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    Thread: What part of the brain turns off when you fall asleep?

    1. #1
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      What part of the brain turns off when you fall asleep?

      Thomas Edison and Salvador Dali both used the edge of sleep to create things. They would sleep holding something and drop the object as soon as they fell asleep, which woke them up and they would write down/paint what they thought/saw. My question is, What part of the brain turns off to make holding an object impossible while sleeping?
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      It's possible to hold objects while sleeping. For example, somebody could sleep while hugging a pillow or hold items while sleepwalking.

      If an object is dropped while sleeping, it is due to not enough necessary force being exerted to hold it. Exerting force on the object to hold it may require working towards that goal. Working towards a goal requires executive functions in the brain. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is partially responsible for executive functions and shows decreased activity during NREM sleep, so that's my best guess as the most responsible part of the brain that slows down to make dropping an object possible while sleeping.
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      Quote Originally Posted by JShadow View Post
      Thomas Edison and Salvador Dali both used the edge of sleep to create things. They would sleep holding something and drop the object as soon as they fell asleep, which woke them up and they would write down/paint what they thought/saw. My question is, What part of the brain turns off to make holding an object impossible while sleeping?
      Great question! Didn't know that Edison did that. Had heard about Dali doing it. Just found this about Edison:

      https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/0...p-and-success/

      Sounds like he had a love/hate relationship with sleep. Mostly hate.

      Just occurred to me that that method of holding onto something and having it drop when you fall asleep--or get distracted--might also be a useful way to meditate. You could focus on your hand holding the object instead of--or in addition to--focusing on a mantra. Then, when the object drops, you could make a mental note of whatever you were thinking of at the time, and start over. Could prevent you from wasting a lot of time in non-meditative mental states when you're trying to meditate. Also might produce some creativity, as with Edison and Dali.
      Last edited by Zthread; 05-24-2019 at 08:54 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by dolphin View Post
      It's possible to hold objects while sleeping. For example, somebody could sleep while hugging a pillow or hold items while sleepwalking.
      Good point. Some people have even driven cars while asleep, mostly after having taken Ambien.

      On the other hand, I think the brain's control of the body is usually mostly deactivated during sleep. Otherwise, if you're walking or running in a dream, you might be moving your legs in bed as if you're walking or running. Is that what restless legs syndrome is?

      Quote Originally Posted by dolphin View Post
      If an object is dropped while sleeping, it is due to not enough necessary force being exerted to hold it. Exerting force on the object to hold it may require working towards that goal. Working towards a goal requires executive functions in the brain. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is partially responsible for executive functions and shows decreased activity during NREM sleep, so that's my best guess as the most responsible part of the brain that slows down to make dropping an object possible while sleeping.
      Sounds like it probably would be that part of the brain.

      Wonder if you could hold onto the object longer if you were to do that object-dropping experiment after taking galantamine or other LD supplements that keep more parts of your brain activated. Probably could.
      Last edited by Zthread; 05-24-2019 at 08:54 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Zthread View Post
      Otherwise, if you're walking or running in a dream, you might be moving your legs in bed as if you're walking or running. Is that what restless legs syndrome is?
      No, that is REM behavior disorder. Restless legs syndrome occurs when there are unpleasant sensations in resting legs that tend to only go away when the legs are moved.

      On YouTube, there are lots of time lapses of people sleeping that illustrate how the body moves during sleep. There are also videos of people having episodes of REM behavior disorder.
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      Quote Originally Posted by dolphin View Post
      No, that is REM behavior disorder. Restless legs syndrome occurs when there are unpleasant sensations in resting legs that tend to only go away when the legs are moved.
      Oh, OK. Didn't know that! Hadn't heard of REM behavior disorder.

      Quote Originally Posted by dolphin View Post
      On YouTube, there are lots of time lapses of people sleeping that illustrate how the body moves during sleep. There are also videos of people having episodes of REM behavior disorder.
      Interesting. Will try to find some of those.
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