Sleeping Dogs Lie


2013-01-25 – I seem to be fascinated with dogs these days. This time, it is the expression “let sleeping dogs lie.”

It all got started when I read an article on about a study that says that people become better liars with practice. It was previously thought that lying always remained cognitively difficult because your brain first processes the truth, then processes the lie, and finally becomes distressed, in some way, about the conflict. But the recent research indicates that, with practice, you learn to skip the double processing and go straight to the lie.

Like you can lie in your sleep, I thought. And of course, my brain has a tendency to dredge up variants of every phrase that goes through my mind. So, in the firing of a synapse, I was wondering whether sleeping dogs lie.

Of course the expression “let sleeping dogs lie” has nothing to do with deception. We’ve had many dogs and I don’t think I ever saw any of them fake sleep. When they appear to sleep, they are asleep. It may not be a deep sleep. You can wake them up. But if they look asleep, they are asleep.

I, on the other hand, fake sleep. I probably do this every night. Sometimes I do this to fool my wife. (It’s not what you think. I have a hard time sleeping and I don’t feel that my difficulty should be a burden on anyone else.) Sometimes I fake sleep to fool myself. The hope is that I might be able to trick my brain so I fall into a real sleep. Sometimes this actually works.

But I never get better at it. It’s kinda random. I guess practice doesn’t make it easier to lie to yourself. At least when the lie has to do with sleep.

I wonder if there are any insomniac dogs. And if there are, do they fake sleep? How would you tell the difference?

Believe it or not, when I’m lying in bed at night fake sleeping, I think about questions like this.

No I don’t. Sorry, that’s a lie. Or maybe it isn’t.

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