I came across this article on a newsgroup about the mechanics and benefits of sleep…it’s really fascinating. Some highlights:

  • Just about everyone does better with 8 hours of sleep. Statistically you live longer, make fewer mistakes, and have healthier immune systems.

  • Thinking about doing an all-nighter to cram for that exam? If it’s a simple “recall the facts” test, the all-nighter will help. If you have to do any kind of critical thinking, though, the sleep deprivation will do a number on you.

  • Sleep seems to improve motor skills. Learn something in the evening, sleep on it, and you’ll do better the next day.


p>There’s also an interesting description of the mechanisms of sleep, and how caffeine plays a role in disrupting that mechanism. I found the discussion on circadian rhythms particularly interesting. They’re periodic cycles in our body that, evolutionarily speaking, are possibly older than sleep. The idea that our body is running on a bunch of different periodic cycles is immensely cool and perhaps hackable :-)