Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Different Kind of Sleep

Sleep comes in different types - restless, deep, naps etc but this week a different use of the word was brought to the forefront when our dog Samson was put to "sleep". It sounds so peaceful but completely fails to relay the permanency of the situation. And while he was "just a dog" he was part of how our family operates. His big, goofy presence was a fixture of our little piece of farmland. But when one says he was put to sleep what one really means is that someone made that decision. Someone told the vet that it had to be done. Someone asked his faithful friend to obey one more command and lie down as the needle was inserted and that someone, as he had done thousands of times before, rubbed his ears. But this time, his life - just - ended.

And someone cried on the drive home struggling with the need to have it done, the loss of a friend, and committing the ultimate betrayal. And someone dug a grave and buried his now sleeping companion.

Rest well Samson, you are missed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where did Sleep come from?

One of the things I've wondered about is where did sleep come from? One commentator to the blog mentioned that is is how God created us - essentially stating we were designed to sleep. I've heard this elsewhere but that idea has never sat real well with me. So after much thought, I've decided that God didn't design sleep - at least initially. Here's something you will never hear from a preacher.

Sin caused Sleep.

You heard it here first. There is no mention of sleep or rest in the Garden of Eden except as a basic anesthetic when Adam has the rib-ectomy. And I don't buy the "well it is taken for granted" argument either. Leading creation scientists argue that Noah's flood was the first time it rained - ever. And in fact there is no mention of rain until the flood. (Which puts Noah's faith at a crazy high level by the way.) Basically, we can't argue that Adam and Eve slept in the Garden of Eden because the Bible doesn't mention it one way or the other. That being said, I can't definitely say that they didn't sleep either. So - next point.

Let's look at the purpose of sleep. Physically is helps up to recover from the day's activities. This is seen in the extreme when we are sick because we sleep more. I recently had a 6 hr sleep at night, was up for 2 hours feeling sick, and then slept 24 out of the next 27 hours. I got better. We also know that children sleep more than adults so there is an aspect of physical growth and perhaps brain development and even memory organization. Tons of ideas exist about how much sleep a person at a given stage of life needs but not why. It is all based on seeing the results of not getting "enough".

If God created everything in the Garden as perfect, and humanity was one of those creation, then there is no reason to think that bodies got sick or broke down beyond the natural rate of self repair. Adam expended energy and refueled with perfect Garden hi-test 100% efficiency. This can be confirmed by looking how old the people lived in the first chapters of Genesis. 900+ is a long time for one body to last - but only by today's standards.

So there you have it. Sin caused sleep.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jet Lag

It is a widely recognized fact that jet lag was invented by Jules Verne.

In his beloved & classic novel Around the World in 80 Days, our hero Phileas Fogg wagers he can accomplish the title's feat and starts an eastward trek. Thinking he has failed returning a scant 5 minutes late, he and his faithful servant Passepartout retire to his home for some well desired rest. The following morning his despair turns to joy as he realizes that he's crossed the International Date Line gaining a day and rushes to just win the wager.

Yup, you heard right, jet lag was invented in 1873 when Aeronautics was the study of balloons.

Tomorrow I return from Thailand. A journey that took Phileas almost half of his 80 days will take 30 hours. However it will also take 13 hours since I leave at 8:15 am and arrive at 9:15 pm. I'm looking forward to being home and the fight with jet lag.

My darling children have been calling be Future Man as Thai time is 12 hours ahead of home. I am therefore in the future and have special powers although they have yet to manifest. This has actually been a convenient time difference as I can connect with them in my morning - their night and vice versa.

But how real is jet lag? I'm running on 4 hours sleep right now so can't I figure out a plan to adapt to the new time zone within 24 hours of being home? Is it that people just don't try, don't plan in advance or even worse, use it as a crutch to get out of stuff they really just don't want to do anyway? I'm not sure but for the first time I'm going to spend 10 minutes and make a plan to return to full functionality within 24 hours.

Jules Verne - you've just met your match.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sleep - The Beginning

Sleep has always fascinated me.

For 6 - 8 hours out of every 24, my body needs to go into come kind of a stand-by mode. I can by force of will or chemical enhancement delay or reduce the sleep need but sooner or later my body will ctrl-alt-delete. Usually at an inconvient time and place. Like in a meeting. Or on the subway.

But think about it. Imagine you had a phone, computer, car, or even an insignificant little ball point pen that needed 8 hours of maintenance out of every 24. It would be an outrage! How many days would it take for you to boil over, and fire that piece of junk in the trash? How many times having to say - " Sorry I really wanted to return your call but the phone was on stand-by for the entire evening" would it take for you to go absolutely nuts? And maybe that attitude is exactly why we don't sleep as much as we need. My body should be the same as my Blackberry - recharge it for 2 hours every third day. Right?

Of course! Why else would 146 Billion cups of coffee be consumed in America alone in 2008. Yes 146,000,000,000 Why else would 5 Hour Energy sell 3.4 million 5 ounce shots of caffeine and uber B vitamins a week? Why else did Red Bull sell over 3 billion cans in 2006 alone. Deep down we know that the 8 hours of shutdown is wrong and we fight it.

One of my university professors called sleep something you do in your spare time.

So welcome to my blog. In it I'll ramble on about my continuing fascination with sleep and will likely mention other things I do in the rest of my "spare time". I plan to make you think, to have you pause and say "huh - I never thought about it that way before" or at least confirm that I'm more of a nut case than you already suspected.

The journey begins. Welcome aboard. Try not to dose off.