Hard Deadlines, Soft Couch

In my career I spent a good deal of time working overnight, pulling 12, 24, and even 36 hour coding sprints. You can cram a couple of weeks of work into 36 hours. This is not unusual or heroic at all – most programmers I know routinely work crazy hours.

Because of this it is very important to have a couch for naps in the office. At my current job there are no cornerner offices. Every corner of our parallelogram-shaped building is either inside a conference room or set aside for a small meeting space. One of them is where “my” couch is. Whenever I’m working off-hours and stuck, I go there to take a nap. Just like Don Draper in “Mad Men”, I almost always wake up from the nap with an idea of how to solve the problem.

Recently there was a some kind of commercial shoot at the office, and I’ve been sent this photo. There he is, Doctor House, MD, on my couch!

Actually, I only recently started watching House, having being unable to turn off disbelief of so many doctors spending so much time on patients. I did not realize that it was a neat little pun on Sherlock Holmes, complete with drugs, loyal sidekick, and even very sexy Mrs. Hudson. Now I have 4 seasons to watch.

SleepTracker Pro

Worn like an everyday watch, SLEEPTRACKER is ideal for anyone who wants to wake up alert and ready to start the day, such as frequent travelers across time zones, business people looking for an extra edge, students with fluctuating schedules, or busy moms who need to wake up easily. SleepTraker PRO connects via USB to your computer, so you can download sleep data, make night-over-night comparisons, and keep track of other factors influencing your sleeping patterns with the included software. The Pro also offers three alarm choices: Vibrating, Ringing, or Both. Plus it features a sleek new metallic design. Why it Works The Key to Waking Up Refreshed Why is it so hard to wake up to a normal alarm clock? Because a normal alarm clock can’t detect where you are in your sleep cycle — a continuous cycle from deep sleep, to brief almost-awake moments, and back to deep sleep again. Occasionally, your alarm may catch you at an optimal, almost-awake moment and you wake up feeling refreshed, but usually you grope for the snooze button waking up tired and groggy. Wake at Your Perfect Time SLEEPTRACKER puts an end to that tired feeling. Once you set its alarm window, it monitors your body and continuously looks for your optimal waking times so it can wake you at just the right moment. Imagine not feeling tired in the morning and getting a few extra minutes out of your day. How does SLEEPTRACKER® work? SLEEPTRACKER continuously monitors signals from your body that indicate whether you are asleep or awake. Because you wear SLEEPTRACKER® on your wrist like a watch, its internal sensors can detect even the most subtle physical signals from your body. SLEEPTRACKER finds your best waking moments, so that waking up has never been easier.

Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming

“[A] solid how-to book…For amateur dream researchers, this is a must.”
WHOLE EARTH REVIEW
This book goes far beyond the confines of pop dream psychology, establishing a scientifically researched framework for using lucid dreaming–that is, consciously influencing the outcome of your dreams. Based on Dr. Stephen LaBerge’s extensive laboratory work at Stanford University mapping mind/body relationships during the dream state, as well as the teachings of Tibetan dream yogis and the work of other scientists, including German psycholgist Paul Tholey, this practical workbook will show you how to use your dreams to: Solve problems; Gain greater confidence; improve creativity, and more.

The Art of Dreaming

For once, I haven’t forgot to wear the little armband that comes with my sleep phase tracking alarm clock (I’ll write a review of it soonish) and everything worked perfectly: I was woken up right after a dream (and thus REM phase) was ending, well-rested and alert.

This also made me remember the dream that I was seeing. Believe it or not, all I did in that dream was look at modern art at the Guggenheim museum (the one in New York).

Beeeep beeeep beeeep beeeep SLAP

Most people I know don’t like their sleep to be interrupted. I, on the other hand, as long as I don’t have to get up right this minute, don’t mind being woke up multiple times.

First of all, the actual process of falling asleep after quieting the harsh beep of the alarm clock is a very pleasant experience. Second, I find that a short series of naps is more refreshing than a long “wow, how long was I out” sleep. I also a series of alarms has a much greater chance of waking me up from an REM state. This is the best way to wake up: the brain is already active and the dreams can be easily recalled.

At some point I wanted to make an alarm clock that would detect either eye movements or the brain waves associated with them and wake me up during REM. Understandably, for the lack of time, skills and gumption I never got further than playing with a basic stamp microcontroller and reading EEG newsgroups. I suck.

Anyhoo, this morning, between the infamous 9 minute alarm clock buzzes, I had 2 dreams.

In the first one, came for a visit to America. We went to explore the power station at Brooklyn College. Tema had a really old looking key that opened the gate. As a side note (not a part of the dream): Brooklyn College has some very interesting infrastructure. There are tunnels connecting all buildings, a power plant, a heat plant and a buncha other interesting things. I’ve heard that there is a linear accelerator somewhere. Right. So we explored the area around the power plant a bit, I pointed out Monk parrots to .

You’d think I went clubbing with in the second dream, but I didn’t. Instead I was still in Brooklyn College. My high school English teacher was giving a lecture standing behind a podium in the middle of the quad. He said: “the time now is [don’t remember] and the temperature is 28 Therms “. I asked him is there is a thermometer on his podium that measures temperature in “Therms” ( I think a Therm is the same thing as BTU). He said that that was the case. For some reason I called him Alex, even though his name is Alan.