Information about sleep — Robin Wils's website

Last modified: Tue, Jun 21, 2022

Table of Contents

Sleeping

Your health is likely more important than most other things if you want to live long. Sleep seems important for your health, but much of the information about sleep seems like nonsense non-sense. How much of it is true?

A cat sleeping. The act has a tired facial expression.

The biggest issue I have with sleep science

No one seems to be able to explain what sleep is, and why we need it. Giraffes for example only tend to sleep maximum five minutes. Some animals sleep way longer than the human animal. That question seems fundamental to know more about sleep.

You can analyze a group of people, but that is not nearly enough to get to know more about sleep. How can we know of something is healthy, if we barely understand what it is?

Sleeping positions

Many “research” around this topic does not link any sources. The internet seems to contain a lot of articles which are made for marketing. One source I found about sleeping positions is “Sleep Foundation”. It at leasts links to research papers. Although this site too, seems like marketing. The following search results seem more opinion-based than objective.

I am aware that there are no facts, only interpretations. Although some interpretations are better as others. Look into the “Münchhausen trilemma” for more information. Nietzsche claims only interpreted truth exist, which I agree with. Passage 21 of “Beyond Good and Evil” can change the worldview of someone.

Searching for 'dreaming' displays 'Here is what dreaming about your ex could mean' and 'Here is what dreams about your teeth falling out mean'. This seems very opinion-based.

Sleeping position

Sleeping on your side or on your back seem like the best positions, but it depends on what you see as best. Most articles I found tend to claim that other positions are often harmful for your health, but I am highly skeptical when it comes to information about sleep. I do see how one could agree with some of their statements.

Sleeping on your side

Sleeping on your side can help for backpain. It promotes good spinal alignment, and can reduce snoring. The cons are that it can give you shoulder pain, and that it can contribute to facial wrinkles. Sleeping on your left side is better than sleeping on your right side. Sleeping on your right side may increase pressure on your internal organs.

Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on your back can be good if you want to avoid neck pain. It can be better if you have a stuffy nose. The cons are that it is a bad position for people who snore. It also increases your chances on sleep paralysis.

But is snoring bad?

Snoring can be a possible sign of a common disorder called sleep apnea. “Sleep Foundation” has an article about it.

Best sleep position?

I usually like the content of the channel “What I’ve Learned” and find it relatively trustworthy. The following link which debunks the “Why We Sleep” book, which is mentioned in the video above. The video is likely irrelevant to a degree. This video can claim you can not recover sleep. Yet no other arguments seem to follow that statement.

Opinion

I attempt to always sleep on my left side. Skipping sleep is probably way worse for your health as your position is. There might be healthy ways to sleep in a different position. Temparatures around eighteen degrees Celsius are a good sleeping environment according to “Sleep Foundation”. Ι remain skeptical about such statements.

Blue light

Some people claim that blue light is non-sense. Although I do find the basics of the science behind it relatively understandable, and trustworthy. Watching the following video might explain it better. It has information about the eyes.

Blue light is dangerous?

I wouldn’t call blue light dangerous. It can keep you awake, and has positive effects too. Blue light filters can be used as a marketing tactic, but it can work. It seems to work for me, but I do set the temperature high, which makes my screen look very red. I find it relaxing. Call it placebo all you want.

Sleep cycles

The claim that the human animal requires eight hours of sleep seems like non-sense. Many people sleep less, yet live long. That does not mean it is healthy though. It could depend on the person. I am not even sure of REM sleep is understood well enough yet. I would think that alcohol and caffeine would have a worse effect on your sleep than sleeping eight hours would. Caffeine can wake one up, which Ι experienced before. Depending on a substance can make one weak. It’s an addiction. I tend to avoid such things.

Doctor Mike Hansen thinks it is a good idea to get eight hours of sleep. His video is full of interesting information. “Sleep Foundation” claims that at least seven hours of sleep is needed.

Eight hours?

According to Lieberman’s book “Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy And Rewarding” there is no good evidence that humans need to sleep eight hours per night. I haven’t read the book though. Nicole Barbaro’s site mentions books about psychology which seem interesting. The book by Lieberman is in that list.

The book “Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine” is seen as a standard book to read about sleep according to “Sleep Cycle”, but it is a website for a application which tracks your sleep, so they likely won’t mention the “bad stuff”.

History

People used to sleep more than once in the past for a short duration. It is still common for animals. People used to do interrupted sleep before the Industrial Revolution. People didn’t live as long though. Science and medicine wasn’t as far as it is now.

Bi-Modal sleep

There is quite a lot of not often mentioned research about Bi-Model sleep. Most references seem recent. It doesn’t seems to have much criticism, and the papers seem somewhat recent. Roger Ekirch is a name which often pops up. Yet I am not sure how trustworthy those people are.

Opinion

It isn’t easy to find good sources about sleep. It is hard to not follow the “sleep once a night for a long period” norm. People expect you to be awake during specific times of the day. Many people have tried different sleep cycles, including many succesful people. Their health seems fine. I would claim that the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink before sleep can have a way bigger effect on sleep. We already know that those drugs are bad for your health. Personally I can wake up from having too much caffeine.

Conclusion

People don’t seem to know much about sleeping habits yet, but it is an interesting topic to read about. The book from Lieberman seems interesting on first sight. It wouldn’t hurt to read things about sleep if sleep is as important as people say. But don’t be afraid to doubt. I remain skeptical about most information related to sleep.