Friday, May 02, 2014

Sleep Debt

Sadly, if I get 4 hours a night, I'm lucky... or sick.

In fact, the last time I got more than 4 hours was when I was recovering from almost dying... so yeah.

At the moment though, I'm more sleep deprived than usual.

As I write this, 2am on a Friday morning, I've slept a grand total of about 18 hours in the last 7 days, no more than 2 hours at a time, and no more than 4 hours in any 24.

... and I've had 5 phone interviews so far this week...

I basically never sleep more than 6 hours unless I'm ill, I've physically exhausted myself, or I've gone too many days in a row with less than 4 hours. I don't recall ever having slept 6 or more hours for more than 3 days in a row.

When I was 20 though, I could do that for weeks at a time and still be OK. Not optimal, but OK.

As I've got older, my insomnia has SLIGHTLY improved... But my need for sleep has GREATLY increased.

Honestly, I can't recall an age when I didn't have trouble sleeping (my mother says I never slept much even as a baby) but it started getting bad around age 5, and by 13 I would regularly go days at a time without sleep.

Around 19 I started improving, until I stabilized in my mid 20s averaging around 4 hours a night, with "catchup" nights every few days of 6 hours or so.

From then until the cancer hit hard, I got a bit better, a few more six hour nights, a bit fewer under 4 hour nights etc...

Then the cancer and the endocrine problems made both the insomnia worse, and the need for sleep greater.

Then we had a baby.

Then he started teething and having growing pains at the same time.

That was six months ago... He hasn't stopped yet... won't for a while...

Lovely how that works sometimes huh?

The really funny thing though, is that almost everyone I know online (and most in person for that matter), almost every conversation you have ever had with me, and almost everything I've ever written...

All of it was while I was severely and chronically sleep deprived.

Yes... All of that was me with a fraction of my full energy and focus...

I'll leave it to those who have seen me while I was well rested and healthy to comment on what I'm like then, if they wish. I'm not exactly the best observer there, because I'm so used to it.

Sleep deprived, I do feel slower, less aware alert and perceptive, and less able to focus and split my attention and multi-task effectively. This of course worsens as my sleep debt builds; but until the deprivation gets REALLY bad, it only feels slightly different to me, inside my own head