What you didn’t know about the verges of sleep 你不知道的“入睡邊緣”常識

New fringe sleep study

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每個人一生中大約有三分之一的時間都處於睡眠狀態。一直以來,科學家對於人類為什麼要睡覺,睡覺時大腦究竟處於什麼狀態等問題進行了多方面的深入研究。那麼,當人類處於睡眠邊緣狀態時,身體裡到底發生著什麼變化?它又意味著什麼?新的研究正在尋找這些答案。本集《隨身英語》介紹有關人類睡眠邊緣狀態的研究。

課文內容

Vocabulary: sleep 詞彙: 睡眠

How long does it take you to fall asleep? Are you out like a light as soon as your head hits the pillow, or does it take you more than a little time to doze off?

If the average night’s sleep is eight hours, or a third of a day, then it means we spend around one third of our lives in this dormant state. Science already has reams of data on the brain’s activity during sleep itself. Now, an international group of researchers at the University of Cambridge are researching that dopey state we all go through between wide awake and fast asleep.

This transitional period usually lasts between five and 20 minutes, says Sridhar Rajan Jagannathan, one of Cambridge’s Gates Scholars. However, people exhibit a variety of behaviour within this time. For some, going to the land of nod is a smooth, quick journey, while others have more difficulty. They “begin to get drowsy” and then snap out of it “back to alertness” he says.

The aim of the research is to find out how this pre-sleep phase, when the eyes glaze, the attention wanders and the mind is lulled, could be linked to accidents and dangerous mistakes. This could happen during the day while at work. “If you’re doing some boring task, you might be drowsy in this period. Small drift-offs can cause big problems,” says Mr Jangannathan. This is not just connected to safety concerns with driving, for example, but any task where concentration and decision making are important.

There are positive sides to this hypnagogic period too. Some experts think there is a connection to creativity and imagination. This is caused by a reduction in your inhibitions, which makes you more creative. You have more freedom to express yourself, and you’re more willing to make mistakes. It certainly seems to support the old adage of sleeping on it to solve a problem.

Ultimately, there are hopes that research into brain activity during falling asleep and waking might help stroke victims who are trying to regain lost physical functions. That could well be a pipe dream. There are also research efforts underway to find ways to warn of the onset of sleep, identifying changes in eye movements or brain activity. These could have practical applications for tired people operating heavy machinery and may help ensure that when it comes to accidents, we’re not caught napping.

詞彙表

out like a light 迅速入睡
doze off 入睡
dormant 休眠的,沉睡的
dopey 迷迷糊糊的
wide awake 完全清醒的
fast asleep 熟睡的
the land of nod 在睡夢中
drowsy 半夢半醒的,睡意朦朧的
snap out of it 從…迅速恢複過來
alertness 清醒
glaze 發呆,(眼神)變呆滯
lull 使發困, 使安靜
drift-off 漸漸入睡
hypnagogic 催眠的,入睡前的
sleeping on it 考慮一晚上,把…留到第二天再作決定
pipe dream 白日夢
catch someone napping 使某人措手不及、猝不及防

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. How much of our lives do we spend asleep on average?

2. True or false: Everybody falls asleep in the same way.

3. What is the aim of this research?

4. How does the period before sleep enable creativity?

5. What practical medical application for this research is mentioned in the article?

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. John, put that down! Do you know how much caffeine there is in that drink? You won’t sleep! You’ll be ______ all night.

out like a light       dopey       wide awake       alertness

2. Huh? What did you say? I’m sorry, a heavy lunch like the one we just ate always makes me ______.

dormant       drowsy       snap out of it       caught napping

3. Unless we change our prices, we won’t be able to cover our overheads next month. Now that we know, we can act so we won’t be ______.

lulled       a pipe dream       caught napping       sleep on it

4. For the peasants living in the middle ages, the idea of owning property or gold was just ______. It would never happen for them.

the land of nod       hypnagogic       snap out of it       a pipe dream

5. John, what’s going on with you today? You are usually much quicker than this. Will you ______?

doze off       dopey       snap out of it       sleep on it

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. How much of our lives do we spend asleep on average?
If the average night’s sleep is eight hours, or a third of a day, then it means we spend around one third of our lives in this dormant state. 

2. True or false: Everybody falls asleep in the same way.
False. People exhibit a variety of behaviour within this time. For some, going to sleep is a smooth, quick journey, while others have more difficulty.

3. What is the aim of this research?
The aim of the research is to find out how this pre-sleep phase could be linked to accidents and dangerous mistakes.

4. How does the period before sleep enable creativity?
This state reduces your inhibitions, making you more creative. You have more freedom to express yourself, and are more willing to make mistakes.

5. What practical medical application for this research is mentioned in the article?
There are hopes this research might help stroke victims regain lost physical functions.

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. John, put that down! Do you know how much caffeine there is in that drink? You won’t sleep! You’ll be wide awake all night.

2. Huh? What did you say? I’m sorry, a heavy lunch like the one we just ate always makes me drowsy.

3. Unless we change our prices, we won’t be able to cover our overheads next month. Now that we know, we can act so we won’t be caught napping.

4. For the peasants living in the middle ages, the idea of owning property or gold was just a pipe dream. It would never happen for them.

5. John, what’s going on with you today? You are usually much quicker than this. Will you snap out of it?

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