Why do we sleep?

Marvin Minsky minsky at media.mit.edu
Wed Mar 2 18:14:40 EST 1994

In article <2l2upb$45e at bach.udel.edu> lgeyer at bach.udel.edu (Laura B. Geyer) writes:
>In article <2ktckm$k3t at polaris.unm.edu>, Naomi <kestrel at unm.edu> wrote:

>>from a second-hand viewpoint (as I am asleep at the time), is that, upon
>>falling asleep, my body starts to radiate quite a bit more heat than it
>>does under waking conditions.  I haven't noticed a similar radiation with
>>other adults, but have observed an increase in heat radiation by infants
>>during sleep cycles; I wonder if there may be a connection.  Personally,
>>the increase of temp when I fall asleep is dramatic enough for another to
>>tell immediately that I am "over the brink".  Has anyone else noticed this
>>phenomenon, or have a hypothesis about it?
>My roommate does this as well, and so does her mother and younger brother.
>They don't really know why this happens, but her stepfather has said that its
>actually so bad that its uncomfortable to be in the same bed--he can't sleep 
>because of the heat.  What's also weird is that they don't have a particular

What's weird is the astonishing absence of numbers. Haven't any of you
heard of an inexpensive device called a "thermometer"? If these people
are going above, say, 102 degrees F, there might be a medical problem,
e.g., undulant fever or something.  If the increase is less than that,
then it is surprising that it is so detectable.

Or is it?  How many of you can detect a fever in another person just
from radiation, without touching them?  Can you really remote-sense an
infant's sleep temperature?  How many degrees is the typical rise? 

In any case, how about repairing this thread by introducing a tiny
driblet of measurement science?

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