Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reel to Reel is Living Rarity

Hypnogram created by Natasha K (2012) Wiki Commons

Before the next cycle of sleep or the moon goes down, another muse inspired by Penelope A. Lewis' The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

One. She reinforces received wisdom that an ideal full cycle of sleep is about eight hours. This doesn't include naps, which are also good for those who enjoy them. Fall too far below the optimum and there will be problems in mental function, with various attendant horrors -- as one might imagine.

None of this seems new, for as long as I can remember. Personally, I know that if I fall below five hours of sleep per cycle, life is going to be substandard (aka crappy) during the next wake cycle. On the other hand, I also know that if I sleep more than ten hours in a cycle, that also leads to grogginess. I try to avoid both ends of the spectrum, but sometimes they happen, given the right alignment of bizarre circumstance.

Two. Every four hours of wake time -- in impact on cognitive functioning -- roughly equals a shot of alcohol. Do the math -- especially after, say, sixteen straight hours of wake time. Hello, long haul drivers wobbling down highways like lunatics. 

Three. About ten percent (10%) of people seem to be genuine "morning larks" and perhaps as many as thirty percent (30%) are -- or are when they can choose their own schedules -- "night owls." Fifty percent (50%) are in between. Another ten percent (10%) must be God knows what. All of these sleep tendencies are apparently genetic (Lewis, pages 150-151). Various drugs, foods, moods and circumstances tilt the game of sleep into wide variations of the above.

Finally for now, Where and how one goes to slumber are important. "As a rule of thumb . . . 61 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit . . . is an optimal room temperature for sleep." (Lewis, page 176). Yes, that's right, crawl under quilted covers and snooze and dream away. Perfect.  But how often do these conditions exist -- such beautiful cool room temperatures?  

O magic sleep! O comfortable bird,
That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind
Till it is hush'd and smooth! O unconfined
Restraint! imprisoned liberty! great key
To golden palaces.

John Keats, "Endymion" (1818)

Today's Rune: Journey. 


Charles Gramlich said...

I too love to sleep in cool temps and pull up the blankets. But down here we don't get that often unless we crank down the ac.

jodi said...

Erik-How interesting! Keats was a wise man-I love love love to sleep!