Saturday, 29 November 2008

Rain, rain and more rain

Sorry, forgot to post yesterday, i was quite busy. Had badminton practice right after school, and then had to desperately read afterwards in an attempt to catch up in biochemistry. I went to a friend's place in a nearby town in the evening, where I had dinner as well. It stayed a bit longer than I had expected (I ended up leaving at 00:30), and I was on bike. Probably the latest I've ridden a bike before. But what the hell, Denmark is a bike country =). I had fun playing a game called Cat Mario, it's the most hilarious and evil game ever :P. Click here to see what I'm talking about.

Today was a very wet day indeed. Once again out delivering ads and newspapers like every Saturday. It was hell. So hard to keep things from getting wet. Two people felt so sorry for me, that one gave me a coke and another 20 kr. (Danish currency - about 2,5€). Also met some weird people like I do everytime. I asked a woman who opened the door as I entered an apartment block, if it was okay to put the newspaper on her porch instead of trying to squeeze it through her tiny slit of a letterbox and her answer was: "Come on, honestly.. I don't know!!" I was a bit confused by that and silently thought "Wtf..", while smiling, of course, and wishing her a nice weekend. Now I'm home. Tired and exhausted, but I have to read (I'm getting tired of this :P).

Tomorrow I'm going to a Christmas dinner at some Danish friends' place. They've invited an American (who speaks perfect Danish) who's an expert at biomedicine and teaches at a Pharmaceutical university here in Denmark. I'm really looking forward to meeting her.

And now, I'm posting that article about sleep I promised a few days ago:


Why do we sleep? Good question actually. All mammals, reptiles and insects do it. Even the annoying, blood-hungry mosquitoes in your room at night, that never ever seem to tire, do it. Some sleep lighter than others of course, but the fact is, they do sleep. Except fish. But that is not really the point here.

The point is that we do not really know why we sleep. There are many theories of course, but none of them have yet been proved. One states that we sleep simply to restructure our brain nerves and reorder the impressions we got during the day so as to make our brain run more efficiently. That is, of course, just a theory and is therefore potentially laughable. Other better theories suggest that we sleep to cure sleepiness or that we sleep because our dreams miss us. This seems much more likely as everyone would go around being tired if they did not sleep.

Many people love to sleep, but if you think about it, sleep is actually the biggest waste of time known to man. We practically spend a third of our life sleeping and probably even more (think of you as a baby and imagine how much of that time was actually spent asleep). We literally sleep our lives away. And yet, we can not run from the fact that we do need our sleep however big an obligatory waste of time it may be.

How we get this sleep depends on the person of course. The general rule states that it happens by the person first falling asleep. This usually happens lying down on an often comfortable, flat surface. But of course there are many exceptions to this rule. Sleeping can occur sitting, standing, upside down and (in rare cases) while falling. The sitting variety usually occurs during operas, lectures or at the dinner table. In unexplained cases, young people, who have not been able to apply the general rule of sleep and therefore not gotten enough sleep the night before (usually as the result of a very pressing party or night in town), might suddenly find school desks unexpectedly comfortable. The reason behind this is still unknown, but is expected to have a connection with teachers’ soothing voices. Teachers have through the times often found ways to combat this anomaly, but the nature of their techniques remain clouded.

When the general rule of sleep occurs it usually involves a phenomenon called “dreaming”. Scientists agree that this usually happens in the R.E.M. stage of our sleep. For some reason our (for many) sacred sleep has been divided into “stages” with funny acronyms. These include SWS, NREM and the before-mentioned REM. These are further divided into “types” which include alpha, beta, delta, theta, spindles and k-complexes. Why scientists have chosen to do this is not known, but it is suspicioned that it might be to make themselves feel superior to other non-scientists by confusing them. What else would spindles and k-complexes be doing in that list?

REM is short for Rapid Eye Movement. This is said to be because our eyes have been observed to move rapidly when we are in this stage of sleep. Others believe it is short for Real Entertainment Moment, as we finally see something that is entertaining enough to prevent us from moving for hours. The fits of anger normally exhibited by a sleeping person being woken too early also argue for the latter theory. But, like with all things related to sleeping, dreams can not be explained either.

So, to conclude, the best answer to the question “Why do we sleep?” is probably “Because we do.”

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