Friday, December 02, 2005

Of waking from dreams

A few nights ago, I went to bed feeling not exactly anxious about the morrow, but aware that I would have to uncurl myself from my warm cocoon at an obscene hour and drag myself, defenceless and half-asleep, into an alien world. The following morning, I woke of my own accord a few minutes before the sterile bleep of the alarm.

For all of you who have done the same, here’s why. Absolutely fascinating.

When the volunteers knew they would be woken at six, levels of the central stress hormone adrenocorticotropin began rising around 4:30 a.m. But subjects expecting to wake at nine and rudely awakened at six experienced no such hormonal surge. Our bodies, in other words, note the time we hope to begin our day and gradually prepare us for consciousness…

The next question to be answered is: how is it that we are able to start the process of waking ourselves up, about an hour before a set time, while we are unconscious?

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