He drove 14 miles, and then he murdered his mother-in-law. Apparently he liked her. And he did all of this – the driving and the murdering – while he slept.
It’s not often sleep-walking gets our attention. In fact, sleep itself, so central to our lives, is little understood – and of surprisingly small interest to us (and government-funded research).
But what research does take place is actually rather astonishing, and generally focused on animals.
- “Many birds fly non-stop for days or longer, but do they sleep in flight and if so, how?”
- “On the first night in a new environment, research has shown, one hemisphere of our brain remains more active than the other during sleep – essentially maintaining a ‘vigilant mode’, able to respond to unfamiliar, potentially danger-signalling sounds.”
- “The rational part of the brain is in a sleep-like state and does not exert its normal control over the limbic system and the motor system,’ explains the Italian neuroscientist Lino Nobili, a sleep researcher at Niguarda Hospital in Milan. ‘So behaviour is regulated by a kind of archaic survival system like the one that is activated during fight-or-flight.”