Stop Reading This And Go To Bed!
Here are some of the things I learned while reading David K. Randall's book Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep . . . and while his lessons are often commonsensical, he provides descriptions of how these truisms were scientifically proven:
1) We often dream about what bothers us;
2) We often dream the same thing over and over;
3) While dreams don't have symbolic meaning, they can help us solve actual problems in a creative fashion;
4) Better to sleep than to cram;
5) The West Coast team has an advantage when playing Monday Night Football;
6) You need sleep to synthesize new information;
7) If you are deprived of enough sleep, you die . . . from lack of sleep;
8) Friendly fire deaths in the military are most often caused by fatigue;
9) The biggest hurdle in the military is not technological, it is sleep deprivation;
10) If you didn't get a full night's rest, take a nap;
11) You can kill someone in your sleep, and depending on the interpretation of the law, you might either get life in prison or get off scot-free.
12) Teenagers have different Circadian rhythms than adults;
13) Highschools that pushed their start time to 8:30 had higher SAT scores, better attendance, less fights, and a number of other quantifiable improvements;
14) Some popular prescription sleeping pills don't actually improve sleep all that much, they just give the sleeper temporary amnesia, so that it improves the perception of how one has slept;
15) The electric light, the TV, and the computer are enemies of sleep, because they fool our brains into thinking it is still daylight, and thus ruin our Circadian rhythm;
16) Before the advent of the electric light, the computer, and the TV, humans had two sleeps: a first sleep from when the sun went down until around midnight, then there was an hour or two of wakefulness, where people often ate or fornicated or talked, and then a "second sleep" until morning;
17) Sleep apnea is scary . . .
and the final thing to take away from this book is that sleep is really, really important for humans-- important for our health, our minds, and our stress levels-- yet even though we know this, married couples usually share a bed that is too small for the two of them and sleep together despite snoring, flatulence, kicking, blanket-stealing, late night reading, and general disruptions . . . and studies found that women primarily do this because they want to feel safe and that men do it because you never know when you might get lucky, and nothing improves your luck more than proximity.