Chris lives in Austin, TX, where he once shook Willie Nelson's hand.

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25 Responses

  1. 1) This post was super interesting.

    2) Now I am going to fret about all the ways my chronic insomnia is breaking my brain.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Glad you found it interesting. I was hoping someone would!

      If you found it interesting, definitely check out their show. Art is seriously one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, so he always has something interesting to say, even if he’s a bit goofy.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:


      As a layperson, I find sleep one of the most compelling subjects in all of biology, indeed all of science. I think there is an alternative universe in which I am a sleep researcher.Report

    • Avatar morat20 says:

      My wife just got finished with a sleep study. The neurologist gave her a serious workup — I didn’t get as thorough a medical history for my seizure disorder (same practice, in fact — then again my disorder is known, controlled easily, and is basically in yearly ‘Haven’t had one, another year of meds’ mode).

      She did the actual study last weekend — she got three hours, maybe, of regular sleep (if attached to a zillion instruments) and then three hours of sleep with a CPAP.

      I’m looking forward to the doctor calling her with the results and recommendations moving forward, because one half-night with a CPAP left her far more energetic and awake than she’s been in years.

      Her sleep apnea has gotten so bad she’s verging on narcolepsy during the day — she simply doesn’t get enough real sleep.Report

  2. Avatar Glyph says:

    I just feel like this post is mocking me.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Heh… someone should do a study on the memories of people with young infants. I’m suspecting that people in that situation are basically suffering from mild anterograde amnesia from the, um… sleep disturbances.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      You know the old saying that no one would have a second kid if they remembered what it was like when the first one was born? It’s a feature.Report

  3. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    As a chronic hypochondriac with bipolar disorder, my subjective experience is that lack of sleep is a major contributor to depression. Depression and low energy are conjoined twins. That’s one of the reasons exercise helps (at least me), by providing more energy.

    Oddly enough, though, your comment about “the deepest sleep from which it is most difficult to awake” reminded me of a case when I was sleeping soundly, probably in that stage, and absolutely needed to wake up in an hurry. I was camping in the wilderness with friends, and a ferocious storm with an unbelievable downdraft was lifting the side of our tent and threatening to roll us down the hill into the lake (where escape from the tent was uncertain). I remember waking up–sort of–to my friend yelling at me and shaking me. I could tell it was a crisis situation (said friend does not panic in the wilderness), but it took forever to drag myself up to a reasonable level of wakefulness. I’d never experienced anything like that before, nor since.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I believe there’s a fair amount of ongoing research on the potential causal role of sleep disturbances in some of the major symptoms of bipolar as well, though I haven’t read any of it.Report

  4. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    By the way, Chris, are you now a contributor here?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Then you’ve failed. Writing about the mind is, by definition (my own, anyway) not a “mindless” diversion.

        But congrats! I’m glad to see you on board.

        (Interesting, isn’t it, that the least political subblog has the widest ideological diversity in its contributors. There’s a good social lesson there.)Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Thank you. I’m excited about it, mostly because the other folks who write here — Jay, Kazzy, Mike, Glyph, and Pat — are awesome. I admit to feeling pressure, though, because they set such a high standard. I have a post on the evolution of music, for example, that I’m sitting on because I can’t get it just right.Report

  5. Avatar zic says:

    Interesting. I need sleep; a good eight to ten hours a night. And regularly cycled; a couple hours rising too early or getting to bed too late induces migraine; and migraine is not a headache, it’s a brain inflammation; a headache is a symptom of the inflammation.

    I spend a good part of each day trying to solve problems related to my design work. Often, the answers to those problems comes to me while I’m sleeping; and my early morning hours, fresh from sleep, are when I’m most productive because of the problem-solving of sleep. Certainly, my best designs are those that I understood while sleeping.

    Thank you, Chris. The day is busy; so I’ll watch the videos this evening. But a good plug for the value of sleep calls for kudos. There is no wonder our word for dreams, the brain working while we sleep, is a synonym for hopes and aspirations.Report

  6. Avatar Pinky says:

    I’ll check out the episode. If you want a really good study about sleep and mental disorders, watch Fight Club. “When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep, but you’re never really awake.”Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Heh… that’s pretty much true. One of the things that happens when people suffer insomnia is that they think they’re awake, but they’re really in shallow sleep. They don’t so much not sleep as not sleep at the level required to get any of its restorative effects. So they are sorta not asleep and asleep at the same time.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        The zombie apocalypse!Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        The rule of thumb is that people get more sleep than they realize, or to put it more correctly, people overestimate their sleepless stretches at night.

        On the other hand…I spent a night at a sleep clinic once, and actually they were kind enough to let me keep sleeping through late morning. When the doctor asked me how much sleep I though I’d gotten, I said 10 hours. The doctor told me I’d gotten 6. What can happen is during those in-and-out periods the brain simply doesn’t press “record”. This is one of those links between memory and sleep.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        There’s nothing more embarrassing than when you’re lying in bed in your pj’s wired to the monitors and when the cute nurse walks in, your pulse rate audibly increases. Yes, miss, that’s how primative the male brain is. I’m lying in a hospital bed surrounded by cameras, but some part of my brain sees you and thinks I’m gonna get some.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I’m sure there’s a porn movie like that where the guy actually does.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        You’d think that two summers delivering pizza would have taught that part of my brain about what does and does not happen in real life….Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        You know what they say: “Hope springs eternal” something something “breasts”.Report