After readering the article titled "Am I Sleep Deprived?" from volume 97, issue 3 of mathNEWS, are you feeling sleep deprived?
If you feel sleep deprived, but have trouble figuring out a way to gain more sleep, you may want to learn something from the great mathematician Norbert Wiener.
Norbert Wiener, born in Columbia, Missouri, founded the field of cybernetics and made significant contributions in harmonic oscillators, quantum mechanics, and ergodic theory.
He was a founder and prominent participant of the Conference on Cybernetics. Wiener had been held in high regard by the fellow participants in the conference, but he was also notorious for sleeping (sometimes noisily) while others spoke during conference meetings.
Curiously, being asleep does not prevent him from perfectly comprehending the contents being presented. He often awoke from his sleep to make insightful remarks once a speaker finishes speaking.
At MIT (where he served as a faculty member), he was known to relate all sorts of discussions to ergodic theory. His colleagues were sometimes annoyed by his seeming obsession with ergodic theory. Once, one of his colleagues at MIT was presenting his research results. Wiener dozed off and slept noisily.
The speaker ended his presentation by saying "... and this has nothing to do with ergodic theory." Upon that statement, Wiener got up from his sleep and said, "It does too!" He then went up to the board and proved a lemma that showed, to everyone's satisfaction, that the research presented is indeed very much related to ergodic theory.
The sleep deprived among you may want to start practicing Wiener's sleeping technique during lectures.
[Reference: John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener by Steven Heims. MIT Press.]