What’s going on in the brains of people who don’t need much sleep?

Scientists study the brain activity of people who claim to be able to do just fine on five hours or less sleep per night. Research finds that these people might be more efficient than the rest of us at performing the memory consolidation that sleep provides. They might also be falling asleep for a minute or two at a time when things get boring. And maybe these short sleepers are just kidding themselves about how they function well on very little sleep.

I need more sleep than I’d like. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights I got four to five hours of sleep per night, and suffered for it. By Thursday and Friday I was a wreck. Last night I slept eleven hours and today it feels like my brain is packed in cotton.

(David Pescovitz, Boing Boing.)

Bill Maher: Clinton needs to embrace the cartoon evil image Republicans have created

Bill Maher: “Hillary has to embrace all the nasty things the haters say and run as the Notorious HRC.”

In character as Notorious HRC: “When Donald Trump gets angry at someone he sends out a mean-girl tweet in the middle of the night. That’s cute. Here’s me killing bin Laden. And Gaddafi’s ass is a little sore these days too.”

Hilarious. I love it. And there’s truth here. Americans don’t want “sweet grandma Hillary.”

Also: “Try as I might, I cannot make my brain work like a Trump voter. Maybe it’s my mother not drinking when she was pregnant.”

Brain? What is brain?

The empty brain – Robert Epstein, Aeon.

“Your brain doesn’t process information, retrieve knowledge, or store memories. In short: Your brain is not a computer,” Epstein says

The brain doesn’t store copies of music and songs the way computers do. Minds are fundamentally different from information processors, and 50 years of thinking of minds as kinds of digital computers is just plain wrong.

Because neither ‘memory banks’ nor ‘representations’ of stimuli exist in the brain, and because all that is required for us to function in the world is for the brain to change in an orderly way as a result of our experiences, there is no reason to believe that any two of us are changed the same way by the same experience. If you and I attend the same concert, the changes that occur in my brain when I listen to Beethoven’s 5th will almost certainly be completely different from the changes that occur in your brain. Those changes, whatever they are, are built on the unique neural structure that already exists, each structure having developed over a lifetime of unique experiences.

This is why, as Sir Frederic Bartlett demonstrated in his book Remembering(1932), no two people will repeat a story they have heard the same way and why, over time, their recitations of the story will diverge more and more. No ‘copy’ of the story is ever made; rather, each individual, upon hearing the story, changes to some extent – enough so that when asked about the story later (in some cases, days, months or even years after Bartlett first read them the story) – they can re-experience hearing the story to some extent, although not very well….

They’re wired that way

Why teen-agers act like teen-agers

It’s how their brains are wired – the centers that control evaluating consequences and impulse control aren’t fully wired up yet, making teens more rash, prone to risk-taking behavior, and novelty-seeking.

Fresh Air:

Teens can’t control impulses and make rapid, smart decisions like adults can — but why?

Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly.

“Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, ‘Oh, I better not do this,’ ” Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

Jensen, who’s a neuroscientist and was a single mother of two boys who are now in their 20s, wrote The Teenage Brain to explore the science of how the brain grows — and why teenagers can be especially impulsive, moody and not very good at responsible decision-making.

Jensen, who is 58 years old, also describes the changes she observes in her own brain as she gets older. She says she needs sleep more and has more difficulty multitasking.

I’ve observed both of those things in myself. I don’t seem to need more sleep, but I have less tolerance for being sleep-deprived. However, I honestly don’t know whether that’s a result of aging, or whether I was previously just kidding myself about how productive I could be when short on sleep.

Likewise for multitasking – am I getting less capable of multitasking, or has it always been bad and I’m aware of it more now?

She says she writes more notes to herself now – definitely true for me – and finds herself more drawn to writing by hand. That last point is definitely not true for me. I do everything on the computer, phone, or iPad.