MONEY & ENTERTAINMENT
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Sleep tight and have pleasant dreams!
We are a planet comprised by insomnia, and this thing jeopardizes our career, our sexual life and our sports activity. The good news is that the treatment only lasts for eight hours.
To make things shorter, it’s about what happens to us between 10.30 p.m. and 7.00 a.m., when we should sleep like the bears do in the winter in their dens. It is about what I try to do in bed. (It has nothing to do with my wife, you pervert!)
So, you think that in that place between the sheets nothing happens. I only tell you this: "Wake up man!"
More likely, men who deny having a problem or who are aware of this, but who aren’t helped by anyone. Because women who suffer from insomnia become motivated, while the men who cannot fall asleep “suffer” in silence. And when years pass, these quiet men with swallowed eyes will sleep less and less and will become victims of some diseases equally tormenting. Even if insomnia doesn’t stop you from waking up and going to work, it affects your concentration and it undermines your success at work.
It may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases; it may make you fatter and set the ground for diabetes. It will make you quarrel more with your wife, kids, and your pets. Insomnia is a symptom which aggravates stress, pain, and depression. In the last years I have tried hard to sleep like I should have, and all this period was a nightmare for my health.
Even if I try to work out and maintain a decent weight, I had some problems with my heart also. And this was only because I had some nights during which I didn’t sleep. Now, when I dip between my pillows, I know that sleep is too much a stake to be ignored. It is the same for you. We need rest. It is for our own good.
The problem of insomnia is very visible in Las Vegas, where a lot of people stay awake until morning comes. I went there to spend a night in one of the casinos with dr. William Thomson, an expert in gambling at the Nevada University in Las Vegas. When I asked him why he chose this specialty, he answered: "If I lived in Siberia, I would have studied polar bears". While we were walking in the casino, I saw dozens of people who were nodding. And my partner explained some ways in which the Las Vegas casinos made a profit out of them.
Through these ways there are turning money into counters (in this way you aren’t aware of the value you play) or placing the most tempting bets in the hours close to morning, when sleep deprivation makes their customers focus a lot difficult. To understand this mechanism, let’s examine the human brain during sleep. As Homo sapiens evolved from monkey to man, the brain developed also. It is mostly about a structure called prefrontal cortex, which takes the information from the brain, passes them through the filter of our memories and adds emotion and understanding to them.
Soon, the man started its domination on the planet, and the prefrontal cortex, the basic place of reason, showed him the road to follow. It is no wonder that casino owners don’t like rational people. They try to bring back to them a primitive state. The metabolism of glucose (the rate of energetic consumption in the prefrontal cortex) slows down when the night is about to end.
The Neanderthal behavior, hidden in a niche of the brain starts to take control. The evolution makes the reverse way, and you become less human. You have turned into a beast that not only didn’t follow its bed time, but has gone to bet, to chase naked women, to drink cocktails and to smoke cigars. But the prefrontal cortex needs a break, so it stops. Your feelings become inflexible. You no longer have the capacity to take any decisions.
You got lost in an artificial world. And the casinos are ready to take you in. The night passes and the stakes grow bigger. The 5 dollars from the afternoon become 20 dollars in the evening, 50 dollars at midnight, and so on, until every hand you play has consequences in the financial level. If you deal too much, any “luck” turns against you. Like this are those guys whom you see in the morning on the street dressed in the clothes they wore the night before, with their prefrontal cortex excited by coffee and stress hormones, who don’t know yet where they are.
And that is because they have gambled and they have lost because of a mechanism of the existence of which they aren’t even aware of: the circadian rhythm that controls their days and their nights, and their entire life. When this mechanism tells you to go to sleep, you would better listen. It only keeps you out of trouble. I have nothing against Vegas casinos, or with those wherever. Men who go there are aware of the risk they put themselves to and, still carry on doing that (although their winning chances and their prefrontal cortex get thinner). At least the girls who strip pretend to be nice to them.
Only that the industry of the casinos is a personalization of the large and prejudicial bets which the contemporary society makes. Most men consider that sleep is a waste of time and bet their life that they can live without sleeping. "Who needs sleep?" is a rhetoric question from a beer commercial. "I only sleep four hours a night" brags your work colleague (I have been there and I know how people were looking at me when I said that), imitating Thomas Edison, a fervent enemy of the sleep and inventor of the light bulb that keeps us awake during the night.
We feel ashamed when we have to "sneak for a nap" or when we blame a colleague for "falling asleep with his head on the desk". And our sleep suffers because of this. American researchers discovered that people sleep, in average, with two hours and 12 minutes less than in 1910. And this is not only due to television programs that monopolize our evenings.
Instead of sleeping, we do other things
Who knows, maybe you will…
He was once awaited at the airport by a driver who would take him at a meeting with some experts. That person was overweighed and had left a beard to hide the pimples on his face. You have probably met guys like him. Anyhow, do not get into the same car with them during the night. Dr. Dement’s driver had the classical symptoms of sleep apnea, an affection that obstructs the respiratory ways of approximately 300 times in one night, causing a lot of health problems.
Dr. Dement realized that he was in danger and he talked to the driver on the way. At one point when they reached the highway, the driver fell asleep and went on the other lane. In that moment the doctor screamed, the bearded man awoke and pulled over, and the deaths columns in the papers wrote one event less. And the doctor is still alive and warns us about the lack of sleep.
The doctor’s scream is not a singular one. Most experts I have talked to wouldn’t answer my questions until they told me about an air accident from Lexington, Kentucky. This accident occurred because both the pilot and the air traffic controller fell asleep. The one in the control tower survived, but he probably has remorse every time he goes to sleep.
We all have something in common with this hapless. If we work, play on the computer or travel from one place to another instead of sleeping and doing these things when we are rested, we have great chances to commit a fatal error. In the best case it will be only fatal for us.
These things are clear like daylight. Falling asleep when one drives is the same as driving after alcohol consumption or electoral confrontations – none of them brings something good. But it is the best example of the way in which the lack of sleep can influence our life.
Let’s see what means having a decent sleep, to know what you are losing when you sleep little. All day long you consume glucose, the fuel that helps you live. A secondary product of this reaction is a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which connects to the receivers in your nervous system and tells them to stop their activity during the night. (This is the explanation for which those who exercise have a better sleep. They consume more glucose).
The effect of adenosine is powered by another energy regulator: melatonin. It too does its work before going to sleep. Because of it you start yawning and starting the rituals before you go to sleep. If these rituals are performed correctly, you will end up in bed ready to sleep. Sex is another viable option. Sexual contact unleashes the attack of a hormone called oxytocin - an extremely powerful barbiturate.
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