There is a light shimmering above the scientific horizon . . . . .
MSN - WEL.NL Gerard Driehuis 20-11-2018 : Science: why you calm down when you are breathing in- and out very deeply.
Through research - at first on mice, subsequently on humans - brain scientists have established what makes us calm down when we are breathing controlled. The explanation is to be found in the control:
by controlling your breath you force a brain area that normally is not controlled by your consciousness to listen to you. The - uncontrollable - panic and fear can, if you get your breathing under control
and very consciously breathe a number of times in- and out, be brought under control. The same experiments showed that it has also a positive influence on falling asleep.
The above text could simply have been situated at the end of the column 'Topical Matters' on page 1. But because it links so magnificently on the following article it has been placed here.
'Just how naughty and selfish may I be? . . . May I drive
fast? . . . I mean, really fast?'
Harriet repressed a shudder. She liked to drive, and even
liked to be driven, but anything over seventy miles an hour
made her feel hollow inside. Still, married people can not have
everything their own way.
'Yes, really fast - if you feel like that.'
'Definitely too good to live!'
'I should say, definitely too good to die . . . But really fast
means the main road.'
'So it does. Well, we'll do the main road really fast and get
rid of it.'
The ordeal lasted only as far as Great Pagford. Happily they
encountered none of Superintendant Kirk's black sheep parked
on bends, though, just outside, they shot past Frank Crutchley
driving a taxi and were rewarded by his astonished and admiring
stare. Passing the police-station at a demure legal thirty,
they turned out westward and took to the side-roads. Harriet,
who could not distinctly recollect having breathed at all since
they left Paggleham, filled her lungs and observed in resolutely
steady tones that it was a lovely day for a run.
'Isn't it? Do you approve of this road?'
'It's beautiful,' said Harriet, fervently. 'All corners!'
Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman's honeymoon 1937.
Apnea may be a bit frightening when appearing during sleep, but it certainly is no disorder.
The human body is intelligently controlled, just like the bodies of all other living beings. This implies that a variety of functions can be switched on- or off, when required.
Usually you will not see much of it from the outside, but, among other things, fever, sweating, flushing, diarrhea, are well known exceptions.
An other exception, which is very clearly perceptible, is the drive of breathing: if we are concentrating we unwantedly hold our breath, if we want to relax we breathe a number of times.
We, for instance, hold our breath when we are trying to wriggle a thread through the eye of a needle, when we turn a screw, manoeuver something exactly into position or aim a big rifle at a little animal.
In literature one regularly encounters sentences like: ’Breathlessly they listened to what he was telling.’, ‘They were holding their breath as they were watching!’,
‘It was a breath taking spectacle.’, ‘His breath caught.’
Persons who, when in an exaggerated state, are used to performing things they regret later on, are always advised: take some deep breaths before you take any action.
Apnea – whether or not occurring when we are asleep and whether or not occurring an x number of times within some arbitrary space of time – is no disease or disorder.
It only shows us that we are controlled in an intelligent way.
While we are concentrating we hold our breath, afterwards we recover it. No one is worried about it.
Many people do even have apnea all day long, constantly periods of holding breath and periods in which breath is recovered are alternated.
But oh dear, oh dear, when it is happening overnight! Then there suddenly is that creepy silence, that seems to have no end,
in which one is asking oneself whether the beloved sleeping-mate will ever start breathing again! For the listener, who has no idea that nothing abnormal is happening,
it is a very frightening affair: breath has dropped out!!!
In reality breath has not dropped out at all, it is merely paused.
The only thing that is happening to the beloved sleeping-mate is that consciously priority is given to the control of the data processing in the brain, that is working at full steam,
over the functioning of the body, which is more or less switched off and does not need constant monitoring.
So in itself apnea is nothing peculiar and there is no reason to worry.
On the other hand, witnessing a long lasting apnea at night is a horrifying experience and no one escapes from getting all kinds of ideas, for . . . . . no omelet can be made without breaking eggs, can it!
Over and above that the ‘sufferer’ is just during the apnea having the wildest dreams, which gives one the impression that eventual moaning and turning results directly from the apnea.
Apnea will indeed be kept up a bit too long now and then and there will absolutely people die during an apnea – it would be very strange if such a thing would not happen –
but in principle there is no need to worry. Luckily!
Apnea is originated by the internal control of our body, that temporarily gives priority to the brain over the body.
In Homo Combinatus this internal control, which exists of two components, is named ‘The General Managers’. That sounds a bit more human than 'operating system',
though this is what it really comes down to. But an operating system, even if we make it a very intelligent one, is no living being, while these General Managers definitely are.
In other literature usually terms like ‘autonomic nervous system’ and ‘immune system’ are to be found.
Here a problem arises: these General Managers are merely controlling the body internally, they themselves have no view of the circumstances outside the body
and they conform as good as possible to the signals they receive from other parts of the brain.
If, over time, the circumstances alter – one grows older, lives a bit more relaxed – they will not easily be inclined to make changes,
they are set in their patterns that have developed in the course of time and, for instance, have enormous problems with switching between winter- and summertime.
Controlling a human body, all parts of which have to be adapted to each other, is not a five-finger exercise;
implementing changes is a very complicated process, simple interventions like pulling a switch are out of order here.
The apnea, that is unwanted now – especially during the daytime – will stay, although we experience it as annoying.
The phenomenon apnea has been recognized for ages (it would have been a miracle if it had not) and especially the breathing techniques for tackling it when things get out of hand,
that have been developed by the Buddhists, are very well known.
By means of those techniques it is tried to constantly confront the General Managers with the problems, in the hope that they will yet change their policy.
The balance between body and soul is reestablished that way, as the saying goes very correctly!
In other words: the favoring of the abstract data processing in the brain over the communication with the body, which got out of hand, is reversed.
Apnea is not a stand-alone phenomenon, it is only one component out of a complex of factors and they are just the other factors -
disorders, overburdening, etc. - that are the incentive to the appearance of the apnea.
So it is inappropriate to turn things upside down and blame the apnea for all other factors within the complex.
When a weightlifter, in a state of super concentration, lifts his barbell, apnea will occur.
At the same time his muscles are souring at tremendous speed, but should the apnea be blamed?
And should he be treated by tying his arms behind his back in order to prevent apnea in future?
Well, you might take his barbell from him, of course . . . . . . .
One thing has always to be kept in mind: our existence stands or falls on the correct functioning of our memory, therefore, on correct data processing.
In principle the General Managers will always favor it. If body and brain cannot be equally maintained then the brain will be favored, which makes that there will be apneas
and that problems like acidification of the muscles have to be accepted.
This acidification of the muscles is not caused by the apnea, it is the result of the choice of the General Managers to favor the brain over the body.
The occurrence of apnea indicates that the General Managers are overburdened – which can be for all kinds of reasons – and see themselves forced to make choices.
If they implement adaptations in one area a shift will appear towards problems in some other area.
They will try to establish a practicable average, for instance, by having the body turned on its back during sleep (the strangest sleeping positions occur),
which, among other things, makes breathing easier as the ribs can move more freely, while the nape of the neck is kept warm (which results in less cramp, so in a better blood supply) and the head
gets better cooling, especially when one is sweating.
If that is not sufficient they will make use of apnea. Then they should not be obstructed by forcing all kinds of adaptations upon them, like preventing the body from being turned on its back
or by baiting them by means of some device until they see, out of desperation, no other way out but to turn the body on its side again.
In the long run disruption of the data processing in the brain will be the result.
And not only that. If they are burdened extra once more, whereas they are already unable to cope, they will be forced to pay less attention
to the real problems, like overfatigue, a weak heart, a defective liver etc.
The General Managers are very intelligent (they have to be, or else they would not be able to control something as complicated as a human body) and they will not do anything without a reason.
This reason may be invisible to us, but that does not alter the need to do something about it.
A reason for turning the body on its back might be, for instance, that the lymph nodes in the armpits get a bit stuck when we are lying on our side.
If the blood supply of some internal organ, for instance a floating kidney, is problematic the body will be maneuvered in such a position - which may be a very strange position - that the blood supply
can easily proceed and the heart is relieved as much as possible.
In the daytime we comfortably sprawl in an easy chair, especially for the last mentioned, which, it could not miss,
is observed as a deviation, too . . . . . . . . ‘Now will you sit up straight! You are ruining your back!!’
Conclusion: if absolutely necessary the General Managers may be supported, but they must never be obstructed.
Let us take one moment to summarize.
Apnea occurs when we are concentrating. And when we are concentrating we are doing it completely.
It is not a matter of one part of the brain concentrating and an other part not, our brain as a whole works under a higher tension.
The measure of concentration depends upon the number of data we want to process within a given time and the speed at which we want to be able to react:
the more data and the shorter the reaction time, the higher the tension and the more complicated it will become to perform all functions at the same time.
As the tension grows higher the General Managers will see themselves more and more forced to make choices.
Generally switching off breath during a short period will not cause problems, for many General Managers it will be the first option.
Afterwards we breathe in- and out a number of times and that is the end of the affair. Nothing the matter, at least not when we are awake and able to make some slight adjustments,
when necessary: after a heavy shock, that made the tension shoot sky high and resulted in an apnea, we stand invariably panting for a while
and when we are yawning very intensively we often restrain it somewhat by raising the backside of the tongue a little, which makes slight snoring appear.
But with apneas that occur when we are asleep things are a bit more complicated. We ourselves are unable to take any action,
over and above that we may assume that the General Managers, too, at least partially, are also taking some rest.
In the meantime the very intensive dreaming process takes place, which often involves high tension peaks.
If, during such periods of high tension, breath would not be switched off it, too, would be driven under this high tension:
the air would be raging through our bronchial tubes like a devastating hurricane. Besides that, as the body is inactive,
the brain would get out of adjustment because of a surplus of oxygen, which makes it necessary to create a stabilized, controlled condition.
Generating tension is a chemical process, which means that it cannot be stopped from one moment to an other.
If the concentration level is not much up the average level will soon be reached again, but in case of an apnea that has been kept up under high tension over a rather long period it will take some time.
However, during such an apnea the brain consumes a lot of oxygen, which makes that at last breath has to be started up again very urgently,
although the tension is still far too high and, maybe, has to be kept that high for some time for the sake of correct processing of the dreams.
Now, in order to prevent the air from raging like a whistling storm in our bronchial tubes, which would practically make us blow up our longs, snoring is invoked:
the resonance that is generated, which makes that the entrance to the bronchial tubes is alternately opened and closed, or at least widened and narrowed,
makes the air come in as a not too fast, reasonably constant stream. Often also out: a lot of gurgling and rattling is done!
Of course, other solutions might have been possible but there has clearly been chosen for snoring as the best solution during sleep.
For snoring is switched on- and off! We do not snore as long as we are awake, even if we are panting very heavily, but as soon as we fall asleep the hubbub starts, even when we are sitting up.
In other words: as long as we are awake the 'weak parts in the back of our mouth' are kept under tension,
when we fall asleep they are released, so that they can move freely.
Obviously they could just as well have been connected to the same circuit as the sphincters in the alimentary canal that are kept under tension day and night.
With snoring, too, we now and then find some ‘incontinence’, for instance when there is very hard laughing. Then some people snore when they are breathing in.
Snoring has, apart from the fact that it can work fully automatically, yet an other advantage: it generates frequencies that can be used in the brain during the dreaming process.
If snoring would be something undesirable the construction of our body would have been changed a long time ago.
As said before, apnea is the result of a choice, favoring the data processing in the brain over the body and – to a certain degree – to the disadvantage of the body.
This choice is made by the General Managers (also named: autonomic nervous system and immune system) who maintain our body.
Apnea and snoring are no disease or disorder. They are both a functional part of the dreaming process.
In ‘apnea patients’ they are constantly alternated, others use only snoring.
Often the fact that it is a nuisance to others is seized as a means to label snoring as a disorder. But in that respect it simply comes under the same array as:
burping, slurping, sighing, moaning, weeping, laughing, coughing, sneezing, slobbering, sniveling, shivering etc.
We are not doing those things for others, but for the benefit of ourselves and the only thing we can do is establishing that it is a pity that others are bothered.
Again we encounter the problem we already described: the General Managers conform as good as possible (and as far as practicable) to the signals they receive from other parts of the brain,
but during sleep those parts are switched off! The General Managers often have no idea of what they bring about and even if they had they would probably not be sensitive to it,
simply because they would get stuck in their activities.
The average human can without problem hold his or her breath for about one minute. Some manage 2 minutes. This complies with the average of the maximal duration of the apneas.
Persons who have trained themselves in keeping breath – divers for example – will probably have longer apneas.
The duration is varied by the General Managers to suit their requirements, so there is no sense in fixing some norm or other, like:
10 seconds = harmless, 11 seconds = an awful disorder.
There should come an end to turning everything that is not understood into a disorder and ventilating phantasies like:
- the appendix has no function, it had better be removed
- a person needs only one kidney, the other one can be removed
- the tonsils have nu use, they can be removed
- that uvula clearly hangs over there by way of a mistake.
Etcetera, etcetera, there will be people who collected books full of them.
When the eyes are moving reciprocating from the left to the right and reversed during dreaming – REM-sleep – nothing is the matter but when, during the same dreaming process,
the uvula moves in a reciprocating motion it is all of a sudden a disorder! And if some General Managers, when alternating apnea and breath, are switching rather abruptly (and sometimes non to early)
– with very clamorous snoring, sounding like a defective circular saw, as a result – something awful is going on!
Well, also among the General Managers rough boys are to be found . . . . . . . But they absolutely have no intention to kill themselves by arresting breath!
A - pnea.
Apnea means: no breath.
At least, that is what they tell us. In itself that is correct, but apart from some 'interlectuals' there is virtually no one who fathoms
the real meaning of this fuzzword.
We live in the era of the 'apps'. You cannot think of anything for which there is no app. Apps are in the air. . . . . . so most of us automatically read apnea as ap-nea. But that is not correct.
Apnea should be read as a-pnea: no pneumatic activities, which is to say no activities that cause displacement of air. So indeed: no breath.
Apnea comes forth from activities of our operating system, the dual system that controls our body, which system is called in Homo Combinatus: the General Managers.
But those General Managers are not the only ones who are able to act resonably. Don't you forget ourselves!!!
Therefore it is rather obvious that we make use of procedures that are similar to apnea and that others are making a fuss about it.
If we take this last thing as a point of departure for a search a world opens. It is always the same story: we have to finish this or that first, only after that life can take its
normal course again.
Now will you please hurry, dinner is getting cold!
How wonderfully sociable you are again; if things keep going on like this I would sooner not have coffee anymore!
Now why don't you just visit the toilet in time, instead of standing there dancing like that!
It is, just as with apnea, a question of establishing priorities. And again we observe that at the basis of the problematic the managing of the data stands.
Of course there is a reason for our urge to finish our jobs in one go: in case of an interruption many Database Managers will yield precedence to their own affairs.
That, because of this, part of our data may get forlorn and we may make all kinds of mistakes seems to be of no interest to them: collateral damage!
If Database Managers are not up to their task and derail, we see ourselves forced to completely finish every activity before we can start a new one or take some rest.
We display compulsive behavior and are deprived from multitasking!
Some people completely fly off the handle when they are interrupted in the course of their activities and, because of that, are making mistakes or even get stuck
and have to start all over again, as the administration in their main memory, c. q. main memories, has collapsed like a house of cards.
By the way: one should not beforehand blame the Database Managers if they are not up to their task. It is quite possible that they cannot function optimally because they do not
get enough support from the General Managers.
- - - - - o0o - - - - -
Originally apnea and snoring were not considered in Homo Combinatus, which had, in view of the hype that arose about these items in the media, actually to be regarded as a shortcoming.
Therefore, first of all, the above article was placed on this website. It incorporates, as you may have seen, a vision that is diametrically opposed to the established opinion,
which does not depart from an intelligent control but from a continually repeated hitch (that probably is obviated each and every time at the last moment by what yet has to be an intelligent control).
But even those, who are unable to master the concept ‘intelligent control’, with its possibilities for switching on- and off individual functions,
should realize that it would be a very strange affair, would it not, if of all functions in our body merely one (1), in every human the same one, would not do anything but hitching!
Especially as it is one of the most important functions!
In our time, in which nearly any device is intelligently controlled, one cannot come up with tales like that anymore. Apnea originates from multitasking. Something very common!
The context, of which the foresaid vision is a part, can only be completely surveyed if one has the book at hand. Because of that, and because of the interest it raised,
the article will be integrated in the book as an annex.
The above article is the original supplement to Homo Combinatus.
The following text, which was recently annexed, makes the picture complete.
Many people will be entirely perplexed at reading the explanation on this website, from all sides they were told that apnea is a frightfully dangerous disorder.
But the apnea is clearly missing something that all really dangerous disorders have in common: enormous amounts of casualties! Especially in the old days, when they did not yet have to their disposal
the fabulous technology we have nowadays, a disorder that was really dangerous would have decimated the world's population. But where are the reports? In our history books we find stories about
the lethal effects of Black Death, cholera, malaria, typhus, smallpox and other nasty matters, about the desperate battle that was fought against them and pictures of mass funerals by the yellow light of smoking torches.
But nothing about apnea. Apnea shows us merely the operating system of our body at work and that really is nothing to be afraid of.
When the author of Homo Combinatus was a little child, more than 65 years ago, the world looked different. There were hardly cars, television and computer did not exist and the number of
radio stations was limited. On beautiful summer evenings people gathered in the streets, exchanging their experiences and worries. The children were sitting on the ground.
Apnea was one of the topics that regularly came up. The word 'apnea' was unknown and nobody bothered about the phenomenon, that was familiar to everyone. It was a matter of 'Oh, is that guy of yours doing it too?
Mine is a master at it!'. People laughed a bit about it, they regarded it as a rather funny experience.
As we grow older our condition declines. This applies equally to the brain and the body. So the part of our brain that controls our body, let us just call it the operating system for the moment,
becomes more and more weakened. It will find itself forced to take an increasing number of breaks for recovery, which happens often on moments that are inconvenient for us and in the end it will see itself forced
from time to time, if possible during nightly hours, to let the condition of the body slip. Often a catch-up effort will be tried during daytime, which makes that there is little left of the original circadian rhythm.
There is a limit to these things, of course. At night elderly people often roam about for hours, as sleep is not controlled correctly anymore. But also during sleep there will regularly go something wrong,
with a chance of passing away as a result.
Many people pass away 'peacefully in their sleep'. This may happen because some worn out part gives out at such a moment, but it is equally possible that the weakened operating system does not succeed
in getting out of the umpteenth apnea it established itself. There simply comes an end to everything. One shall not turn things upside down then and proclaim the apnea the cause of the passing away!
Now let us have an open-minded look at the risks of apnea. We take a hypothetic man or woman for example, who starts apneing at the age of 30 and, as is customary, happily continues to do so at the age of 70.
So we are talking about a period of 40 years. Apneas during daytime are left out, only nightly apneas are taken into account.
We assume 20 apneas per night, which certainly is not exaggerated.
20 apneas per night, during 365 nights, makes 7.300 per year, times 40 years = 29.200.
To which some intercalary nights should be added. Things would absolutely go wrong one of these nearly 30.000 times if there would really be any risk. And even a high risk, which means at least 10% casualties.
From a statistic point of view this person would have to pass away 2 times per night, each and every night again.
And then there is one other thing: humans do not have any problem with breathing when they are lying on their back. Everything needed is arranged fully automated and, when not needed for the moment,
switched off. In case of breathing the latter is called apnea.
Remember once and for all that it is not you who controls your body and that most things happen without you having even the slightest idea; it makes no difference that in case of apnea some elements do become visible.
When the operating system thinks that there has to be slept it will switch you off. That is done chemically, by means of narcotics. After that it can quietly move on to maintenance and support of
the dreaming process (conveying data from the temporary storage to the permanent storage) in a body in which demands are made on the metabolism that differ completely from those during the day.
If it thinks that things will be easier when you are laying on your back it will drive you in such a way that you will turn yourself on your back and if it thinks that breathing has to be temporarily interrupted
it will interrupt it. The complete system, the complete app, is switched off then, keeping open the throat included. Switching on again is done a bit roughly sometimes - a soft start is rather often left out,
a human is not a circular saw machine, what - which makes it look like a panic reaction.
Concentration and holding breath are indissolubly connected, when we concentrate we hold our breath. Not only during daytime, but also when we are asleep. Concentration can rocket also when
we are asleep, just think of nightmares.
During sleep, however, it is not directly visible - to the observer - for what reason we are concentrating and, because of that, are interrupting breathing, unlike during daytime, when it is clearly visible
what we are occupying ourselves with.
As during sleep the reason is invisible it looks as if breathing stops without reason, which gives the impression that it malfunctions. During an apnea one can lie fully motionless and, to crown it all,
on the back, with the mouth opened wide, which produces a nasty, not to say shocking sight; you would swear that he or she has passed away.
The apnear in question, however, has no problem whatsoever and is completely unaware of anything wrong.
The brain's activities are always selective. Merely the active parts are supplied with extra oxygen, which prevents the other parts, that are under equal tension,
from acting as a jammer. By making the local extra saturation with oxygen visible the fMRI-scans make it possible to follow the track of the activities inside the brain.
When we are highly concentrated the oxygen level in the not-invoked parts will be kept as low as possible as an extra safeguard against unintentional activation. By means of apnea.
Concentration is a raised electrical tension, which has to be established in a chemical way. During daytime, when the body is active, it will use up eventual excessive oxygen but at night that won't wash,
so that very emphatically has to be relied on apnea.
People who dream under excessive tension, for instance because they cannot leave off viewing horror pictures, will show lots of apneas, but in those, who live a complacent life without much stress,
apnea will hardly appear.
For the sake of other affairs than the support of the dreaming process the operating system needs at night, too, a raised tension now and then, especially in case of overburdening. The latter may, for instance,
result from the presence of damaged or incompletely developed parts of the body, that need extra monitoring.
People without apnea will probably not or at any rate sporadically occur, it is simply a question of a bit more in one and a bit less in the other. Everybody's circumstances are different and one must not
draw up funny norms for such things. In people without apnea something will be wrong, for instance because the operating system is not able to determine the oxygen level.
Apnea is, as said before, a matter of the brain, that makes other demands on the metabolism than the body. The needs of brain and body are opposite, the brain needs a comparatively
low oxygen level when it has to concentrate, the body on the contrary needs a high oxygen level to perform well. Therefore it is a matter of working as much as possible with compromises, the way we see
things with a weightlifter, for instance.
First the body is, as much as possible, supplied with oxygen by means of deep inhaling and exhaling , after which breathing is arrested and the weight is lifted: the body now uses up at high speed the oxygen,
so that the brain, that has to control it, can do so under a maximal tension. Lifting the weight will usually be done in two steps, for the sake of stability.
We now reach the question - which has already been answered in the apnea-article - whether we have to interfere somehow when someone shows a lot of apneas. In principle there is no need to.
Apnea is established by the operating system, that is part of our brain. It is a very common procedure that has its place in every human. A huge number of apneas however indicates overburdening;
that may be the result of a very intensive dreaming process, but also of physical causes that excessively burden the operating system. With regard to the latter one might in very bad cases help a little,
for instance with an apnea-mask, a couple of good arch supports, one of those wonderful bottom shakers we see everywhere on television nowadays, a neck warmer or a tasty glass of beer or wine.
Everyone can make his own choice, these things all relieve when properly used the task of the operating system. And that is what it is all about.
We all do it some time: philosophizing a bit, while at our leisure lying on our back in the grass or sagging in an easy chair: after each inhalation, which often is comparatively rather firm in this case,
an exhalation follows, which is succeeded by a pause of some seconds, the length of which is varied as required. When the oxygen level has dropped beneath the desired level there is again inhaled and exhaled,
succeeded by the pause. This, too, is common apnea, but the tension remains low and the 'weak parts in the back of our mouth' are commonly kept under tension; we are not asleep, are we.
Usually there is no snoring, but sometimes there is; it is a bit of a borderline case.
Apnea-masks are fed with air from their surroundings, they are not so much oxygen-masks. They are connected to a little pump that sucks air at one side and raises the pressure at the other side, which makes that,
under the shut-off of the throat that results from the apnea, air is pressed into the bronchial tubes. This does not go equally easy with everyone, so that often the pressure has to be raised far too high in order
to yet achieve the desired goal, with all kinds of complications as a result. Over and above that there will, thanks to Pascal's law (pressure which is supplied to a gas or fluid will propagate itself steadily to all sides)
throughout the body, hour after hour, after hour, after hour, one shock wave after the other arise, every time when, under that raised pressure, there is 'inhaled'.
The lungs are filled with added air, which means extra oxygen in the blood, which generates a headache (source: kno-artsen.nl). Well, that is what you get, of course, if you get around the corrections the
operating system handles by means of apnea!
At exhaling the air pressure is lowered, at least with the better masks, so that the air is sucked out then, as it were. Concerning the air pressure relation between inhaling and exhaling the effects of such a mask
are exactly the opposite of the routine with normal, natural breathing, at which the inhaled air is sucked in and the exhaled air is pressed out.
As the demands of brain and body on the metabolism are opposite, during the night alternation takes place: there are periods with little oxygen in which there is concentrated dreaming and periods with a lot
of oxygen in which the operating system is engaged on the body.
When during dreaming the oxygen content gets too high the operating system will apply apnea. If, by means of an apnea-mask, yet a raised oxygen level is forced, it will be at the cost of the quality of
the dreaming process and in the end it will have a devastating effect on the data management; linking large quantities of data, for which a long lasting high tension and therefore a long lasting apnea is needed,
will be problematic. Apnea-masks should be switched off in periods in which there is dreamt and - for those who absolutely want them - be in use only for the rest of the night, in which they should
switch themselves off when the operating system needs an apnea for good concentration.
The raised oxygen level will have a salutary influence on the body, which will make one feel a bit more fresh in the morning.
All is well that ends well, one might say, as long as one takes into account that the operating system cannot function in full if it is unable to use apnea and then unseen and unnoticed, may leave
the more complicated jobs out.
Dreaming is a complicated process, in which the newly arrived data get their definite place in the memory. All new data must be stored in their mutual relations and in their relation to all data that are already present,
in which process every aspect has to be rubricated, as there are tension, motion, odors, colors, sounds, suspicion, fear, disgust etcetera, in short literally everything that came up when it appeared.
High concentration and a long lasting low oxygen level, therefore, are needed for that.
But that is not the end. There has to be established whether the whole, very complicated procedure has been flawlessly passed off, which makes that we go through everything again during sleep,
the coupling to the body included, which is admittedly switched off, but is yet supplied with the necessary oxygen. For that coupling, too, has to be tested, of course, so that we will take to our heels without
further reflecting or laborious starting when threatening events come up again. Because of that short periods of deep breathing may occur during this testing, as well as during the build up of very substantial
images, for instance the detailed representation of a shopping street we walk through in our dreams, with all its attractions.
An other example of combined high concentration and deep breathing appears with restrained anger. Every muscle is strained and uses up lots of oxygen, which makes this situation briefly manageable.
An example of correct handling of unjust activation of parts of the brain is to be found in Homo Combinatus on page 180 under the heading: Music Maestro! The energy of unfoundedly activated parts
is chanelled by playing melodies (that keep nagging unendingly in our head).
Let us conclude with a few words about snoring and sleeping on ones back.
There are no perfect humans. No two people are the same, they differ in every part and they all have their quirks. The snoring process, like the rest of the breathing, goes in principle fully automatic off,
but in a lot of people it will occasionally need some adjustment.
This we see very clearly when we fall asleep while sitting upright: the chin sinks upon the chest, so that the mouth is pressed shut and when after an apnea there has to be urgently inhaled
the nose appears to be sucked shut and its nasal wings may irritatingly resonate. If it does not gum down at least, or is blocked, which may or may not be caused by somewhat sturdy or swollen almonds.
A nose is in itself a wonderful thing, but it is incalculable and unsuitable for transmitting large quantities of air within a short time. That is only possible through the mouth.
We wake up with a start, feeling a bit oppressed perhaps, and bend the head backward, so that breathing can go off smoothly through the mouth, now open.
When lying asleep many people will turn themselves on their back, usually with the mouth wide open, in order to avoid excessive snoring through the nose or for other reasons.
So they take the necessary measures and they come to no harm. It is not a beautiful sight, but it is harmless, it is the normal course of things. We just have to live with the small imperfections of our body
and we generally manage very well, so that no touching up is needed.
Of course there are exceptions, but one should not count oneself too quickly among them, the tolerances are ample. There will always be things we would have liked to see different,
but that does not yet mean that we should speak of deviations that have to be corrected.
Beneath some very clear examples of apnea by day.
You have, no doubt, viewed 'the incredible doctor Pol' some time.
In one episode we may witness how son Charles, with the assistance of an experienced instructor, tries to overcome his fear of horses.
That instructor starts emphatically with an advice you would not in the first place expect in connection with horse-riding:
'Keep breathing! Some people forget to breathe when they are sitting on a horse.'
And lateron once more: 'Keep breathing! You don't do it!'.
In an other episode we see doctor Brenda dehorn a cow. This requires a lot of concentration and exertion, one might in that respect make a comparison to the example of
the weightlifter in the before apnea-article. Doctor Brenda herself cannot be compared with a weightlifter, of course.
'This method is not suitable for the weaker ones amongst us.', doctor Brenda states.
'It is also my own fault that I forget to breathe. Towards the end I turn blue and out of breath.'
Another wellknown series is 'Caesar to the Rescue'.
And what do we hear when Caesar is instructing a woman about how she has to behave when she is walking her dog? Exactly:
'You must breathe! Start breathing!' Etcetera, etcetera.
One can hardly think of better instances, right out of practice.