Friday, July 17, 2009

What happens when you sleep

It's amazing how much difference broken sleep can make to a life. I don't even know exactly what sleep does but, whatever it is, it's important.

I've often thought that sleep provides a shutdown so you won't notice the switch.

You know, the switch.

Truth is, our bodies are only designed to last around 16 hours. Anything after that and we start to deteriorate rapidly, go out of warranty and could find ourselves clapping out at any moment. So our bodies need constant replacement.

We go to sleep. Shut down.

Someone creeps in to our room during the night and removes our body. They replace it with a replica. The next day's model. As our memories are transferred, so it can be done quickly, they go in all at once and it's pretty jumbled. Sometimes we remember little snippets of that process. We call those memories dreams.

Of course, this process is pretty cool during childhood because they add tweaks and improvements to each new model. But, eventually, the growth must stop.

And that's where the problems start.

You see, at that point, their job becomes simply to supply the same model. They make a copy. But it's like tracing a picture. There are very subtle differences. Barely noticable. But if you trace the newly traced drawing, then trace that and so on, the drawing moves further and further away from the original.

It deteriorates.

We know that as ageing.

But with broken sleep, the copy is either rushed to get in place before you wake up, or the switch is abandoned altogether and you end up spending another day in a body that just wasn't designed to last that long.

And that's what happens when you sleep.


susan said...


You wrote ' Someoone creeps into our room during the night and removes our body".....

And when they do , they forget about the most elementary things, like bed-head and morning breath.

i don't have an explanation for morning breath. Cept children don't get it.

Bitter Animator said...

I left out the morning breath because it's actually rather unpleasant. You see, the food you ate the day before, in various states of digestion, has to be transferred from one body to the other.

And, well, it leaves residue on its way in. Residue that doesn't smell all that nice.

Thing is, food that has reached a certain level of digestion has to go in the other way. This leads to confusion about alien abduction and anal probing when people wake during the process.

Children don't get morning breath because they sleep so deeply that a full cleaning process is carried out after the transfer.

susan said...

The author John Irving in "Garp" had a line where Garp would tuck his children into bed every night, and lean over to kiss them good night.

Irving's protagonist feels it's because children are so pure, and nothing bad has ever happened to them. He reckoned once he smelled that on his sons, it would make them human, and not perfect anymore. It also started the process of dying in his eyes as well.

The night he leaned over to kiss his eldest and smelled morning breath- he realized his child was growing up, and from that point on, he couldn't protect him from the bad things that happen to you in life. And he freaked out knowing his children aren't immortal, they were going to grow up with the same fralities and problems as dear old dad.

Maybe I should get stock in Listerine?

Red Pill Junkie said...

As a Fortean, I find your sleep/body-replacement theory to be exquisite, dear Bitter!

BTW, I've experienced a few episodes of sleep paralysis in my life. I haven't found any bug-eyed bastard buggering me, thank God, but the feeling is quite unpleasant & scary :-/

But at the same time, I've also experienced several episodes of lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is when you are "aware" that you're dreaming, and this awareness grants you some level of control over the dream environment. As any self-respecting Matrix fan, my favorite act when experiencing lucid dreaming is flying ;-)

You should try it sometimes.

Bitter Animator said...

I used to get sleep paralysis quite a lot as a child but have only had a few instances of it as an adult. Exceptionally unpleasant. In adulthood, I was usually convinced I was in the process of a heart attack and yet could do nothing about it, couldn't move and couldn't speak.

As a child, in a way it was worse because my eyes would open and I could see the real world (often my mother trying to wake me up) but also all sorts of horrors from my dream world. At the time, I couldn't separate what was real and what wasn't.

Lucid dreaming is something I pretty much only ever experienced as a child but it didn't ever give me much control over the dreams. Just an awareness of what they were. For a time, I would have to go through a series of corridors and open the right door before waking up.

One other dream quirk I have is that I have dreamed of a location, a city, since I was a child. A place I have never been to except in dreams but it has remained constant and unchanging in terms of layout and yet also evolved over time, just like a real city. Shops closed down and were replaced. New buildings were built.

Some areas of the city, I could pretty much map out fairly accurately I know them that well.

These are just dreams of course but there is always a small part of me that finds it hard to accept that this is just an imaginary location.

Red Pill Junkie said...

"These are just dreams of course but there is always a small part of me that finds it hard to accept that this is just an imaginary location."

I've stopped thinking of these things as just dreams, or just a figment of my imagination. We live in a world far complex than most people are able (or care) to imagine.

It is interesting to learn about your sleep paralysis and dream experiences my friend. Although, truth be told, I'm not that surprised either, for I have found we share a lot in common you and I ;-)

Have a great weekend. That goes for all the regulars, of course —specially you, Susan.

Anonymous said...

There was an episode of Astro Boy (1980's redub version) that used this exact premise to hide the fact from a storyline character that he was actually a robot.

Author said...

Great concept and not far from the truth! It made me think of something you might like to try. Its from ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’ by Joseph Murphy. You can replace ‘God’ with 'the Tao’ or ‘the Universe’ if you prefer.
Before you fall asleep, repeat this:

The perfection of God is now being expressed through me. The vision of perfect health is now filling my subconscious mind. The image God has of me is a perfect image. My subconscious now recreates my body in perfect accordance with the perfect image held in the mind of God.