So, I collected data on myself for several weeks, and played around with some simple models, and sadly, none of them seemed to match the data at all. I was complaining about it to Drew Davidson, and he suggested I read Counting Sheep by Paul Martin. He wasn't sure it would help, but he said it was interesting anyway.
And he was right! It was interesting. It is basically a guided tour of the science of sleep, trying to touch every aspect. It doesn't get very deep, but it gives a little bit of info about everything. It's also full of interesting quotes and examples from history, literature and mythology, which keeps it from being a dry read.
Some of the fun facts I learned in Counting Sheep:
- People who are early risers tend to have more stress chemicals in their blood (that explains why you early people act like that!)
- People who have frequent nightmares are easier to hypnotize. I will be thinking about that for a long time.
- We don't just dream during REM sleep -- there are also dreams during NREM sleep, but they are a bit different.
- I knew when you were falling asleep, it is called the "hypnogogic state", but know I know that waking up is the "hypnopompic state."
- I learned the horror of Ondine's Curse.
- If your eyes don't keep moving, oxygen doesn't get to the iris. This may be part of the reason for REM sleep.
- There are two kinds of sleep apnea: "obstructive" (the normal kind, where your throat collapses while you sleep), and "central", where some kind of brain damage makes you stop breathing in your sleep.