I didn’t sleep a wink all night
Last night, it seemed like I was awake for the full 8 hours I lay in my bed.
I tossed and I turned, and my thoughts were going fast and furious around and around in my head.
It’s been a very busy week, you see. I’ve been out more often than I’ve been home, and I’m leaving the family this weekend for a National Meeting, so I had to make sure I had everything ready. Last night I spent a lot of time thinking about what I needed to bring, and what I had to remember to do today.
But there were clues to show me it wasn’t all like it seemed.
Clue #1 – I’m well rested. I had no problems getting up this morning and I’m fully functional.
Clue #2 – eeeewwww…. I drooled on my pillow. I don’t do that consciously!
Clue #3 – I didn’t hear my son get up at 6:30am.
Medical people call this Sleep State Misperception. The idea that you didn’t get as much sleep as you thought you did.
The first time I ran into it was when my hubby kept poking me when *I* thought I was awake to inform me that I was snoring and to cut it out. And I said to him “I wasn’t sleeping… I was just thinking!!” “Snoring.” he assured me.
Since then I’ve formed a theory. Not sure if it’s the same as the scientists’ theory, but here it is:
You know how neurosurgeons keep you awake while they’re performing brain surgery, so they can make sure they’re not doing any harm and/or getting the right spot?
I think our brains do the same thing. On nights when the brain has to do some heavy duty synapse connection/disconnection or has some major filing to do, it holds our consciousness more lightly than on other nights. We think we’re awake, and therefore our consciousness can report to our brain “neurosurgeon” that we are in fact all right amidst the reorganisation, culling, and filing.
We think we’re awake. But we’re actually asleep.
What made me think of that, you might be wondering. Well, another little study I read somewhere talked about why small children need naps during the day, and why small naps are effective even for adults during the day. These small sleeps help our brain download and process what we’ve learned.
If we don’t have a sleep during the day, then that downloading and processing has to happen sometime, doesn’t it?
And the other thing that gave me this idea was that small babies grow millions of synapse connections and cull them as the connections become more efficient and better used. Us adults may have fewer connections, but those connections still need to be maintained, used, created and culled as necessary. The brain’s gotta do that sometime, and I’m betting it’s mostly done while we’re asleep.
So I’m guessing that my brain was actually extremely busy last night, while I was sleeping. Because even though I thought I got no sleep at all, the reality is that I slept through all eight hours of it.