Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sleep Study

Well, tonight should be an interesting experience. I've apparently had sleep apnea for some time now. For those that don't know, sleep apnea is when you mysteriously stop breathing for as much as 10 to 15 seconds while you're asleep. You never actually wake up, but it keep you from going into a deep sleep. The result is that you wake up feeling like you've not had much sleep at all. I had surgery on my nose to straighten it out back in March (I've broken my nose several times), and while things are much better, it's still not where it should be. So, the ENT doctor wants to do a sleep study to see what's going on.

Apparently they are going to hook me up to a bunch of wires and sensors while I sleep at their clinic tonight. I'm not at all sure how I'm going to be able to sleep connected to a bunch of machines, but we'll see how that goes. I have to go over there about 9 PM tonight, but they don't want me to actually go to sleep until my usual bedtime (around 11:30 or so). That means I'll have two hours or more of uninterrupted writing time tonight, so I'm not looking at this as an all-bad thing!

I've always been fascinated with sleep. Everything sleeps, but why? Why does your body shut down after 36 hours or so? Dreams and why they occur are interesting, but what I find fascinating is why we need to sleep at all. I saw an episode of the Twilight Zone in which a group of Vietnam vets (this was the new version obviously) had a gland removed from their brain during the war. The result was that they no longer felt the need for sleep. The idea was that if they didn't sleep, they'd be more agressive. What I found interesting was the idea of how much more time you have available in your life if you don't need ot sleep. One of the men commented that it was like living a double lifetime. I think it would quite cool to experience this first hand, but of course, since we don't know why we need to sleep in the first place, we have no idea what the side effects would be. There is a lot of raw material for some good science fiction short stories there, though!

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