Category: History

Q & A: Insomnia and Polyphasic Sleep

I just read an interesting article about alternative sleep cycles. The writer says the idea that humans need to sleep a block of 8 hours at night is wrong. Other sleep patterns are just as good and may be more natural.

So are there any alternative sleep patterns worth trying out?

A Tip for the Tired and Wired

I recently joined a friend to watch Cloud Atlas at her home. A bad choice for evening entertainment! This is a movie where evil is lurking around every corner.

New research on laboratory mice suggests why arousing activities have such a strong impact on sleep.

Insomnia and the Sleep Switch

So what exactly is the “sleep switch,” and how might it figure in insomnia?

This sleep-regulating center in the brain was actually discovered almost 100 years ago.

A Sleep Switch in the Brain

“Scientists Report the Discovery of a Brain ‘Switch’ That Brings On Sleep,” announced the headline of a New York Times article on January 12, 1996. The news marked the beginning of my quest to get to the bottom of my insomnia.

Countdown to a Good Night’s Sleep

Scientists have never found a way to determine how much sleep each person needs, so judgments about sleep need remain subjective.

But there is quite a range in sleep ability, or how much sleep people report that they get.

The insomnia experienced by Mao may have been a circadian rhythm disorder

Most Famous Insomniacs: A Contender from the East

Every list of famous insomniacs is full of artists and actors, as well as historical giants such as Napoleon, Churchill, and Lincoln. Every person on the list is of European descent.

But research on insomnia is now coming out of the East, suggesting that insomnia is a phenomenon in Asian cultures too.

Night and Sleep Don’t Mix

Sleep scientists are still trying to figure out why 10 to 15 percent of us have trouble sleeping at night. Normal sleepers are in the majority; people with insomnia are the deviants.

But is insomnia really so odd in view of all the crimes and disasters that have occurred at night?

Awake in the Middle of the Night

The bed—so sleep experts maintain—should only be used for sleep and sex. People who can’t sleep should get up and do something: iron shirts, look at picture books, plan a backyard stupa. Anything, for God’s sake, but toss and turn among the sheets.

I know I should follow this advice. But every fiber of my body cries out for staying flat on my back.