Using science (and Science Fellows) to our full advantage.

Hell week is OVER. Day off today! Well, day off in that I don’t have to go to work. I have a billion things to do. Laundry and grocery shopping and a project I promised to do and writing to do and talking to people that I have been sadly neglecting all last week that I want to talk and talk to and a cat who needs petting and SLEEPING SLEEPING SO MUCH SLEEPING. I’m going to do the sleeping first. Get that out of the way. The sleeping has become high-priority. I’ve gotten so sleepy I’m shaky, and I almost fell in the shower like an old person yesterday because I was not coordinated enough to both hold AND squirt the shampoo, so if I don’t get some sleep soon, I’m probably going to die. What? Exaggeration? Yes, probably, you’re right. I think you have to get a LOT less sleep than I have been to actually DIE, right? Wait, I will research it. Andreas would want me to research it. It’s what sciency people do.

Well, according to this article (from Scientific American! Well, I’m Merkan. And I like to be Scientific. With a capital S) the longest anyone’s ever stayed awake is 11 days. It doesn’t really tell you about DYING from lack of sleep. It DOES tell you about a horrifying experiment they did on rats to see how long THEY could stay awake without sleep and they would continuously wake the rats up when they were about to fall asleep by threatening to drown them and the rats died after two weeks from someonthing called “whole body hypermetabolism.” Shit, Andreas, why are you never awake when I’m writing something that’s even remotely sciency? Using my math skills, it is currently…um…4:47am in the land of Finns. Sigh. That’s too early to wish you had a touch of insomnia, Andreas (I AM KIDDING I WOULD NEVER WISH THAT ON ANYONE I CARE ABOUT), so I could ask you what “whole body hypermetabolism” is. FINE I WILL SCIENCE IT MYSELF.

Aw, look at that face. STOP MAKING THE RAT STAY AWAKE!

All I can find is “an abnormal increase in metabolic rate.” So…um…you run fast and hot and die, then? I guess? From lack of sleep? This isn’t very sciency at all. You killed those poor rats for THAT? That seems wasteful. I’m so tweeting Andreas right now to see what he thinks about this shit, yo.

OMG YOU GUYS. This probably interests no one but me, but I am MADE OF MAGIC. I WISHED Andreas, and he APPEARED. No kidding. (The magic came into play because I forgot it was Monday and he was up for work, not because I am magic, but let me have my pretend-time, ok?) So I was all “hey if you get up I need you, my Science Fellow” AND HE WAS THERE BAM. But now I can’t get him the link to that totally sciency article; my theory is because he is not MERKAN and it would be seditious to let him read it. Seditious? Is that the word I want? I’m way too tired to research that.

Andreas is currently looking into this for me, leaving me free to watch American Horror Story and write about other things. Maybe have a popsicle. Do I even HAVE other things? Sure I do, I always have something. If not, I make it up as I go along, I’m good like that. SOON WE WILL HAVE SCIENCY ANSWERS, though. That’s something we all look forward to around these parts.

(Also, ZOMG, could American Horror Story BE more effed up this season? Holy HELL.)

OK. What else. Work was the worst today and I was tired and people were being so weird and it was a terrible combination and it seemed like the longest shift in the world. I need tomorrow off quite badly. Otherwise I think I might lose my mind.

But THEN, AFTER work, C. and C. came to visit! They went to see The Shape of Things, and then came and visited me and we went to dinner at our favorite Chinese place and talked and talked and TALKED and laughed so hard that at one point I had to take my glasses off because I was weeping with laughter and I miss them so much and it was so nice to see them again. Old friends are something special, you know? I’ve known C. since…let’s see. I was probably 19? 20, maybe? We moved in together when I was 20, if I’m remembering correctly. So that’s about 20 years. There’s a lot of history there. New friends are wonderful – hell, all friends are, let’s be honest – but old friends, the ones that know all your history and your baggage and just all your STUFF and you can say, “remember that time…?” with, that’s something special. It really truly is. Dumbcat was happy to see C. because she is one of his favorite humans, and once he stopped freaking out he even let both of them pet him, which was nice.

OK. We have a VERDICT from ANDREAS. He’s the scienciest, no joke, you guys. Have I mentioned how much I adore Andreas lately? (I’ve always adored him, I mean, have I MENTIONED it lately.) Seriously, just such a wonderful person. I can’t even, I’ll get all weepy.

Hypermetabolism is when the metabolism gets into turbo mode, usually after a trauma like multiple bone fractures or similar. It seems to be a way of speeding up the healing process, but it costs a lot in terms of food. 

You can also have organ specific hypermetabolism, like in the brain, so full body hypermetabolism means that the whole body increases its metabolic rate, not just parts of it.

Oh, THIS is exciting. Andreas TOTALLY knew what it was.

Does anyone else have ALL THE CURIOSITY about “brain hypermetabolism?” I think I might have this. My brain is ALWAYS buzzing. Good grief.

This is apparently a hypermetabolic brain? PRETTY.

Then I had a BILLION QUESTIONS FOR ANDREAS and he was kind enough to answer MORE of my questions. Here are some of them:

So, first, this seems like a terrible thing to do to these rats, yo. 

Second, the lack of sleep, for some reason, sped up their body processes? ALL of them? To the point that they DIED? 

How? Why? The article didn’t tell us at all. So the doctors don’t even know? And the rats died for no REASON? 

This is all very strange.

Andreas is very patient with me. It’s one of the million wonderful things about him.

(And yes, right now you are seeing how I actually write an email to someone. As you can see, my email is very similar to how I write here. I’m a complete dork EVERYWHERE I GO. Luckily, my people still love me.)

And yes, poor rats indeed. The cruellest of all sciences is biology – which sort of counts as ironic in my book (and is one of the reasons I got out of it). And I won’t even mention the kittens. 

Yes, according to this study, the rats entered a state of hypermetabolism due to lack of sleep. So apparently lack of sleep is like a physical trauma to the body. Or it could be an odd side effect. We clearly don’t know yet. Either way it’s lethal, so get some sleep you!

I am glad Andreas is not mentioning the kittens. *shudder*


So, apparently, if I don’t get some sleep soon, I’m going to start burning fast and hot and then die. Like a rat. Or a COMET.

Also, this probably explains why I’m all shaky. I’m having PHYSICAL TRAUMA.

Tonight, I can go to bed WHENEVER I WANT. I can then wake up, again, WHENEVER I WANT. I’m going to just REVEL in sleep. I’m going to LOLL AROUND in it. I’m going to be SO LAZY. It’s going to be AMAZING. Then I’m going to wake up tomorrow and do a billion things, but mostly I’m going to be rested. It’s going to be SO SO AMAZING I CAN’T EVEN.Let’s have a moment of silence for the rats that died so we can know…um…something, I guess. I don’t know what, exactly, and neither do the sciency types, or even my MOST sciency type, Andreas, who knows EVERYTHING. Sayonara, ratsies. I’m sorry you had to die for this strange study that really didn’t seem to prove much of anything at all other than scientists can be kind of sadistic and that no one should be forced to stay awake on a small floating island where they might drown at any minute.

Off to bed. Wish me happy sleeps. ALL OF THEM.

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

26 responses to “Using science (and Science Fellows) to our full advantage.

  • Charleen

    Oh, I love the kitten picture!

    Also, while you may need to stay awake for a really long time before you literally die from lack of sleep itself, the amount of sleep deprivation that could lead to you inadvertently killing yourself by doing something stupid is probably less than that. So, if you did slip and fall in the shower and crack your head open, doctors would probably say you died from a massive head wound, but you wouldn’t have gotten the massive head wound if you weren’t so sleepy. Of course, if we go this route, the chain of causality could really go on forever…


    • lucysfootball

      All very true. Luckily, I got a nice night’s sleep last night, so I think I’m better. Although I could totally use a nap, if I didn’t have a billion things to do right now. I think I’m not 100% caught up yet…


  • sj

    I’m so glad Andreas didn’t mention the kittehs!


  • lgalaviz

    Why is sleep even a thing if we are just going to end up deprived of it, or unable to accomplish it? If it is so crucial, it should be easier.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I would never mention the kittens unprovoked. It not an image you’d want stuck in your brain, trust me.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    And aww, don’t get all weepy, sweetie. I only pass on knowledge (and not my own, I might add); nothing fancy at all.

    And make sure you get some proper sleep. Remember the rats.


    • lucysfootball

      I got lots last night and will get at least 7 hours tonight; heading off to bed now.

      I get weepy a lot. It’s just a thing I do. I actually enjoy it. I’m weird like that. Oh, you wait til tomorrow’s post. You just WAIT, you want to see the weepy.


  • blogginglily

    I’m sorry…I can’t get behind this hypermetabolism-as-trauma thing. It sounds like superpower. And the reason the rats died is because they just. couldn’t. hack it. Now I want hypermetabolism. I will lose weight and solve complicated math problems and lift all the weights! And my skin will most likely sparkle and they’ll make a movie about me, but they’ll call me a vampire because I stay up all night and kick so much ass. And because THEY CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!

    I failed last night at hypermetabolism because I fell asleep in the middle of it, because I am an elderly. But tonight!! Ohhhhhh, tonight I will fucking SHINE!!!


  • becomingcliche

    I hope this morning sees you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, unlike rats, what with their long, skinny tails and beady little eyes and complete lack of sleep.


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