Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

A few interesting things about sleep

July 13, 2019

I am reading an interesting book, titled Why We Sleep by Mathew Walker. I’d like to share with you a few things I learned.

  1. Inside your brain is something called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It controls your circadian rhythm, that is, your sleep cycle.
  2. When you fly to a different time zone, the suprachiasmatic nucleus must readjust to the new night/day pattern. But it’s a slow process. For every day you are in a different time zone, your suprachiasmatic nucleus can only readjust by one hour. So, if you fly from the east coast to London (+5 hours) it will take your body 5 days to readjust.
  3. Scientists have studied airplane cabin crews who frequently fly on long-haul routes and have little chance to recover. Two alarming results have emerged. First, parts of their brains—specifically those related to learning and memory—had physically shrunk, suggesting the destruction of brain cells caused by the biological stress of time-zone travel. Second, their short-term memory was significantly impaired. They were considerably more forgetful than individuals of similar age and background who did not frequently travel through time zones. Other studies of pilots, cabin crew members, and shift workers have reported additionally disquieting consequences, including far higher rates of cancer and type 2 diabetes than the general population.

Last night I taped my mouth shut

January 10, 2018

I heard that taping the mouth shut will yield deeper sleep. Supposedly, mouth-breathing (and snoring) while sleeping is not conducive to deep sleep. I slept well, I think. I seemed to be more aware of my dreams. The tape that I used is called Somnifix. A good thing is the tape came right off, painlessly, in the morning. And it wasn’t uncomfortable to wear at night.

Measure your height first thing in the morning

December 26, 2017

A little known fact is that we are all actually taller first thing in the morning than we are before we go to bed at night. This comes down to our discs. The discs in between each of our vertebrae are packed with very concentrated protein chains that love water. In scientific terms, this means they are “hydrophilic.” When we lie horizontally, the discs fill with fluid and gently push the vertebrae away from one another, lengthening the spine. The reason our backs are often stiff in the morning is that the discs are so full of fluid, like water balloons ready to burst. When we get up in the morning and our spines are once again vertical, the excess fluid in each disc begins to seep out and an hour or two after rising from bed we have returned to our normal heights. This natural ebb and flow is healthy and is what allows the discs to obtain nutrition.

The Back Mechanic, by Stuart McGill, Ph.D.

Sleep more

August 9, 2017

I heard a few days ago that LeBron James slept 12 hours per day during the NBA playoffs.

I remember in grad school my advisor slept 10 hours per day.

Last week I heard a doctor talk about sleep flushing away plaque in the brain, which is essential for preventing Alzheimer’s.

Recently I increased my sleep from 8 hours per night to 8 ½ hours per night. That has been very helpful. I think that I will increase to 9 hours per night (or more).

What time do birds go to bed?

February 5, 2014

I got a bird feeder for Christmas. (Yea!)

Since hanging it outside I have observed that the birds come to eat at the feeder between roughly 8 am and 4 pm. I infer from that that they are asleep the rest of the time. Is that true?

I got the following message from a friend. It is both amusing and thought-provoking:

OK…but why do you infer that if a bird must be sleeping if it is not eating at your feeder? Might a bird have other activities to do during its waking hours?

And maybe the time a bird comes to your feeder has as much to do with when it is safe/convenient to do so as when the bird is awake/hungry. If I were a bird and I were awake and hungry, I still might avoid your feeder if there was a hungry cat nearby.

And what does it mean for a bird to sleep? Why assume that birds sleep is similar to humans sleep. I have read that birds sleep in short bursts. I have also read that birds can let parts of their brain sleep while other parts of their brain remain active. And I have read that birds can control their brain activity and effectively shut down parts of their brain (“go to sleep”) at will. That would be a pretty neat trick.

Improve your memory by getting more sleep

May 18, 2008

Over the years I have been getting less and less sleep, in the attempt to cram more and more stuff into every day.  I believe that the consequence of this is my memory has been getting worse and worse.  Recently my Mother sent me an article which states that our memory connections are made during hours 6-8 of sleep.  I haven’t been sleeping long enough to allow the memory connections to be made!

I’ve decided that I cannot do everything that I would like to do in life.  I have given up some things so that I can get more sleep.  I now make sure that I get 8 hours sleep every night.  I am shooting for 8.5 hours each night.

I must say, as soon as I started getting more sleep I noticed a marked improvement in my memory.