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The Science of Sleep

July 16, 2009

Gods are sleeping

Originally uploaded by prakhar

Working from home today, I decided to listen to the fantastic radio program This American Life. Their newest episode deals with sleep disorders, sleep invaders and sleep phobias. It is a fascinating look into common ailments that affect our loneliest hours.

My brother sleepwalks and talks. He is three years older than me. Ever since I was little, I remember him sitting up in his bed and mumbling jibberish, or ask a question to me I knew nothing about. It happened often enough that I got used to it and simply told him to go back to sleep. He would then quietly lay back down.

My father told me a story of when my brother, at 8 or 9 years old, got up from his bed, went downstairs, opened the front door and proceeded to walk down the street. My father, who luckily fell asleep on the couch that night, caught up with him and slowly led him back to the house. I don’t know if anything that dramatic happened again, but my brother continues to sleepwalk today. Recently, he went to the doctor to attempt to find a cure or, at the very least, a cause. It may be stress or a chemical imbalance, or a number of other factors.

We are the most vulnerable when we are asleep, lacking complete control of our bodies and thought processes. It is a fascinating balance between fear and comfort; the fear of letting go and the comfort of release. Perhaps sleep disorders are simply gradations between the two.

Good Night :)

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