Re: Sleep
Sat, 30 Oct 1999 13:53:09 -0700

"Robert J. Bradbury" <>, on Fri, 29 Oct 1999 09:37:14 -0700 (PDT), wrote:

>I concur with [Anders'] comments on the primary purpose of sleep
>being to "integrate" critical experiences into your knowledge
>database. There may also be a biological purpose for
>maintenance, repair & recycling to be done when resources
>(esp. energy) are less needed for "thinking" (though I can't
>point to much hard biological evidence for this).

It's strange, though, that we don't consciously perceive any difference in our "knowledge base" or our memories after sleep.

If it is late in the evening, I have memories of the day's events, and also memories of the previous day's events. The former are somewhat sharper and more detailed, typically, which seems normal because they are more recent.

But the previous days' events have had the opportunity to be "processed" by sleep, to be "integrated" or "incorporated" while today's events have not. By this theory, there ought to be some power which yesterday's events have which today's do not, or some fundamental difference in my access to those events from my access to today's. But I don't perceive any such difference. Whether I learned something yesterday, or I learned it today, I seem to have (roughly) equal access to the learning.

What we do see is that people go temporarily crazy when deprived of (REM) sleep. They hallucinate and behave in a psychotic manner. This does not seem to fit in any obvious way with this "consolidation" theory. Sleep deprivation does not primarly cause memory problems, it causes perceptual and behavioral problems.