Nina In New York: Sleep Deprivation Leads To False Memories, Say Scientists and Every Parent Ever
A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
It’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that social scientists the world over could be saving a fair amount of money and time if they were to just have some kids, or simply talk to people who’ve done so.
In the latest mind-blowing revelation, a University of California study published in the journal Psychological Science has concluded that sleep deprivation may lead to false memories.
The study had groups of people view fake crime scene photos and read corresponding reports, which were intentionally riddled with conflicting information. Then the participants had to recount what they could remember. Researchers found that those who were deprived of a night’s sleep before viewing the photos were more likely to report back incorrectly on what had transpired in the pictures, inventing and inserting false details. Science, science, yadda, yadda.
This all sounds very smart and official and methodical, and it is to laugh. Ha ha! Ha. I’m pretty sure anyone who has spent three months waking up every two to three hours with a hungry/wet/bored/cranky/gassy/dyspeptic newborn could have written this report in his or her sleep. Or, his or her . . . not . . . you get the idea. You know those dreams in which you convince yourself you’ve woken up and showered and dressed for work, only to wake up to discover you didn’t? Well, having a newborn is like that, except for you feel like that all the time, awake or asleep. In fact, you can no longer distinguish wakefulness from sleep, nor can you remember when you last slept and what you did when you were awake. And instead of dreaming you conditioned your hair, you dreamed you woke up to feed the baby only to discover that you did already wake up to feed the baby, except that you are now actually dreaming about dreaming about waking up to feed the baby. You follow? And when you wake up for real, you can’t remember where you put the baby. Is she in her crib? Is she still on the changing table? Is she trapped under your sleeping body? Is she on the floor? Oh thank God, she’s in her crib, although you’re not entirely sure why you’re still clutching a tube of Desitin. Also, you know for a fact that you most certainly have not applied deodorant at any point in the last week, in real life or otherwise.
Of course, you couldn’t really trust any article written by a person in this state, as it would be positively filled with stream-of-consciousness gobbledygook, incoherent ramblings, non sequiturs, terrible run-on sentences, and OH MY GOD DID YOU JUST SEE WHAT THAT GUY DID ON AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR I thought I asked you to unload the dishwasher two days ago, but also I’m starving.
In conclusion, there you have it. The soft sciences are once again made redundant by the human parenting experience.
Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!