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, which has 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 "Is sleep..." and answered pressing queries on sleep and grammar, drugz and female reproduction as best we could. Or, well, we answered them.
Is sleep a verb?
Yes, i.e., "I will sleep at Uno Chicago Grill two Mondays from now."
Is 'sleep-fighting' real?
The first rule of sleep-fighting is you do not talk about sleep-fighting. But yes, it's a thing. People who throw down mid-slumber might be diagnosed with a parasomnia (sleep-movement disorder), REM Behavior Disorder (RBD) or nocturnal frontal-lobe epilepsy, depending on factors including co-occurring medical conditions and when, during their sleep-cycles, they opt to throw punches. If you or someone in your bed falls asleep and gets feisty, it's time for a sleep test. Doctors may perform behavioral assessments and/or polysomnography (a battery of sleep tests) to determine the root of the violence. Also, stay hard.
Is sleep before midnight better than after?
I'll let Eric Clapton take this one: "After midnight, we're gonna let it all hang down. After midnight, we're gonna chug-a-lug and shout." Chug-a-lugging beats no chug-a-lugging every time.
Is sleep [a form of] exercise?
Exercise requires some output of physical effort. Interpret as you wish. (No, sleep is not exercise. American educational system, hang your head in shame.)
Is sleep a drug?
Per a curious Yahoo! Answers member, "I mean when I get tired and I start to fall asleep. I feel sooooo good. Soooooo relaxed... Soooo relieved from anxiety... Soooo happy when im asleep. And its like sleeping itself feels like a drug."
Ugh, why do we need to classify everything?
Does sleep make us feel good? Are we mentally and physically addicted to it such that going without sleep reduces us to droopy-eyed husks of functioning humans? Do we sometimes withhold our sleeping habits from others for fear of judgment? Do we regard sleep with some combination of curiosity, shame and pleasure? Is it visceral? And mysterious? Yup. For people who can't just be, who can't accept semantic fluidity, fine, sleep is a drug, just like love, shopping and heroin.
Is sleep really the cousin of death?
After two weeks of Autofill Friday, I can say with certainty that wondering about sleep, apparently, means wondering about death. With regard to this particular sleep-death inquiry: Yes, of course sleep is the cousin of death. Nas never lies.
Also, if we want to be technically precise, then "cousin" seems like the right familial designation. Sleep and death (aka eternal sleep) aren't SO similar that they're siblings. Deep sleep and REM could be siblings. Or, like, hypnogogia and being high on LSD. But sleep and death share just enough in common (like Grandpa Jim's unmistakable lazy eye) for everyone to recognize they're related. Cousins it is.
Is sleep a sign of pregnancy?
Well, does the person asking want to be pregnant? If they do, in fact, hope a fetus has taken up residence in their womb, then, sure, feeling tired is extremely common during early pregnancy. Congrats! (pending an actual pregnancy test). But, if they do not wish to be with child and are worried they might be, then they shouldn't assume "sleep" denotes being knocked up. All animals sleep. And if pregnant women were the only exhausted people around, then sleep wouldn't be the public-health issue it's become.