Sleep, being both mysterious and essential, inspires a long list of questions, most of which merit investigation. Questions that sound silly, boring or insignificant upon first pass, we've found, can illuminate curiosities of biology and behavior. In fact, it's tempting to channel teachers and insist that there's no such thing as a dumb question. Unfortunately, that's a lie. Online forums (we're looking at you, Yahoo! answers) are full of strange inquiries and stranger answers. This truism inspired #autofillfriday, wherein we type in a common, sleep-specific question construction into Google to discover and then answer the absurd or otherwise what-the-?!%!#-esque questions that appear. This week, we entered "Does sleep..." and answered pressing queries on hangovers, death, Obama and a certain hotel chain's pet policy as best we could. Or, well, we answered them.
Does sleep cure a hangover?
Well, hangovers are still somewhat of a scientific mystery. So, don't believe the claims — we don't have any proven "cure." But hangover researchers are working on finding one. Still, you can take measures to feel less terrible. Nothing beats an IV drip. But, if you don't have one at your disposal — and don't strain our healthcare system with pickleback-fueled ER trips, thanks — then stay in bed and moan. Sleeping it off rarely hurts. Godspeed.
Does sleep feel like death
Or should we be asking if death feels like sleep? Socrates thought posthumous existence would feel like sleep sans dreams. Bleak. So, in the spirit of the Greek thinker, let us answer this question by posing another question (ripped from another online forum): "When you woke up this morning, were you really the same person you were yesterday? Who's to say the real you didn't die while sleeping and you're just a clone?"
Does Sleep Inn allow pets?
Well, does circadian desynchrony correspond to epigenetic changes in adipose-tissue clock genes that are associated with diabetes? Hell yes. All Most dogs [can] go to heaven select Sleep Inn hotels. (Okay, this question is totally fair — and adorable. Pet parents fur-ever.)
Does sleep walking make you tired?
Probs. Subjectively, sleepwalkers (or somnambulists, if you fancy) do tend to complain about fatigue. But, to pivot to a slightly different question that interests me more, how does sleepwalking compare to skipping sleep in terms of its next-day impact? Well, the science is all over the place.
To review, sleepwalking is a parasomnia (sleep-movement disorder) characterized by strolls during deep sleep, aka slow-wave sleep. A lot goes down inside our brains during slow-wave sleep, including memory consolidation, the process of converting newly learned information into longterm memories. Unsurprisingly, sleep loss corresponds to spotty recall. Given that sleepwalkers spend their deep-sleep hours on the move, it's reasonable to assume (as researchers have) that they'd suffer the usual ill-effects of sleep deprivation.
But, you know what they say about assumptions. Sleepwalkers aren't as out of it as we might expect. Sure, they may not have great inhibitory control. (This can be tested, for example, through games in which players see images and words flash across the screen and then press buttons only in response to certain word-picture combos, but not others. Harder than it sounds.) But, they (and their hippocampi) can still cram in info, according to one recent study in which sleepwalkers remembered lists of words they learned during the day roughly as well as non-roving sleepers did. Next question.
Does Obama sleep?
Other than the American president, Voldemort and God top the list of famous names whose sleep (and whether they do it) gets people Googlin'. For the record, Obama said he plans to spend his first post-POTUS months catching up on Zzzs. Based on that statement alone, it is possible he doesn't sleep. All we know is that he needs more rest.