Wednesday 9 April 2014


We spend have our lives asleep... but what do we REALLY know about sleep? Our very own sleep specialist Dr Blue lifts the lid off the science of sleep... well, actually, she's not a sleep specialist. Or a doctor. But still...

The name of this blog-zine, DREAMCATCHER, got me thinking about dreams - and, more generally, about sleep. Most of us go to sleep every night - but what do we actually know about sleep? Scientists have no idea WHY we sleep - with all the complex actions performed by our brains, refreshing our energy should be easy and take no more than a few minutes. So the fact that we need hours and hours of sleep to avoid being in a zombie-like state in the morning is, quite frankly, baffling. Mysterious!

If sleep is strange, the incidents that occur during sleep are beyond puzzling. Vivid dreams happen when we're in REM sleep (REM= Rapid Eye Movement, not to be muddled with the band REM...). Brainwaves during REM are almost identical to the brainwaves of someone awake, which is pretty cool. Your body goes into a sort of paralysis because otherwise you might start acting out your dreams - and if you happen to dream of flying, for example, that could be pretty dangerous! Some people CAN act out their dreams, though most of the time they're acting out things they did while awake, and others mistake it for acting out dreams. We call this SLEEPWALKING or SLEEPTALKING.

While we're talking of sleep disorders... well, let's just turn this into an impromptu vocabulary lesson; be prepared to impress your friends!
Insomnia - this disorder means people have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep. Surprisingly common.
Hypersomnia - the opposite of insomnia. This is where people sleep and sleep... and sleep... and sleep some more.
Somnambulism - sleepwalking.
Somniloquy - sleeptalking.
'Somn' features in the name of many sleep disorders as it's Latin for 'sleep'. One last word you may find useful...
Somniferous - a fancy word for boring. I would highly recommend using it, perhaps the next time you want to impress/insult a teacher all in one easy move.

Cathy says:
Thank you Blue! That feature is the opposite of somniferous... very cool!

Have YOU ever suffered from one of those sleep disorders? COMMENT BELOW to tell us which one - and how you cope! Or just share your own sleepy stories! zzzzzz...


  1. Hypersomnia and Somniloquy

  2. Somniloquy, usually it's just mumbles (as i've been told anyway).

  3. Somniloquy, My parents told me once that on the night of Halloween after I had been out trick or treating and I had gone to bed, I kept saying my
    Halloween joke in my sleep. I have been told I do talk a lot in my sleep but no one ever tells me what I have said..

  4. Glad I could help (and seriously, how can I connect this to my Facebook, I don't like being anonymous!). I have hypersomnia. My mother's a horrendous somniloquist. We don't let her nap on the sofa anymore because her mumbling and cries of "Shut up!" were very annoying.
    Blue. :-)

  5. I used to have Somnambulism. One time, a few days before we went on holiday, I sleepwalked downstairs saying "must find". It freaked out my parents! xxx

  6. Sometimes I get Somnilopuy really bad. When I was like 6 or 7 I had this really bad nightmare and I woke up screaming but apparently I was screaming before I even woke up! My sister also tells me that I mumble in the night.

  7. I don't do much in my sleep but my little sister does. She kicks in her sleep and she punches. It REALLY hurts! She also takes in her sleep. I talk a bit as well. I am a chatterbox so I'm not surprized. I would have a dream and then say it out load while I sleep or that's what I have been told. My dad snores which is SUPER ANNOYING. I can hear it and I'm all the way down the hall!!

  8. At the moment, I am just your average sleeper, but a few years ago I was an atrocious Somnambulism-ist and Somniloquy-ist. I have been known to sleepwalk out into the kitchen and curl up under the kitchen bench, try and wash my school socks in the bathroom sink, and worst of all go and shower in my sleep! What's the word for someone who sleep-showers???



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