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(Not) Sleeping On It

In Greek mythology Hypnos was the god of sleep. His mother was Nyx, the god of night, and his father was Erebus, the brother of Nyx and the god of darkness. Nyx and Erebus were the offspring of Chaos. Hypnos had a twin brother called Thanatos, the god of death, and the two lived together in a cave in Hades, the underworld, where neither sunlight nor moonlight penetrated.

In the minds of the ancient Greeks sleep and death were inextricably linked. And in modern medicine the link between sleep and death persists but now we know it is a lack of sleep or a disrupted sleep cycle that increases the risks of premature mortality.

We are still not entirely sure what sleep is actually for. Every animal does it in some form or another and we can speculate that it is needed for rest and restoration and, in humans at least, for processing the preceding awake hours. But in reality can be no more certain than that.

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iScot issue # 40 - April 2018 is now available to download - we apologise in advance for the sensitive nature of the front cover and suggest that one displays the issue face down on one’s coffee table.