Friday, June 16, 2006

In The Arms of Morpheus

I forget the exact mythology and who Morpheus was, but I do remember the name made its way into modern nomenclature as the drug morphine. The expression, the arms of Morpheus, refers to being asleep.

Why we sleep and why we need to sleep is not something science fully understands. I remember how in escape and evasion school (in the Air Force, before going over to SE Asia) we were told that if captured we might not be tortured in the usual way (now, there's a cause of optimism). Instead, we were told, we would probably be awakened every time we fell asleep and that within a day or two we would tell them anything we knew. I had mixed reactions to this. As a doctor, I was used to being roused at any and all hours. My fear, however, was that (again, being a doctor) I had no state secrets to spill. But, I digress again. The important point here is the importance of sleep.

My personal theory is that at night, when we sleep, the left brain conks out (see previous blog on creative thinking). This frees the creative right brain from the bossy left brain and allows the right brain to play. Free of logical constraints, the right brain puts bits and pieces of our thoughts into all sorts of combinations we know as dreams. When this happens, our eyes actually move to follow the action. This phenomena, called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, can be detected by someone watching the sleeping person and knowing they are dreaming. Deprived of this REM sleep, we go nuts...and spill the state secrets we know.

That brings us to insomnia. Not the chronic type, but those once-in-a-while times when I spring awake for no reason and cannot get back to sleep. How frustrating to look at the clock and out the window and realize I don't need or want to be awake for another 3-4 hours. What is one to do at such a time?

I could read...don't feel like it. Watch an all news's yesterday's news. Movie? Nuts. Wait, I have it.

Misery loves company. I want someone to talk to or at. They don't have to answer...I prefer that they didn't. I just want someone upon whom I can dump my stream of consciousness while I wait for the morning paper and the eastern sky to lighten.

And, dear reader, if I had it to do all over, I would do it all over you.

Paddle safe...and sleep well.


1 comment:

JohnB said...

Sleep I did, now I'm awake and fully energized--I've read my morning blog from Silbs,I've read the Journal (I know it's now a hyphenated name), I've had my morning coffee (2 cups), and I did 30 minutes of rolling around on the floor stretching this old body into more pilable shape.

Today I have a long workday (at least 12 hours, maybe as many as 16), only two things I have to look forward to is the end of the long work day, and a mid-way break to enjoy lunch with my good friend and blogger. . .silbs!