No matter how restless your sleep is, you will likely wake up where you fell asleep.
Even if you are one of those who smash the bed and sleep like a log until the next morning, everyone knows that both the mind and the body remain active while we sleep.
Not only do we dream, but we also snore, talk, laugh, scream, curl up, snuggle, and stretch? We even hit and kick.
But whether you sleep in a camp bed under 65cm wide or a super king bed 200cm wide, you’ll likely wake up where you sleep, no matter how restless you get at night.
So why don’t we fall out of bed?
“It’s cool because we think when we sleep we’re completely disconnected from our surroundings, but no: if someone close to you screams, you wake up,” Russell Foster, a professor at the University of Oxford in the UK, explains to the BBC’s Crowd Science programme. ..
“Our bodies continue to collect information through our receptors.”
A feeling that certainly does not fall asleep.
“It’s almost like a sixth sense. It doesn’t tend to be good when we’re kids—that’s why some fall out of bed—but it gets better with age.”
So, don’t we “go out of our senses” when we sleep, especially sleep that prevents us from waking up groggy? Maybe bruises? in Earth.
In popular culture, the sixth sense is associated with extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, anxiety, intuition, and the ability to communicate with a world inhabited by spirits and ghosts.
But scientists like Foster mean something less secret.
It’s called proprioception, and experts identified this ability more than a century ago.
Pioneering studies on it were made in the 19th century by some of the great names in neuroscience: the Frenchman Claude Bernard, “one of the greatest scientists,” according to historian of science A. Bernard Cohen. Scottish anatomist Charles Bell, who worked The idea of a new anatomy of the brain (1811) was called “The Magna Carta of Neuroscience”; and Charles Sherrington, the 1932 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology/Medicine who coined the term proprioception.
What wasn’t clearly known until the second decade of this millennium is how much we depend on it.
Want to see proprioception in action?
Close your eyes and then touch the tip of your left elbow with your right index finger.
Did you find it easy? how did you do it?
Somehow you knew where the tip of your finger was and you also knew where your left elbow was.
You can also describe the position of your entire body without having to see it.
This is proprioception: the perception we have about where each part of the body is in space.
Proprioception is possible thanks to neurophysiological signals from receptors in our muscles, tendons, joints, and skin, which inform the brain of muscle length and elongation, joint rotation, and local changes and skin flexure.
It lets us know which direction our joints are moving, and makes us aware of our posture and balance.
In the sense that, for example, it helps you regain balance when you have lost it.
Although another system in this case also plays an important role.
Imagine that you are blindfolded, and I slowly lean forward.
You will immediately feel that your body position has changed in relation to gravity.
This is due to the fluid-filled vestibular system in the inner ear, which helps us maintain balance. This system also provides our experience of acceleration through space and is associated with eyes.
But those don’t really help with not falling out of bed, as they close when we sleep, so we won’t lose our way.
Let’s go back to proprioception, quoting an article published in the academic news site The Conversation.
“(Propy sense) is a key component of the ‘Global Positioning System’, and is central to our daily lives because we need to know where we are in order to navigate somewhere,” reads an excerpt from the article written by four academics.
Proprioception allows us to determine the position, speed and direction of each part of the body, whether we see it or not, and thus allows the brain to direct our movements.
Thanks to her, when we fall asleep, we can move freely, but without going beyond the bed.
– This text was published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-64208684
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