Sleep Disorder: The Twilight Zone Between Wakefulness and Sleep
The journal Sleep Medicine has a report on two Italians who have never truly slept. The story has lead many to reconsider if we are ever truly asleep or simply in a twilight zone.
The two Italians rested frequently, yet their brain activity gave no indication of actual sleep activity. Their lack of actual sleep manifested itself in violent trembling, yelling, and a lack of awareness for their surroundings as well as a dream-like kind of semi-consciousness.
Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis, who has long contested the dogma that sleep and wakefulness are discrete and distinct states. "There is now overwhelming evidence that the primary states of being are not mutually exclusive," he says. The blurring of sleep and wakefulness is very clear in status dissociatus, but he believes it can happen to us all. If he is right, we will have to rethink our understanding of what sleep is and what it is for.
The two Italians were diagnosed with "multiple system atrophy," a disorder that has damaged the brain as a result of lacking actual sleep. The result of this damage is seen as a twilight zone that exists somewhere between being awake and asleep.