’ evolution.
If alarming your heart, quite literally, were not bad enough, using the snooze feature means that you will repeatedly inflict that cardiovascular assault again and again within a short span of time.
Sleep deprivation degrades many of the key faculties required for most forms of employment.
But insufficient sleep—another harmful, potentially deadly factor—is commonly tolerated and even woefully encouraged. This mentality has persisted, in part, because certain business leaders mistakenly believe that time on-task equates with task completion and productivity. Even in the industrial era of rote factory work, this was untrue.
The irony that employees miss is that when you are not getting enough sleep, you work less productively and thus need to work longer to accomplish a goal.
Of note to those in business, many of these studies report deleterious effects on business outcomes on the basis of only very modest reductions in sleep amount within an individual, perhaps twenty- to sixty-minute differences between an employee who is honest, creative, innovate, collaborative, and productive and one who is not.
One in twenty residents will kill a patient due to a lack of sleep.
what if we moved from a stance of analytics (i.e., here is your past and/or current sleep and here is your past and/or current body weight) to that of forward-looking predictalytics?
Even if this software solution decreases flu infection rates by just a small percentage, it will save hundreds of millions of dollars by way of improved immunization efficiency
Rather, this method of routine sleep tracking would help them identify this issue, and cognitive behavioral therapy could be provided through their smartphones.
As a result, the decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is having a catastrophic impact on our health, our life expectancy, our safety, our productivity, and the education of our children.
One thought on “Highlights for Why We Sleep”
Thanks, i needed this!