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Sleeeeep...poppies will make them sleep...

(I was just going to write "sleep" in the subject field, then the Wicked Witch of the West took over.)

Today I added "sleep" to my interests list, not just because I love to sleep, but because I recently finished reading a very interesting book about the subject by a sleep specialist: Dr. William Dement's The Promise of Sleep. If he's to be believed, I now understand more about sleep and sleeping disorders than most primary-care physicians. Here are just a couple interesting things I learned:

Contrary to what I used to believe, it is not possible to "sleep too much". Granted, there are diseases like narcolepsy where it could be argued that the sufferers sleep too much, but I'm talking about the case where you sleep 11 hours on the weekend, and drag yourself around groggily the next day complaining that you "slept too much." Well, what actually happened was you started paying off the sleep debt you accumulated over the busy week, and the reason you're still tired is because you haven't paid it all off yet - and there's no stressful work stuff keeping you alert. When there are no outside causes to wake you up, you sleep as long as you need to. Then your brain wakes you up. If you've gotten all the sleep you need, you won't be able to sleep any more. Simple as that!

Caffeine does work, of course, to perk you up when you're feeling tired during the day. Taking a nap works too--even a 15-minute nap can improve your alertness for the next six hours. But caffeine takes 15-30 minutes to start kicking in; and, similarly, after a nap you're groggy for about 15 minutes before its effects kick in. So here's a cool thing you can do: drink a cup of coffee (or cola or tea), then lie down and take your nap. 15 to 30 minutes later, the caffeine will awaken you, and erase the grogginess you'd ordinarily have after a nap. So you synergistically get the effects of the caffeine and the nap. This suggested by a bona fide sleep M.D. Neat, huh?

Of course, keep your overall caffeine intake low, or you build up a tolerance. But you knew that.

Btw, the number of motorists and pilots who fall asleep while driving or flying? Much higher than I had dreaded. Freaky. Get some sleep, people! For the sake of us all!

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
badgermirlacca
Jul. 19th, 2004 05:39 pm (UTC)
Btw, the number of motorists and pilots who fall asleep while driving or flying? Much higher than I had dreaded. Freaky. Get some sleep, people! For the sake of us all!

If you're thinking you might be a little tired while you're driving, PULL OVER. Don't think, "Oh, well, I'll just wait until I get to the next town, I'm going to take a meal break there anyway."

You might just find yourself doing what I did: falling asleep at the wheel with your cruise control set at 75 mph, and waking up to find a fully loaded van thirty feet in front of you going all of 55 mph.

I ended up rolling the car--there wasn't time to hit the brakes. I'm damned lucky to be alive today. I could have killed three people, including myself.

See a rest stop? USE a rest stop. Do NOT think, "Oh, it's just ten more miles...."
mollyringle
Jul. 19th, 2004 07:52 pm (UTC)
Yikes. I'm glad you're still with us.
Yes, that's the point he repeats more than any other, because driving while drowsy is about the most dangerous sleep-related thing any of us do on a regular basis. So many people have stories like yours, and a lot never live to tell them. When you consider how sleep-deprived teenagers are in general, it becomes quite scary!
wandererrob
Jul. 19th, 2004 06:41 pm (UTC)
Sleep (n): 1. a poor substitute for caffeine
2. that fleeting instant between hits of the snooze button


That is all :)
patientx
Jul. 19th, 2004 11:19 pm (UTC)
This is why I rank sleep as one of the top things in life that I truly love and enjoy.
elycia
Jul. 19th, 2004 11:44 pm (UTC)
Of course, keep your overall caffeine intake low, or you build up a tolerance.

...at which point, if you oversleep, you wake up with a screaming headache from caffiene deprivation. Bler.

(sez one to whom Coca-Cola is unfortunately the Elixir of Life...)
bluesound
Jul. 20th, 2004 01:30 am (UTC)
I try to avoid excess caffiene these days, if I've been really tired, and have been taking lots of caffiene to get through the day at work, I find when the caffiene wears off, I feel so much more tired than I did earlier.

Apparently (according to the paper this morning) caffiene while it may perk you up and increase concentration, it could while doing so be preventing from remembering somethign properly. The article it was part of was about remembering things on that are on the tip of your tongue.
jazzypoet
Jul. 21st, 2004 09:37 pm (UTC)
Fascinating! Thank you for sharing, M. :-D I'll have to try drinking a white chocolate mocha before a power nap sometime soon. ;-)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )