Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Harder Better Faster Sleeper

I need sleep like Kenny Rogers needed Dolly Parton for 'Islands in the Stream'.

Like Burt Reynolds needed Lori Anderson.

Like Oates needed Hall.

Like Michael Jackson needed Bubbles.

Notice the 80s-enhanced comparisons? More on that later...

Sleep. UC Berkeley just finished a study on sleep deprivation. The data suggests that people who don't get enough sleep can suffer various degrees of emotional imbalance.
"It could even help explain road rage, said Matthew Walker, director of UC Berkeley's Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory and senior author of the study, which was coordinated with researchers from Harvard University.

"One of the functions of sleep is to reset and replenish the emotional integrity of our brain circuits so we can approach the day's emotional challenges in appropriate ways," Walker said. "If you don't get a good night's sleep, you'll be making irrational choices.

In the UC Berkeley study of 26 young adults, half of the subjects were kept awake for 35 hours straight and the other half were allowed a normal night's sleep in that same time period. Then all of the subjects were hooked up to an MRI and shown a series of images, some of them disturbing pictures of graphic violence or gory injuries. Researchers monitored what happened in their brains as each image was shown.

When shown the disturbing images, the sleep-deprived subjects had a significant jump in activity in the amygdala, the section of the brain that puts the body on alert to protect itself. At the same time, activity slowed down in the prefrontal cortex, which controls logical reasoning.

Subjects who had gotten a full night of sleep showed normal brain activity.

What this means for most people is that a sleepless night can cause them to overreact to emotional challenges that they would otherwise be able to tolerate with no trouble, Walker said."
This is sooo true for me. If I don't get enough sleep, I become a cranky, nasty, and volatile person. I'm a racecar running in the red, and all I'm saying is that it's not good to have a racecar in the red. I eat sleep. It's my dessert.

I can go for a couple days with a subpar amount of sleep, but if I don't catch up on the third day, I will be evil incarnate. I will intentionally break unopened rose blooms in my neighbor's yard before I leave for work. I will push someone out of the BART train as the doors are closing so they have to wait for the next train. I will fart on other BART patrons and then walk around, further dispersing the stank. Industry insiders call this move 'crop-dusting'. Once I get to work, I will need to drink a carafe of coffee to be mildly abrasive. I'll sit down at my desk, and ignore emails. Instead, I'll register those colleagues for sweepstakes on sites that vomit spam uncontrollably. At lunch, I'll go outside and kick pigeons. Pray I am not in your midday meeting. I'll doodle to keep from launching spitballs on the whiteboard as you draw out some fantastic metadata management model in which global changes can be effected across hierarchies in multiple parent-children structures. Then I will go home, and be a pleasant person because I know that while I'm tired, at least I can be tired in shorts and a tank-top and play with my son and wash dishes used to serve my wife's savory and delicious meal before I lose consciousness at 8:30pm.

This being said, let's sleep on this: the 80s are back.

On my way to work this morning I listened to the new Kanye West album, Graduation Day, which bleeds Al Pacino-Scarface synth undertones. Then I go on the train, and saw this woman dress like Pat Benatar and sporting the Farrah Fawcett feather hair-do. It wasn't Oct 31. This wasn't a costume. She was going to work. She was making a fashion statement. She was telling everyone on that car that the 80s are back, and she was ready for them.

Maybe Kanye will do an 'Islands in the Stream' remix...meanwhile, check out 'Stronger' for more interpolation on 80s flavor (sampled Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk).

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