questions on the loo, issue #4: Fatigue and the distant voice

You know when you’re extremely sleep-deprived, and during the day, you eventually come to a moment when all stimuli in your surroundings fall away, and whatever voice(s) you hear suddenly sounds like it’s coming from far away, and everything seems to echo?  It sounds so distant yet at the same time, so internalized that it sounds like a voice echoing inside your head.  Not unlike what it might be like to hear your mother’s voice from inside her womb.  It’s happened to me many a time in lectures.  Do you know what i’m talking about?  I’m not talking about how when you focus really hard on something, every sound around you gets muffled.  That happens all the time.  This happens only when you’re too sleep-deprived to function properly.  

I’m just curious as to what processes in your brain might have to do with this.  Does this have anything to do with the sleep cycle?  Is the brain, at that moment, somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness?  How exactly does sleep or lack thereof affect perception and information processing?

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2 Comments

Filed under perception, questions on the loo

2 responses to “questions on the loo, issue #4: Fatigue and the distant voice

  1. It’s impossible to pinpoint when it is that someone “falls asleep” – that is, passes from consciousness into unconsciousness. It could be possible that when what you’re describing occurs, you’re entering one of the early phases of sleep.

    When we sleep, we no longer accept outside stimuli. Instead, we take it and turn it into something within our minds. When my clock radio goes off in the morning and I’m still asleep, my brain just works the sound into whatever I’m dreaming about. Sometimes it will remain a radio, other times my mind takes whatever the radio is saying and uses that as inspiration for whatever might happen next.

    My theory is, there comes a time early in the sleep cycle where we no longer exist in the world, but entirely in our minds. That would explain why it sounds and feels like the stuff you’re hearing outside is inside your head.

  2. n

    Yeah, i know what you’re talking about, and it could very well be an explanation for the “distant voice” that i experience. Thanks for the input.

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