“Go to sleep, say good night…”

A woman sleepsAh, sleep… that wonderful time in the day when you lay down, and just tune out for a while. Or, in the case of my friend here, learning through osmosis. In today’s world of artificial lighting and crazy schedules, it seems that sleep is quite a luxury that most people can’t afford. And it’s kind of funny… I’ve been learning in my May session psychology course about sleep, and you come to find out that when you go to sleep, you don’t just sleep. You have several different stages of sleep, it turns out. You know how when you start to doze off, you sometimes start to hear voices and things that aren’t really there? There’s actually a name for that. It’s called “hypnogogic hallucinations”, part of Stage 1 sleep. Now what I hate about that is you realize you’re starting to droop, and you have to do something, and fast, if you want to stay awake. The most frustrating is when I’m coming back from a trip somewhere, like when I did the Photo Essay Blitz, and start having hypnogogic hallucinations. It’s like, “OH, (expletive deleted)!” Because you know that could lead to a dangerous situation. We don’t want to be like the old line, “I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in his sleep – not screaming like the passengers in his car.” That’s my signal to get off the freeway as soon as possible and haul my behind into the nearest Starbucks to get a cup of coffee. However, my favorite kind of sleep is the rapid eye movement, or REM sleep. That’s the sleep where you’re dreaming. And boy, do I have some strange dreams sometimes… There was one recent dream where I was starting a job with Ntelos, a phone company based in Waynesboro, at their customer care building, and one of my psychology group members was my boss! It was weird, because the room had lots of water being held back by those little wooden lattice things that people use in gardens. It was like the water should be coming through, but it wasn’t. Then I walked into the next room, and I was on the operations floor at Telegate, where I used to work until they closed down. Then of course there’s the opposite end of the scale from REM sleep, and that’s Stage 4 sleep. Then, you could set off a nuclear blast outside my window and I wouldn’t hear it. It also seems that I get all kinds of important phone calls when I’m in Stage 4 sleep, you know? Sleep right through my loud little Wheelock phone horn and strobes and get the message on the voice-mail later, and then curse myself for not being awake for that call. Still, I have to say… sleep is a wonderful and complex kind of thing. Wish I could get a little more of it sometimes…

Date posted: June 3, 2002

Notes: Thanks to my friend Jennifer Switzer for pretending to sleep for the camera. This quote was repeated on the main page during the week of July 6, 2003.