Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I was mentioning my interest in the similarities and differences of trance and meditation when she said,”Have I got a book for you!”  Most of the time such a comment precedes something not so interesting but this time it was different.  The book is “The Head Trip” by Jeff Warren and in print or Kindle, it is worth taking a good look at.  Several hypnosis people have assured me that we all pass through a trance falling asleep and waking up.  The book discusses all states the mind/brain gets into and trance and sleep are two of them.
The most interesting part so far has been the discussion of our life now vs. the lives of those before the invention of the light bulb.  That invention has made it quite possible to have as much light at night as in the day but it used to be that night was dark.  A typical night worldwide is 12 hours and that is a long time of dark.  There is good evidence that when people went to bed when night fell, they tended to wake up after 4 or 5 hours.  People from 1500 and 1600 wrote about “second sleep” and the good feelings they experienced between the two.  They felt that sleeping, waking and returning to sleep was completely natural and not a sign of extra worry or sleep disorder.
Other sections discuss typical Western beds: elevated off the floor and built for one or two to sleep the whole night through.  In many parts of the world, such beds are not the norm.  Rather a group of sleepers near each other, sleeping and waking and sleeping as they wish is more typical. In a village, someone was usually awake at any hour.
The author researched and discusses sleep with anthropologists, who have very rarely studied sleep around the world or different conceptions of what sleep is and what it is “supposed’ to be.  He also showed that there can be complex combinations of sleeping state and waking state, sometimes in the same brain at the same time, although not for most people.
Edison and others have used falling asleep as a tool for creativity, as in “sleep on it” to solve a problem. 

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