Dangers of Napping

I want to be a napper. I probably need to be a napper. Every night when I hear the last question of the research trial’s daily “celiac symptom diary,” I wish again that I had taken a nap. I’m always tired. The diary, though, isn’t dichotomous. It’s not “were you tired today” (yes or no), or even “how tired were you today,”  but, rather, “how severe was your tiredness.”

It’s an odd view of tiredness: rating its severity. I’ve rated the severity of colds, the severity of pain, even the severity of consequences, but the severity of tiredness? How severe does tiredness have to be to rate “very severe” or 5? Would that be the kind of tiredness that smacks you prone in the middle of a grocery store?  Or maybe it’s the kind of tiredness that makes it impossible to get out of bed at all. And what is “moderate” tiredness? That’s what I rate my tiredness much of the time. Too much to ignore but not enough to render me useless. I treat it with increasing caffeination, which simply masks the symptoms without treating the underlying cause. I know.

Which makes me wish I successfully could nap. The problem with napping for me is that I rarely get past the state that causes my arms and legs to twitch and my brain to slide sideways, which jerks me awake. It’s that state of not being relaxed enough for the brain slip out of control but being relaxed enough that it tries again and again to surrender, only to be yanked back to work. I finally give up after an hour and get back up, feeling no less tired and a lot more annoyed.

On the rare occasion I do fall asleep, I have wild dreams. My brain flings open the technicolor paintbox, pulls all the costumes and props out of the closet, and then romps uninhibited from stage left to stage right to the windows to the walls to really off the wall.

Dreams follow one of two paths. Either I’m being threatened or I’m being ravished: horror or erotica, those are the two genres.  Don’t ask me why. I am sure this relates to past traumas or repressed desires or past repressed desires, or medication, or my diet, or something like that. I’d nap every day if I could guarantee the erotic bent of my mind’s sleeping eye, but it doesn’t work that way. There’s no readily apparent correlation between what’s happened during the day or the night before and what happens in nap dreams. What I watch on television or read in a book also doesn’t seem to influence the next nap dream. If it did, I’d pack a side of Anais Nin’s writing with every lunch. It certainly would be a nice payoff for the fatigue of playing dodgeball with gluten.

Now, if gluten was the culprit, I’d consider sneaking it into my diet from time to time, just for the sub-REM siesta thrill, but my dreams don’t seem to connect to my gluten-free or gluten-contaminated chemistry. Too bad.

If the X-rated dreams could, in fact, be linked to being gluten free, people would flock to the gluten free diet like cats to cans of just-opened tongol tuna. This could be my big contribution to science! I get excited just thinking about it, but before I prematurely postulate, I’d better sleep on it. Just to be safe.

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