Purpose of sleep and the effect on uploads.

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Cris, Jun 18, 2001.

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  1. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Sleep must be very important and vital since it renders most animals that sleep to be unconscious for long periods when they could be subject to danger. Most, if not all, evolutionary processes support and influence survival. Either sleep is a terrible mistake, or a development flaw that had no alternative, or it has a very specific purpose, or maybe a combination.

    From my understanding of brain functioning the two primary active processes are electrical activity within the neurons and the chemical transmitters comprising the synapses. During normal daily activity the synapses degrade due to loss of protein. Without frequent regeneration and provision of fresh protein the brain would cease to function.

    Research shows that protein in the brain is indeed increased during sleep. I strongly suspect that this is the primary purpose of sleep, although no one seems to know for sure if there are other purposes.

    If this primary conclusion is true then I suspect that if uploading takes place with the obvious assumption that organic proteins will clearly not have a role then uploads will never need to sleep.

    Cris
     
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  3. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Sleep, it's purpose ...

    If I'm not mistaken, Cris, there were a number of human sleep and dream depravation experiments a while back and to the best of my knowledge the one thing what was certain was: You flip out if deprived of sleep or dreaming for a period of time. As to the purpose of sleep/dreaming, I don't remember any firm conclusions being arrived at.

    Also, I don't believe that sleep renders the sleeper unconscious in the sense that the sleeper is totally unaware of sensory inputs - that would be a counter-survival aspect. Hibernation may, but that's a different story as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  5. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Chagur,

    My reference to unconsciousness was somewhat loose - perhaps a better term would be ' far from being as alert as would be necessary to achieve optimumum avoidance of danger'.

    But repair and re-generation of the synapses does occur during sleep. This also explains why you can feel more alert after a good night's sleep and feel pretty lowsy when suffering from a disturbed night.

    There is also some evidence that even during real unconsciousness, e.g. incapable of motion and normal awareness, the senses are still active. In other words your brain can still absorb and remember verbal speech made by someone else while you are unconscious.

    Cris
     
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  7. Spirit17 Registered Member

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    Don't forget... If we we're awake twice as long per day we'd have to consume twice as many resources. Although there are people (that are exceedingly rare) who appear not too need sleep at all. Also, it's hypothosized that meditation provides a good alternative to sleep and if proficiently practised cuts down the time a person needs for sleep considerably.
     
  8. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Spirit17,

    Good point, but I don't reckon it would be 50% more resources if we were awake all the time. We sleep perhaps a 1/3rd of our time, but we aren't dead we are still consuming energy while we are asleep. So if we were awake we would indeed consume more energy but it wouldn't be a 1/3rd more, I'd say something like 20% (1/5th) more energy intake would be required if we stayed awake all the time.

    As for meditation, yes, I've heard that the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Transcendental Meditation, only needs around 2 hours sleep a day. If he keeps to what he teaches then he should be only spending no more than 2 hours per day in meditation. That means around 4 hours per day of deep restorative rest, or 50% for the avergage adult requirement of 8 hours per day.

    But I also remember that Margaret Thatcher, the once Prime Minister of the UK also only slept for around 2 hours per day and then proceeded with very hectic non-stop working days.

    Cris
     
  9. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Cris,

    Your mentioning our sleeping 1/3 of the day triggered a thought:

    Infants sleep maybe 20 hours a day, and not only human infants, so where does the reduction of necessary sleep time as adulthood is attained fit in?
     
  10. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    ...not to mention that it is supported the older adults on the average need less sleep than younger adults. At what point does this turn around?
     
  11. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Chagur, wet1,

    Good points and I think they support my case.

    I’m assuming here that the sleep period is used to replace protein that has been used during a waking period. It follows then that a sleep period of a certain length would be required to satisfy say a significant degree of the protein replacement cycle.

    The protein usage occurs during normal brain functioning. While neurons are largely electrical in nature the actual connections between neurons are non-electrical. These connections are known as the synapses and it is here that protein is used to transmit signals between neurons. The proteins are consumed in the process.

    It is clear that if the synapse proteins are not replaced then after a while the brain will cease to function correctly. It is interesting to note that nearly all hallucinatory drugs affect the synapses. They either suppress them or stimulate them. Either way the synapses do not transmit their signals as intended and the result is abnormal brain behavior. Continued use of such drugs tends to condition the synapses into permanent abnormal behavior.

    I suspect that if more synapses are used in a given period than another then more sleep would be required to replace the used proteins. I think I can deduce that if one has an exceptionally busy day (mentally) then one will feel extra tired at night and will sleep longer.

    Now consider the case of an infant or human baby: During the early period of life lack of experience means that there are few established neural connections. Most of every waking minute will be causing the establishment of new neural connections and hence the use of increased protein for the synapses. And a great many of the early connections will be trial and error. As the baby flails its limbs and chews on anything it can reach, it is determining which actions are positive and productive and which are painful or do not result in anything useful. These activities cause a great deal of synaptic activity. Hence we can see why a baby will need to sleep for extraordinary periods when compared to adults.

    In the elderly, who it seems also, often do not require so much sleep, we see that perhaps they are not using their brains as much as they did, or perhaps they have more well established neural connections and do not create many new connections. But I think the lack of brain activity is the result of lack of stimulation. My watch on the anti-aging scene tells me that if the elderly made the effort to stimulate their brains then they can stay mentally alert and healthy far longer, and they also need correspondingly more sleep than their lazier peers.

    Does this make sense?

    Cris
     
  12. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    Interesting when put in that light. Or prehaps a new prespective.
    Please continue Cris.
     
  13. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Cris

    I sure hope you're right about the elderly bit even though it means I'll be forever, or whatever, be in debt to you and Dave and all the others who are stirring my old brain.
     
  14. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    To Sleep, Perchance To Dream...

    Truly an interesting hypothesis, Cris..

    Especially as regards to the current mainstream treatment of sleeping "disorders" in the elderly.

    As an individual ages, several changes in the normal sleep pattern occur. More time is necessary to fall asleep (increased sleep latency). Maintaining sleep continuity is often difficult, as sleep becomes increasingly fragmented. The amount of time spent in deeper levels of sleep is decreased. As a consequence, the elderly appear to be more easily awakened from environmental stimuli and sleep often does not seem as restful.

    Circadian rhythms also appear to change. The "internal clock" shifts, so that elderly persons often retire to bed earlier in the evening and awaken earlier in the morning. But when the schedules and time demands of the external world intrude, sleep suffers.

    Additionally, an increase in daytime sleepiness and can lead to an increase in napping. This may cause the sleep pattern in the elderly to become polycyclic in nature, such that several sleep-wake cycles occur within a 24-hour period, a pattern that is similar to the normal sleep pattern of infants.

    As the elderly do not remain physically or mentally engaged, do their sleep patterns revert to what is "natural?"
     
  15. kmguru Staff Member

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    From my personal experience in teaching Transcendental Meditation and working with elderly, I have observed that those elderly who are physically and mentally active do have a similar sleep pattern with yonger groups - including dream patterns.
     
  16. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Effects with TM

    Kmguru,

    That certainly does add weight to my hypothesis.

    As for TM: I wonder what role, if any that plays in protein replacement. I do know that the electrical activity in the brain increases enormously during meditation and that could almost imply that protein is being used if neurons are firing. But on the other hand one is not generating thoughts during TM, the mental activities are very quiet. Perhaps it is the neurons themselves that are active without transferring signals to other neurons – oh heck I’m guessing now. I haven’t looked at current research on TM for over a decade. I certainly remember that when I did TM too near to bedtime then it was then extremely difficult to get to sleep. That implies that protein has been restored during TM and not consumed.

    For the record, I learnt TM in 1977 and became a TM-Sidha in 1987. But I never had a desire to teach. It is very nice to hear from a fellow meditator.

    Cris
     
  17. kmguru Staff Member

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    The simplest analogy as to how TM works is as follows (noting that analogy is not a substitute for specifics):

    When you are in TM, your brain is consciously disconnected from the outside stimuli. You are aware of what is going on but you tell your brain not to act on it. Let the thoughts come and subside. Now this state prepares your brain to do housekeeping that you normally should be doing when in sleep. It is like you are defragging your hard drive at lunch break. Now, the brain filed away a lot of information, some are unresolved etc. TM allows you to consciously look at information and reorganize them.

    I am simplifying too much here, but consider TM as the modern DSS (Decision Support System) that works on Decision Theory, Automation Theory and Information Science. The reason you need a Guru is that TM does not fill in the gap in your knowledge base (because it is not there), the right Guru does. If the Guru does not know, he or she will recommend someone who does.

    As you know, TM does enhance one's intelligence in the sense that you have the right information at the right time to make decisions in your life. That is why a lot of corporate people have learned it queitly. TM allows me to keep up with highly complex global information architecture designs and not to mention those young punks.
     
  18. kmguru Staff Member

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    Cris

    I am glad to learned TM loong time ago. I hope you are staying with it. Like Broccoli, it is good for you....
     
  19. thecurly1 Registered Senior Member

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    If I can't sleep I'll kill myself...

    I am in no way knocking anyones opinions, but making a humorous editorial on sleep.

    Sleep has to be the most innocent, unbridle great things that can be done. Just think about it. You can spend eight hours, laying in bed, having dreams that can be weirder than acid trips, and doctors say people are sleep deprived. How could anyone not want to sleep. I'll go as far as saying that there should be a National Sleep Day, where everyone is really quite, we block out the sun for 24 hours, and just sleep. I love to sleep, if I could I'd sleep 25 hrs in a day, (I'm still trying to figure out how to squeeze an extra hour out of the day).

    Sleep is the greatest ending to practically everything.
    Concerts
    Road Trips
    Getting Drunk
    Sex
    Spending three days straight on Scifourms
    (I wouldn't have anything to know about that.

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    Wedding
    Wedding receptions (Actually I'd like to sleep during them)
    Surgery
     
  20. kmguru Staff Member

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    NOW, go watch the game....Let me start the bear and dragon....
     
  21. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    ...and it's opposite

    I once knew a fellow with sleep apinea (?). That fellow scared me. Not that he was doing anything, quite the opposite. He would go to sleep while in a conversation. He rode home with a coworker, who let him drive. He fell asleep at the wheel and ran off the road. Almost had a wreck! What bothered me was sometimes he ran heavy equiptment. Anyone have any insight on the causes? I know the effects.

    How would this affect an upload? Would this possibly not be a canidate for such?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2001
  22. kmguru Staff Member

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    That reminds an elderly gentleman who worked with me several years ago. We were travelling from Cleveland to Toronto on the plane. He fell asleep like a switch when we were taking off from ground. Upon arrival, he insisted to rent the car and drive. He will dose off while driving. I had to shout like "So, where are we staying?" etc to make sure he does not have a wreck with me in it.

    I have a feeling, this is the result of oxygen deprivation to the brain. Not enough to cause damage but enough to create unconsciousness for a short time. This gentleman was big in size and being on the road all the time ate high cholesterol food caused his arteries to clogg up (he had an angioplasty).
     
  23. tony1 Jesus is Lord Registered Senior Member

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    TM?

    For a guy who otherwise prefers to create an impression of scientific rigor, this TM thing seems out of character.

    Based on what kmguru says (The reason you need a Guru is that TM does not fill in the gap in your knowledge base (because it is not there), the right Guru does.), it appears that you don't do as much of your own thinking as you would have us believe.

    Out of the opinions you express, how many are actually yours, and how many are your Guru's?

    Keep in mind that I don't take exception to your use of TM, it's just that you attempted to create the impression that you reject God because of your own reasoned analysis.
    Now, it appears that you may simply have been told to reject God by your Guru.
     
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