Tyler Vendetti
March 23, 2015 6:20 am

Religion, politics, the meaning of life, the color of “the dress.” There aren’t many things us humans agree on in this world, with one exception: sleep. It is the force that keeps us going after a long day of work or binge-watching, that boosts our spirits when we’ve spent too long rubbing elbows with strangers on the subway or arguing with coworkers over the excellence of Kimmy Schmidt. It’s no surprise, then, that we have a whole section of our vocabulary dedicated to it. How are we supposed to talk about how little sleep we got this weekend (a result of too much Netflix rather than too much partying) if we don’t even have the tools to discuss it? Behold, the sleepiest words in the English dictionary.

1) Dysania: finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning

It’s 9 o’clock in the morning. Your feet haven’t left the safety of your covers since 8PM the previous night because you can sense the icy floor taunting you from below. The thought of a warm shower is comforting but even that would require throwing your covers off and trekking to the end of the hall with your towel, where you’ll have to fight other students to get the shower stall farthest from the window and its cold winter draft. This cycle of dread is known as dysania and is the main cause of spontaneous naps among college communities and around the world.

2) Oneiromancy:  the practice of predicting the future through the interpretation of dreams

Also known as, that thing everyone thinks they can do after they purchase a dream book. “You dreamed that you were at a wedding with Steve Carell and he suddenly turned into a baby? That means you’re going to get money soon. Wait, the baby was wearing a diaper? Hang on, there’s a chapter on that I think. . .” One who practices oneiromancy is called a oneiromancer, which is significantly less cool than all of the other “mancers” you’ve probably heard of.

3) Pandiculation: the relaxing of the muscles that comes with yawning and stretching

I have a very specific morning routine: yawn and stretch, eat five bowls of Fruity Pebbles, realize it’s Saturday, crawl back into bed. None of those other steps can happen if I don’t complete the first one, which has an oddly specific name: pandiculation. The relaxation of the muscles that results from the combination of yawning and stretching is not something that’s unique to the human world. Anyone that owns a cat can tell you that they do the same thing, but usually on your face at the crack of dawn.

4) Somniloquy: the act of talking in one’s sleep

Soliloquies can be filled with grand life philosophies and wisdom, but they’re not nearly as entertaining as somniloquies, which can sometimes be filled with a person’s deepest, darkest secrets or, alternatively, a string of gibberish. “To be or not to be, that is the question” does not compare to somniloquies like “to be a walrus, Samantha, mom jeans, are you?” and that’s a fact.

5) Hypnopompic: of or pertaining to the semiconscious state prior to complete wakefulness

Every child knows there is a golden window of time during which he or she can ask their parents for anything and they will agree. That time is when they are in a hypnopompic state, when they are right on the verge of waking up, and their brains don’t have the energy to construct real responses.

“Can I have a sleepover with Amy?”

“Can I call 9-1-1? My teddy bear’s eye fell off.”

“Can I deconstruct Daddy’s car and use the parts to make a dragon sculpture?”

The answer will always be yes, because it’s easier to utter a one word answer than to fully process any question being asked before 6AM.

6) Dreamwork: the processes that cause the transformation of unconscious thoughts into the content of dreams, as displacement, distortion, condensation, and symbolism

When you trip in public or get lectured by your teacher in front of your entire class or accidentally tell your friend group that you don’t like Beyoncé’s music, that embarrassment doesn’t just disappear, at least not right away. It gets lodged in your unconscious and resurfaces later on in your dreams through a process called “dreamwork.”

BONUS! Morpheus: a son of Hypnos and the god of dreams

This one is not really a word, just a fun fact about Morpheus that I thought was relevant to this conversation. The character in The Matrix, which urges Neo to leave the world of illusion and “wake up” into the world of reality, is based on Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. Clever thinking, Lana and Andy Wachowski.

Featured image via

Advertisement