Why do we sleep?

Naomi kestrel at unm.edu
Thu Mar 10 01:50:30 EST 1994

In article <1994Mar2.231440.5621 at news.media.mit.edu>,
Marvin Minsky <minsky at media.mit.edu> wrote:
>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?
Well, well, well, it's flame time, boys and girls.  Thank you for playing.
The observed rise in temperature is in radiated heat, not in core body
temperature, the latter of which would evidence a fever.  No mention of
sickness has been made in the postings so far, and I can tell when I have
a fever, thanks.  Yes, one can sense an infant's skin temperature, if your
body is adjacent to theirs, just as you can sense the skin temperature of
any person if your bodies are close enough.  And have you ever tried to
measure a sleeping person's temperature with a thermometer, without them
waking up?

Oh--and, speaking of measurement science, have you noticed the recent
thread on microwavable ants, composed entirely of speculation?  Some
people, being curious about biological events, like to explore theoretical
possibility.  You may feel free to drop this thread, if the more
conversational angle offends you.

Enjoy your week, nonetheless.


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