Can’t sleep? Lots of people have that problem. Doctors speculate that the accidental overdose death of actor Heath Ledger happened because he was taking medication for a bad case of insomnia. Live near an airport or highway? Traffic noise you’re not consciously aware of can keep you awake. Kept up by a barking dog? You may not be able to stop him but you MAY be able to understand him: researchers think they have finally deciphered the language of dog barks.

In, Charles Q. Choi describes how scientists used computers to test over 6,000 barks from 14 sheepdogs. They discovered 6 distinctly different barks: Barks for strangers when the owner was away, barks during fights, barks for walks, barks for balls, barks for tug-of-war or similar games and barks when dogs were tied up alone.

Night-time noise from aircraft or traffic, that you may not even consciously notice, raises your blood pressure when you try to sleep and that keeps you awake?and the louder the noise, the greater the increase in blood pressure. BBC News reports on a study of 140 sleeping volunteers who live near Heathrow and three other big European airports. Their blood pressures was measured every 15 minutes and it increased after exposure to a loud noise, whether it was from airplanes or from the person snoring next to them. Our blood pressure rises when we?re active and slows when we sleep, so a rise in blood pressure will keep us awake, even if we?re so used to the noise that is causing it that we don?t consciously notice it anymore.

The key to wisdom is to learn from the past, so forget dog barks?learn the language of the birds!

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