http://mentalfloss.cachefly.net/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/factory-whistle.jpg

Not to, er, sound a note of alarm or anything, but you’ll notice roosters are nowhere to be found on this list. That’s because roosters will (and do) ‘cock a doodle doo all night long, if they’re awake. Trust me. I know this to be true after spending a long, sleepless night at a small inn on a small Greek island in the middle of a brutally cold winter.

Now then.


Sleep is supposed to be a time of peace and relaxation. Most of us drift from our waking lives into predictable cycles of deep, non-rapid-eye-movement sleep, followed by dream-filled rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. But when the boundaries of these three phases of arousal get fuzzy, sleep can be downright scary. In fact, some sleep disorders seem more at home in horror films than in your bedroom.

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/ArtAndPhoto-Fronts/HEALTH/Illustrations/Exploding_head.standard.jpg
Marie Raymond sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, freaked out by the sound of her name being shouted loud and clear. Other times she’ll be awakened by the sound of a huge crash, as if someone has broken a window or knocked over a set of dishes. 

“The sound is terrifying — super loud, like someone has broken in,” says Raymond, a 38-year-old arts administrator from Seattle. “But when I get up to look around, nothing’s amiss and everything’s quiet.” After dealing with it off and on for the last several months, Raymond believes she may have exploding head syndrome. She hasn’t seen a doctor about it, but has done some research online.

Why can't I fall asleep? Will this new medication keep me up all night? Can I sleep off this cold? Despite decades of research, answers to these basic questions about one of our most essential bodily functions remains exceptionally difficult to answer. In fact, researchers still don't fully understand why we even sleep at all. In an effort to better understand the sleep-wake cycle and how it can go awry, researchers are taking a different approach that the traditional brain scans and sleep studies. They are using mathematics.
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