DAY 309: Putting my sleep spindles to work

7 Jul

I’M so crackered in the lead up to my last day at work that I google “things you can do in your sleep “ for today’s entry.

I have no choice actually, because today’s entry was supposed to be Getting a Hairdresser To Show Me Different Styles, but I fall asleep in the salon chair while the whole shindig is going on.

My google search suggests sleeping is a good time for learning. Memorise a list of new words before bed, it says, and you have more chance of remembering them.

I put a Facebook call-out for new words, and receive:

Extirpation (the surgical removal of an organ)
Abrogation (abolishment by authority)
Struthious (relating to an ostrich)
Sprauncy (fancy, showy)
Aphotic (a body of water without light)
Dasypygal (having hairy buttocks)
Knismesis (a light tickle, like the sensation of bugs crawling on your skin. While looking this up, I discover I have hypergargalesthesia)


Sleep spindles are bursts of activity as you slip up the slinky staircase to slumberland. They’re identifiable as rapid zigzags in brain scans, often following muscle twitching. Cells in the thalamus and cortex are communicating, and new information passes into permanency. The same process happens as we start to wake up — so an alarm bell can cut off a portion of spindle activity, decreasing our ability to learn.

Unsurprisingly, I remember the words with more interesting meanings: struthious, sprauncy, aphotic, knismesis, and dasypygal (although the latter is remembered as ‘dasphguhuphg…’ because I didn’t figure out how to pronounce it in the first place).

In fact, despite having an adventure dream about the IRA, I wake up at one point and declare: “Sprauncy!

Keeper? Yes; this could come in handy.

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