Monday, May 12, 2014

The Secret World of Sleep

We spend a third of our lives asleep -- why not study and muse more about sleeping, the weirdness of it? That's my strategy and I'm sticking to it. Hence, now I'm into Penelope A. Lewis' The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), which works nicely with another tome I posted about recently, Kat Duff's The Secret Life of Sleep (Atria Books, Beyond Words, 2014).  

Earlier touched on: differences between deep slow wave sleep and more fitful rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, with dream cycles changing in form and sophistication over many hours of sleep-time. We dream, we rest, we take a break from walking or driving around and navigating social spaces during "wake" (as Lewis calls being awake time). 

We catch a glimpse at the importance of patterned sleeping cycles when they are denied due to lack of "enough" sleep:

". . . sleep deprivation distorts your emotions . . . often accompanied by decreases in willingness to think and act proactively, control impulses, feel positive about yourself, empathize with others, and generally use emotional intelligence. Sleep deprived people are more easily frustrated, intolerant, unforgiving, uncaring, and self-absorbed . . ."   (Lewis, The Secret World of Sleep, page 20). 

Lewis looks at sleep and dream states through the scrim of science and empirical evidence, whereas Duff takes a more holistic "humanities" approach, but together they both inspire consideration. Indeed, if our whole lives are worth something, certainly the third of our lives we devote to altered sleep states are worthy of some attention, yes?

Today's Rune: Gateway.     

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