How Alcohol Literally Steals Your Dreams
The tide is turning against the sophistication associated with having a nightcap before bed. Sleep specialists say any alcohol is likely to disrupt our rest and keep us from dreaming.
What's the Latest Development?
Despite the apparent sophistication of having a nightcap—those in the know recommend only imbibing top-shelf brown liquids, never a clear eaux de vie—the effects of alcohol on sleep and restfulness make late-night drinks a losing proposition, says James Hamlin, MD. "We've even seen that genes regulating circadian rhythms are shut down in people with alcoholism, but we accept talk of burnished amber liqueurs in moderation as simple joie de vivre." Few sleep experts would recommend any kind of alcoholic drink within an hour before bed, says Hamlin.
What's the Big Idea?
Research conducted at the London Sleep Centre and University of Toronto has produced a more accurate picture of how alcohol affects sleep. Among other things, the more we drink the less REM sleep we get early in the night. As a result, we experience fewer dreams and are hurtled into a conscious-less void. "Instead of REM, that time is spent in deeper sleep phases—which they say, interestingly, increases our likelihood of snoring. ... And we don't even get the benefit from that extra deep sleep, because once the alcohol wears off, those deep sleep phases are so disrupted that the net overall effect is a less restorative night."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"