Some exciting research about slee … *snoooooore*

Another example of why science needs to study “obvious” things: peeing on jellyfish stings is a terrible idea.

One of the more interesting aspects about the scientific process is that it cannot be based on commonly held or assumed wisdom. This leads to criticism of experiments and, by extension, the entire field of science when researchers test something we all assume we know. For example: calling fruit fly research a waste of government funding because we all know what fruit flies are, dontchaknow?

Which is why it seems strange to research sleep. You know, that thing we all hate when we’re young and elusively seek as we age. But, what’s sleep for, other than to chase bunnies or be Vikings?

The prevailing theory is that animals need sleep to basically recharge the brain. But, then that would mean that brainless animals, like jellyfish, wouldn’t need sleep. Except it turns out that they totally do, you guys.

In what could easily be the plot of an already-cancelled Real Genius TV series (you’re welcome, Netflix), three Caltech students snuck into the jellyfish lab after hours to settle a bet: whether jellyfish sleep. They observed sleep-like behavior in the jellyfish:

1.  They didn’t move much at a set time of night.
2. They were slow to react to stimulus in this state.
3. After being kept up all night by squirt torture (welcome to SeriouslyGuys, disappointed porn Googlers), they were clearly out of sorts and needed a deeper sleep the next night.

So, it turns out you don’t need a brain to need sleep. Which means that, while we still don’t know why we sleep, this does explain why certain relatives will be passed out on your couch this Thanksgiving.

Fish mating rituals will keep you up at night

There’s a town in England where no one gets a good night’s sleep. They go to bed, they fall asleep, but then all of a sudden, a hum pulsates through the homes, disturbing all of the residents. It has gotten so bad that some people have left the area just so they can sleep.

Turns out, it’s a type of fish in the river trying to hook up. Male Midshipman fish try to hum to attract females, and the hum is so low that it carries out of the water and into buildings. Also, they just like to mess with us.

Live from New York: your child’s a moron!

"Hey, Paul! I swallowed my gum, so for the next seven years, we can watch live footage from my colon."
“Hey, Paul! I swallowed my gum, so for the next seven years, we can watch live footage from my colon.”

New research from University College London indicates that kids who stay up late watch more television and are more likely to fail reading and math. They found a decline in test performance in those staying up past 9 pm. And the more irregular their sleep schedule, the worse their overall performance got.

So, now we know why late night television gets dumber and dumber the longer hosts stick around.

Hey! Teacher! Let them sleep it off!

A study by Dr. Robert Vorona, a sleep medicine professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., suggests that teen drivers get into more accidents the earlier they wake up. He suggests opening high schools later in the day to resolve this problem.

Finally, somebody gets it. If you don’t want teens on the road when they’re still drunk, let them sleep it off a little longer.

This plan is a win-win:

1. The teens get to tie one on and still graduate, and

2. Only the teacher’s lounge will still smell like gin.