Lab notes from my search for sleep

Dear Hope Nation,

COVID-19 Vaccine update: It seems to have led to exhaustion and a need for excessive sleep. Inadequate (due to sleepiness?) lab notes follow.

Lab Notes

It’s early Monday morning as I write this. That last sentence is a lie except in a relative way, because it’s almost 9 am and I’m just getting out of bed. “Early” here means near the beginning of the waking day, but I’m usually out of bed by 5:30 or 6, not three hours later. I went to bed early last night, too. No need to appeal to relativity in that sentence. I was asleep by 9:30, instead of my usual 10:30 or 11. So, instead of getting my usual six-and-half to seven-and-a-half hours sleep, I slept for 11 freaking hours.

Oh, yes. I took a two-hour nap yesterday afternoon.

With the onset of winter, I haven’t seen any flies in the house, so I don’t believe I’ve encountered any tsetse flies. Without them, it’s unlikely I’ve contracted African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. A quick search of Mr. Google indicates excessive sleepiness can be related to a number of causes, none of which apply in my case.

(A short aside here on internet searching. Like a Jack Russell terrier, I am unable to pass a rabbit hole without giving it at least a token sniff. My search for “sleepiness” led to the following “internet facts”:

Billy goats urinate on their own heads to smell more attractive to females. In East Anglia, England, they used to mummify cats and place them in the walls of their homes to ward off evil spirits. In ancient Egypt, when a cat died, it was mandatory for its owner to shave off his eyebrows to show his grief. It’s bad luck to re-loop a belt if you missed it in the first place. “Squids” are kids who drive motorcycles wearing tank tops and shorts. The nickname comes from how they look after an accident. In some parts of Africa, people say “Wake up living” instead of saying “Good night.” In catspeak, “meow” is actually a combination of two distinctive calls: the “me” part is a friendly greeting, while the “ow” part means, “I’m willing to defend myself.” Cats meow at humans, but rarely at other cats. There is no word for “headache” in Eskimo. A half-gallon milk jug holds about $50 in pennies.

Internet facts are the fast food of research. They are non-nutritious but very tasty.)

I did, however, find the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which fascinated me for at least a few minutes. Apparently I am not the first person to wonder about how to measure exhaustion. Instability loves company.

When I think of side effects from a potentially life-saving vaccine, things like death, asphyxia, paralysis and permanent bad breath obviously top the list. Taking long naps and sleeping through the night remind me of the age-old computer maxim: it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

Please, when you have the opportunity, get vaccinated.

And take a nap on me.

You matter. I matter. We matter.


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