Sleep Deprivation

by Stephanie Casher on February 9, 2006

As someone coming off a week of sleep-deprivation, I am definitely experiencing firsthand the way a lack of sleep affects one’s mind and body. In my younger years, I could pull an all-nighter with the best of them, functioning quite effectively off 5 or 6 hours of sleep. But those days are behind me. I’m not a teenager anymore. I am not a pleasant person to be around when I don’t get my 8 hours, lol. Early to bed, early to rise is how I live my life, my sleep schedule so regular that I don’t even have an alarm clock in my bedroom. My body just gets up around 7-ish every morning, all by itself. Unless something happens to throw my schedule off.

It all started Monday when I brought the new kitty home. My new, 7 month old, nocturnal kitty who kept me up all night wanting to play. Not cool. I finally got to sleep around 3am, only to have the phone ring a short while later at 4:30am. It was Dena, alerting me that baby Isabel was finally going to grace us with her presence :-) So up to Vallejo I go… A long day in labor and delivery, but turns out it was another false alarm, so back to Santa Cruz… As soon as I return home, I head directly for bed, sleep the only thing on my mind. I got maybe 3 hours in before kitty is all up in my face (literally!) wanting to play. Seriously, this cat seems to like sitting on my HEAD. Have you ever tried to sleep with a cat sitting on your face? Anyways, to make a long story short, I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep all week, and it is starting to wear on me mentally and physically. I feel the second cold of the season coming on, and as someone who doesn’t get sick often, I am beyond annoyed at my weakened immune system.

Faby told me about this article she read in TIME magazine about the effects of sleep deprivation. The author, Sora Song cites a 2003 sleep study’s results:

“The human brain is only capable of about 16 hours of wakefulness [a day] … When you get beyond that, it can’t function as efficiently, as accurately or as well.”

She goes on to say that:

“What most people don’t realize is that the purpose of sleep may be more to rest the mind than to rest the body.  Indeed, most of the benefits of eight hours’ sleep seem to accrue to the brain: sleep helps consolidate memory, improve judgment, promote learning and concentration, boost mood, speed reaction time and sharpen problem solving and accuracy.”

No shit.

Before I read that article, I was suffering through the sleep dep, continuing to stay up late working, trying to squeeze some productivity out of every waking hour. It’s no wonder I find myself staring at a blank page for hours at a time, not producing anything but a steady stream of frustration. What I should do is just Go To Bed.

And on that note…

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