Archive for May, 2013

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

As of today, I am officially a licentiate of technology. In case you’re wondering what that is, it’s a university degree in the Finnish system that sits between a master’s and a doctorate and, along with a fistful of euros, gets me a cup of coffee.

A pediatric patient ready for a night of not quite non-invasive monitoring.

In order to be granted this, the most auspicious of all accolades, I had to jump through a number of hoops, the main one being a licentiate thesis. A good friend of mine, who wrote one before tackling his doctoral thesis, was, and probably still is, of the opinion that “a licentiate thesis is just like a subpar master’s thesis”.

You don’t have to take his word for it though — nor mine. You can download my licentiate thesis, titled “Monitoring sleep quality with non-invasive sensors“, and see for yourself.

While doing research for said thesis, I ran across a veritable cornucopia of delightful factoids. For instance, did you know that the (male) armadillo only has erections during deep sleep? (Most animals have them during REM sleep. The armadillo paper, by the way, has a particularly excellent title.) Or, that even though owls cannot move their eyes — they have to move their whole head when they want to look at something — they still have a REM (Rapid Eye Movements) sleep phase? Before this discovery, one of the hypotheses concerning REM sleep was that the eye movements cause the typical brain wave patterns; now we know it’s the other way round.

Pleasant dreams.