Anatomy of Sleep

Today, we will learn about sleep--nature's miraculous phenomenon of bodily and mental restoration. We will go through the different aspects of sleep: the stages of sleep, the functions of sleep, sleep disorders, and dreams. Each chapter will be centered upon a subject of interest regarding sleep. The explanation of each subject will be revealed at the bottom of the chapter, though, you should be able to define it by yourself once you finish reading each story. Happy learning.

One rule: try not to miss class. There may be a test at the end. ;)

Any criticisms or comments are always welcome at the teacher's desk. (Tell me how I'm doing; it's my first time teaching.)

Lesson I -- Stage N1 of Sleep

0300 hours is a wonderful time of night, her favorite time of night. The skies are pure ebony, not a star or constellation in sight, though she swears she can see the latent hints of mist from the quiet fog earlier that evening. Abby sits in her chair, legs pulled close to her body and feet placed firmly on the seat. Her chin lies steadfast between her knees as her arms encircled her legs. She stares wistfully past the windows and into the night sky. The obscure and silent void calms her mind differently than the usual air of her loud euphony.

A ding from her dinger jars her back to reality, her pigtails swinging as she turns her head in the direction of the noise. The team has once again pulled an all-nighter, waiting for crucial AFIS results. Hopping out of her seat, Abby skitters over to her desk to retrieve the printed results. Grinning as she sees the picture matched with the print, she runs toward the elevator. Gibbs is going to be happy. Well, as happy as Gibbs can be.

Clutching the paper to her chest as if it were Bert, she bounces in excitement, waiting impatiently for the elevator doors to open. It's been a heavy week. Tony started running out of movie references two days ago. McGee finally got to the point. Ziva eventually stopped using idioms altogether. And Gibbs. Well, he was the same as ever.

Thinking of her team, her friends, makes her smile cheerfully. These results should lighten their mood; they deserved it. She looks up to the ceiling, her grin flashed in innocence, as if to thank someone above. Her main source of exhilaration, though, was the thought of Gibbs. Eager to get the results to him, she starts hounding at the metal doors in front of her to hurry. She's been looking forward to her 'good work' kiss all day. Nothing can stop her from getting it.

She bursts out of the elevator, four-inch boots thundering as they make broad contact with the floor. Her eyes widen and her stride come to a screeching halt when she sees Gibbs at his desk. She takes a quick glance at the remainder of the bullpen, realizing that the rest of the team is nowhere to be seen; Gibbs must have told them to go home while he stayed for the results. How sweet, she thinks.

Forcing her legs to begin moving again, she noiselessly tip-toes to his desk, careful not to disturb him. She finds him leaning back against his chair, case folders still in his hands, draped over his chest. His glasses are loose upon the bridge of his nose, and she loves it. She always had a thing of glasses, especially if the glasses were on Gibbs. There is a coffee cup on the edge of the desk and she figures it must have gone cold by now.

She reckons he hasn't been sleeping long when she sees his muscles twitch. As his head begins to fall over the back of his seat, his neck jolts forward in attempt to bring it back into position. He is still asleep, and she watches his unconscious movements repeat themselves several more times.

She tries desperately to hide the autonomic giggles that begin to form in the back of her throat. It's been a while since she's seen her silver-haired fox so vulnerable and so cute. Placing the paper on his desk with utmost attention and sliding his coffee away from it lest she knock it over, she starts to move behind the table.

She slips the folders from his hands and stacks them above the paper. She carefully considers her next target--the glasses. This is going to be much more difficult. Raising both hands up, she begins to test her luck. Tugging slightly, she pulls the frame from off his face and rests in on the desk beside him. Success! She nearly jumps with glee in her impressive triumph; it takes every ounce of will power to restrain herself.

There is one last goal to achieve before she can leave him be. The kiss. If he wasn't awake to kiss her, then she'll have to be the one to kiss him. She didn't come all the way up here from her lab for nothing. Lowering her head slowly and cautiously, she stops herself short of her nose on his. She can feel his breath and smell his sawdust scent, basking in the rare closeness of it all. Lingering longer than she should have, she senses something. She promptly opens her eyes to investigate, only to find blue irises staring back at her. Trouble.

Reflexes fast as light, she lays a hell of a smacker on the tip of his nose, knowing her escape is narrow, if at all existent. She pulls back, dashing an innocuous grin.

"Hi, Gibbs!" She tries to play off innocence, arms hidden behind her back as if she had been caught red-handed.

"Abs. What do you think you're doing?" He eases off the back of his chair and sits straighter. His eyes never leave hers, as his brow rises in question.

"Wouldn't you like to know," she giggles. She's certainly toeing the boundary a bit, but she knows he doesn't mind. It's a game they play, and she loves it. Almost as much as the glasses.

"Abby." His voice is almost seductive. She's set for another round of innocent smiles.

"I've got the results and I wanted my kiss. Since you were obviously in no position to give me one, I took the liberty to give myself the honorable duty." She points to the stack of papers on his desk and then to his face, and pouts. She abrutply sits on the papers, though mindful of her favorite spectacles, showing him he will not get them unless he did what she wanted.

He looks down at his desk. Something catches his eye, whether it be the sight of the AFIS results or of her tush.

"Hm. That so?" He gets up from his seat and stands over her, hands on the desk on either side of her arms. He leans in slowly, kissing her gingerly on the tip of her nose. "Like this?"

"It's a start." She lifts a hand to wipe the lipstick from his nose with the cuff of her sleeve. Identical smiles form on their faces as she homes in, only to replace the dark rouge with another sizzling kiss--this time, on the lips.

Stage N1 - The first of three non-REM stages of sleep. During Stage N1 of sleep, the brain transitions between alpha waves (brain waves emitted when awake) to theta waves (emitted when relaxed or resting). This stage is also known as somnolence, or a "drowsy sleep." It comes at the onset of sleep, where there may be hypnotic jerks and twitches. Conscious awareness of the environment is still present, though it begins to fade.

Next: Lesson II -- Stage N2 of Sleep.