Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sleeping mechanisms

define: sleep

Definitions of sleep on the Web:
  • a natural and periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is suspended; "he didn't get enough sleep last night"; "calm as a child in dreamless slumber"
  • a torpid state resembling deep sleep
  • be asleep
  • a period of time spent sleeping; "he felt better after a little sleep"; "there wasn't time for a nap"
  • be able to accommodate for sleeping; "This tent sleeps six people"
  • rest: euphemisms for death (based on an analogy between lying in a bed and in a tomb); "she was laid to rest beside her husband"; "they had to put their family pet to sleep"

The Brain of Robert Frost (Norman Norwood Holland, 1988) synthesizes several definitions of sleep and its function in the brain. REM sleep and hippocampal theta rhythms are two definitive characteristics of high-functioning brains.
"He thought about what Beauty had said. She was blank. She was concerned with and worried about Nothing, not unconsciously but with a blissful, detached and deliberate flexing of her mind, like the flick of a fishing rod back and forth without consequence. Talking to her was like talking to an animal or a mirror. Did she dream? Were the bi-directional cortolimbic pathways of her brain populated by the same theta rhythms and REM cycles as his? He could not believe that her mind was indivisible from her brain, unidirectional, as solvable, finite and traversable as a pancreas or an earthworm. But she was delicate and ignorant and shallow. It would take a great deal of effort to re-educate her. That, he thought, was why no one before him had held on to Beauty for very long, and he told himself he could overcome all of that."
A passing away. The kicking of many collective buckets. A murder of crows. 

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