Question: What do we have in common with fruit flies?
Answer: Sleep. (And morning breath. And those crazy wings.)
Sleep is the state of rest characterized by a drop in voluntary movement and a decreased reaction to external stimuli. Not to be confused with unconsciousness, which involves complete lack of responsiveness and is illustrated by a comatose state. Not to be confused with a lack of a conscience which is illustrated by an overzealous President who lies to everybody and his white-haired mother in order to launch one of the most hopeless wars in global history.
While we sleep we are actually restoring our organs and tissues on a cellular level. Which sounds like really hard work and explains why we often wake with puffy molecules. Our individual sleep patterns are determined by a combination of things, such as external stimuli, various hormones, and our brain stem – which looks exactly like this except with a brain attached.
During sleep we pass through many cycles, including:
This is the onset of the sleep cycle and is described as drowsy sleep. In this stage there is a decrease in muscle tone and a fading awareness of the external environment. This stage is also known as Intermediate Microeconomics with Mrs. Hofstetter.
Stage 2 occupies over half of our total sleep time. In this stage our awareness of the external environment disappears and our muscles relax completely.
Stage 3 is a transitory stage delivering us into our deepest most restful stage of sleep known as Stage 4. Also known as Once You Become A Mother This Stage Disappears Completely.
And then there’s REM sleep:
This stage of sleep most often occurs toward the end of our sleep cycle and is associated with dreaming. REM is also known for its involuntary movement:
We need sleep because it boosts our immune and memory functions. But how much sleep do we need? Recent studies suggest that too much sleep – more than eight hours – delivers the same side effects as too little sleep – which is considered less than six hours. These side effects include: waking unrefreshed, memory loss, depressive symptoms, trouble concentrating – and an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
According to all the recent studies, the sleeping sweet spot seems to be between 7 to 8 hours a night.
Except: the University of California conducted a six-year study involving more than a million men and women, and those results suggest that people who sleep exactly seven hours a night have the best mortality rate.
The National Sleep Foundation did not support this study, stating that they usually recommend eight hours of sleep a night and they expressed worry that the new results would confuse people. Especially tired people.
“We need more studies,” said a representative of the National Sleep Foundation. “We need deeper research and a lot of thought before deciding to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…”
These Sleep Studies Are Further Justification For The Fact That When Bossy Sleeps She Often Dreams Of Napping.
meleah rebeccah saysMarch 17, 2008 at 10:33 am
I would love to sign up for one of the new sleep studies. One that involves 10-12 hours of sleep. (But I would really sign up for anything that gets me out of having to go to work.)
ps:Happy St Patrick’s Day!
Greta saysMarch 17, 2008 at 10:35 am
See, now when I first read that, I thought it said “sleeping sweat spot.” Cuz that would TOTALLY be what I lay in if I do, in fact, ever get 7-8 hours of sleep in a row.
ritabby saysMarch 17, 2008 at 10:37 am
Scientist Bossy. Excellent!
The Mom Bomb saysMarch 17, 2008 at 10:49 am
This was very informative. Unfortunately, my sleep cycles are disrupted by restless leg syndrome (RLS). My RLS is characterized by the hard kicks I give to my husband, since he snores like a beast.
By the way, I am giggling at your Google Ad:”Learn How to Have Unlimited Numbers of Women Literally BEG For Your Body, No Matter Your Looks, Age or Income!”
I’m wondering what figurative begging is.
Philly saysMarch 17, 2008 at 10:54 am
Looks like you watched 60 minutes last night !
Momo Fali saysMarch 17, 2008 at 11:00 am
Since I became a Mother, I wouldn’t know seven hours of sleep if it hit me in the pachenga.
Dara saysMarch 17, 2008 at 11:03 am
hmmmm…sleep. how I miss it. 2 kids under 6 years of age + 11 week old still nursing every 2 hours + snoring husband + fat cat (yep, everyone is in the bed) – a blanket = ONE VERY WELL RESTED MOMMA.
actually, I do get 7 hours of sleep a night. I just have to start at 6 PM.
notjustbarbra saysMarch 17, 2008 at 11:25 am
Bossy, you are so clever!
Deb on the Rocks saysMarch 17, 2008 at 11:26 am
Who amongst us, woman or man wouldn’t sleep with Michael Stipe?
RuthWells saysMarch 17, 2008 at 11:42 am
I was waiting for the GWB = Fruit fly metaphor to play itself out… maybe tomorrow?
Michael saysMarch 17, 2008 at 11:46 am
I get 7-8 hours on a fairly consistent basis. Why? Because once I am out nothing will wake me, not puppies, not children crying, not the incessant beatings by my significant other to respond to puppies or crying children(although I do wake up sore..) I’ve often wondered if something is wrong with me, but now I see there is nothing wrong with me, just with everyone else. Thanks Bossy!
MamaMo saysMarch 17, 2008 at 11:50 am
Brilliantly funny post (as usual) – “lack of conscience” indeed.
Jami saysMarch 17, 2008 at 12:07 pm
Mrs. Hofstetter must have moved after I graduated. That woman was Ambien with frizzy hair.
Laura saysMarch 17, 2008 at 12:07 pm
I usually need 7-8 hours and I am a heavy sleeper. I love to nap also-it’s the best!
joeinvegas saysMarch 17, 2008 at 12:24 pm
Hmm, let’s hope you don’t continue this study while driving next week.
Kristen saysMarch 17, 2008 at 12:27 pm
Sleep is the new sex.
My husband doesn’t believe me.
Mr Farty saysMarch 17, 2008 at 12:50 pm
According to a recent study, Mr Farty needs another five minutes…
Foolery saysMarch 17, 2008 at 12:55 pm
Looks like Michael Stipe has had plenty of sleep — in those clothes. In an alley somewhere.
SayWhat? saysMarch 17, 2008 at 12:58 pm
Kristen – I will back you up on that!!
My favorite is the REM sleep phase – if we all get enough sleep we will all be “Shiny Happy People” Amazing how that works.
I love going to Kindergarten via the Internet with Mrs. Bossy as the teacher.
Maria R saysMarch 17, 2008 at 1:16 pm
I couldn’t be one of the first posters because I was ASLEEP!! THat’s right mommy’s of toddlers! My daughter has entered a beautiful stage in which the aforementioned hormones and sleep needs are increasing. My deliverance is nigh!!
Meanwhile, I felt this a very informative post however, I believe Michael Stipe to be in a continuous state of unconsciousness (having, as bossy pointed out, nothing to do with real sleep) in which he has RBS (restless body syndrome). Every once in awhile he twitches, comes alive and sings beautiful songs. But he’s ‘mostly dead’. Could you write about ‘mostly dead’ next time, bossy? There are a lot of people out there who are, you know. You might need that research for your EXCELLENT ROAD TRIP.
David saysMarch 17, 2008 at 1:28 pm
Wow, I always thought 7 hours was under-performing in the sleep department and quite frankly, I usually hit a wall in the afternoon if I only get 7. 8 is my goal but I usually have to settle for 7.
dgm saysMarch 17, 2008 at 1:31 pm
Seven hours for optimal mortality? Long live me!
And Deb on the Rocks: I for one will enthusiastically bow out of sleeping with Michael Stipe. You can have my turn. He’s … creepy. 🙂
Alex Elliot saysMarch 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm
Bossy, I just love your posts! You are so funny. I particularly liked your example of lack of conscience and the bit about Intermediate Microeconomics. I’m still laughing at that.
Heather saysMarch 17, 2008 at 3:01 pm
I would like to volunteer for a sleep study. One that measures the effects of sleeping ten hours a night for at least three months in a row.
Ree saysMarch 17, 2008 at 3:16 pm
Did Bossy teach her brilliant Columbia-bound son through this method? Can Bossy put together a years worth of High School Chemistry in posts for my 16-year-old?
Jessica saysMarch 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm
When my son decides to sleep all night I am so going to learn how to sleep again.
Surcie saysMarch 17, 2008 at 3:58 pm
The tiny band photo on the sleep printout thingie is classic Bossy! Hilarious.
The Domestic Goddess saysMarch 17, 2008 at 4:35 pm
Yes, alas, I have not seen Stage 4 in about eight years. Sigh. Those were the days.
I’m looking forward to meeting REM tonight.
mr.lootiatto saysMarch 17, 2008 at 4:37 pm
I wonder how OBAMA functions so brilliantly on very little sleep.
peppermint T saysMarch 17, 2008 at 4:46 pm
Sorry, I like nine hours. Ten is better. If that’s going to give me heart disease, too bad.
Angie saysMarch 17, 2008 at 4:53 pm
Unfortunately, my sleep deprivation these days is due to my own blogosphere infatuation and cannot be blamed on my sleeping children. What is my problem?
sparx saysMarch 17, 2008 at 6:51 pm
So THAT’s what the Frog’s snoring is about… helping me to live just that much longer…
operagal saysMarch 17, 2008 at 6:55 pm
how about a sleep study that prevents nightmares?
ilana (Helen) Pengelly saysMarch 17, 2008 at 7:47 pm
I heard that snoring can cause you to awaken feeling like you’ve never slept (That’d be me) or even Die in your sleep (potentially the throttled husband). But seriously between my baby stomped bladder,cats that NEED attention and my DH’s squeeze box I haven’t seen hide nor hair of REM (neither the band nor the sleep) in 13 years. Oh God that’s 13 years! Never the less Deb on the Rocks can have my turn too. Ewwhh.
bridget saysMarch 17, 2008 at 7:47 pm
youy must watch the longest 60 minutes segment ever with Leslie Stoll. I’m still bored.
Chesapeake Bay Woman saysMarch 17, 2008 at 7:52 pm
Morning breath and crazy wings? Check.
Puffy molecules? Two Checks.
Unrefreshed, depressive confusion? Check.
But, Bossy, what IS this thing you call Sleep?
MizFit saysMarch 17, 2008 at 8:10 pm
and how much did we love the fruit fly sex?
MizFit (who would happily take more sleep if her toddler with give it up to her…)
Swistle saysMarch 17, 2008 at 8:14 pm
Score: “Read aloud to husband, and he laughed.” Good one!
Noelle saysMarch 17, 2008 at 8:24 pm
I constantly exist in Stage 1. Also, to me, it sounds like “best mortality rate” means that the 7 hour people died the coolest deaths, like skydiving accidents and parade float mishaps.
MammaLoves saysMarch 17, 2008 at 8:44 pm
Sleep. My long-lost love.
Adorable Girlfiend saysMarch 17, 2008 at 8:56 pm
I am going to find me a way to sleep in my own bed at my own house and get paid. I know that I can find a super duper fancy way that nobody has yet to think of.
Manic Mommy saysMarch 17, 2008 at 9:16 pm
How old do your children have to be before you actually dream that they are crying, and wake up to check, only to find them sound asleep?
Also, the REM graphic – hysterical!
Sleep is absolutely the new sex. Off to bed!
Aliaspice saysMarch 17, 2008 at 10:03 pm
Well tonight I’m going to dream about Michael Stipe and that freakish hand/arm thing he does while jumping.
JCK saysMarch 18, 2008 at 12:48 am
Yes, unfortunately my sleep patterns are determined by a 4 year old external stimuli…
It cannot be overrated. If only I could progress to Stage 2…
Kelley saysMarch 18, 2008 at 1:06 am
Lack of sleep also causes you to wear odd shoes to work. My son has been doing the lambada ALL NIGHT every night for the last week and I am functioning on probably 8 hours total for the week.
Great. So now the kid is gunna kill me. Thanks Bossy.
erin saysMarch 18, 2008 at 4:57 am
I’ve never associated REM with sleep…only college frat parties with lots of beer;)
Avitable saysMarch 18, 2008 at 8:28 am
I only sleep in twenty minute increments.
Steph saysMarch 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm
Methinks that the University of California is just looking for a way to recoup their mattress budget from those medical marijuana researching bastards.
A Whole Lot of Nothing saysMarch 18, 2008 at 10:24 pm
Were you, too, inspired by 60 Minutes to get more sleep? I surely was.
desiree saysMarch 19, 2008 at 1:18 am
That’s a great post. According to http://www.photograpic-memory.org , memory loss can be treated. They also included prevention methods. Might want to give it a shot.
Kimberley Taylor saysMarch 22, 2008 at 2:24 am
Berley likes it when Bossy slips in poisonous barbs about the defacto presidento and his stupid anything (everything.)
erin saysMarch 25, 2008 at 12:09 am
I love REM!!!!
Babyamore (Trish) saysMarch 26, 2008 at 8:48 am
Now I know everything about sleep … I am more confused – how do it get it ?
With twin toddlers still nursing through the night and co sleeping … but honestly it is the blogging !
I average 5-6 hrs on a goodnight … oops 11.38pm in Australia now and I am determined to get my rss down from 275 TO 200.
I think I needed to read this … nuff said I will try to get to bed before midnight.
Noe Woodfork saysFebruary 23, 2010 at 4:09 am
I will wish to thank you for the strives you have made in issuing this post. I am asking the said nice work from you later also.
Mohammed Wolden the SR22 Insurance Guy saysFebruary 24, 2011 at 3:01 am
Anyway, it’s such a nice article. Fabulous, it seems to me.:)
gratis gokkasten saysFebruary 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm
Hi People! Do you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your blog. Cheers