There is not enough time in the world. Between work and family, there is hardly any time left for myself, or more specifically gaming. Of course the actual amount of time available and whether that is “enough” is highly subjective but let’s just leave it at that. End of the time, to fit everything in, I, like many others are badly sleep deprived.
Of the 3 pillars of health (eat, sleep, exercise), I consider myself only to be eating well. Being sleep deprived and highly lethargic does leave things to be desired.
So what happens when I am sleep deprived for an extended period of time (3-5 hours for 2 weeks+)? I shall now give an anecdotal breakdown of what I experience. Hardly groundbreaking but I have a feeling there are things some folks may not realize.
What I get…(not in any particular order)
- Vertigo: I get sudden onsets of dizziness or lightheadedness. It passes quickly enough but it does throw me off balance at times. I haven’t encountered any accidents due to it yet though.
- Headaches: Even when I don’t feel like I am floating in the clouds (#1), chances are I will feel a throbbing pain in the head. This happens often enough when I don’t sleep enough that I think it is caused by it.
- Irritable: My mood can get as dark as thunderclouds when needing sleep. Little things can set me off. Patience? That doesn’t exist. A side note is that those prone to violence should never ever go without sleep. Never.
- Lethargy: Hardly a surprise to not be enthusiastic about anything if all I want is to jump on the bed to sleep. It might also be contributing to my extreme inertia when it comes to getting off my ass to go exercise.
- Stress: I find myself getting easily overwhelmed by things around me. Reduced brain performance perhaps…it takes more time to process each item and things tend to pile up in that time. More things, more stress and that leads back to #2.
- Immune-deficiency: There was a couple of times when I go sleep deprived continuously for a while. 2 weeks was my limit and I would come down with a fever. This was several years back and it appears that this goes in tandem with my diet. Improving my diet seems to have alleviated this significantly though. In addition, I tend to get more fungus growth, especially on the head where it leads to dandruff issues.
- Brain-Fog: Bad memory, reduced brain function, inability to focus…these are hallmarks of sleep deprivation. I can barely keep things in line inside my head. Thankfully my wife has not linked this effect to my sleep deprivation. If not she will probably have more to say on the topic which will include “no more late night gaming!”…argh.
- Inattentiveness: Related to #7, well I tend to “space out” when needing sleep. There is a feeling of a short time skip when this happens. Basically something happened while I was not paying attention, not that this is something conscious. People get into fatal road accidents because of this.
- Eye-Pain: This is probably an indirect effect of sleep deprivation. If you are not sleeping, you are probably staring at something. In my case, that happens to be my computer. It is no surprise that being sleep deprived comes with an unhealthy dose of eyeball hurt.
- Depression: Being in a foul mood (#2) for various reasons isn’t good. I find that I view the world in a more negative light when I am sleep deprived. More sarcastic, more cynical of things…That leads to being depressed.
- Hunger: I always get hungry about 5-6 hours after dinner. That would put the time around midnight when I will be up. We all know midnight snacking is bad. It makes you fat. If I were sleeping, this “snack time” will not exist.
- ED: Last but not least, don’t even think about performing well in bed when sleep deprived. If governments out there wants to improve their birth rates, the first thing they should do is to make everyone sleep well, even if that means everyone should work less. Ever wondered why cats are frisky? Noticed they sleep a damn lot? Thankfully, this appears to be easily reversible.
What they also say…(research & such)
- Alzheimer’s: I am not sure if we know the exact cause and effect relationship here. I see no harm in regarding it as “working both ways” though. (WebMD)
- Housekeeping: Sleeping is a waste of time, to our conscious self anyways. It is required however to maintain this big lump of fat in our skulls. The brain takes the “time out” period to clean the toxins out of our heads. Since our brain is so large, is it that much of a surprise it takes 8 hours to clean it? Actually the time needed is more tied to body size than to brain size but that is the details. (BBC)
To wrap it all up, if you feel something is wrong with your life, go get a good sleep and think about it again. The sun might just start shining again through the clouds.