Sleep Deprivation

2:35am, 8:00am, 2:15am, 10:00am and 1:15am

These are the starting times of my next 5 days and I am trying to make a plan so that I am not totally wasted by the end of the week…

You are probably aware that we need sleep to survive and at different ages we need different amounts. People over 65 years old need 6 hours sleep, from 19-55 it is 8 hours, from 3-18 it is 10 hours and babies top the list needing 16 hours sleep each day.

If we fail to get enough sleep we can really start to suffer…you start by feeling groggy or foggy but it quickly escalates as your ability to retain or process information is inhibited. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of accidents with events such as Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the meltdown at Three Mile Island all sighting lack of sleep as a contributing factor. Being overtired has been equated with the same impact as being over the legal limit of alcohol.

It increases depression, causes skin to age quicker, makes you forgetful, and can make you put on weight. Maybe it’s time to go to bed!

There are a number of reasons people find it hard to get to sleep: our minds are racing after the stress of the day; we have eaten or drunk too many stimulants; we haven’t given our minds the opportunity to wind down; or there can be a significant number of medical reasons for it.

It is hard to sleep if you don’t feel safe, it is hard to sleep if you have too much on your mind, and it is hard to sleep if you are anxious.

One of the ironies I find is that when I need to go to sleep because I have to meet an early appointment I often struggle to get to sleep because I start fixating on the fact that I have to get to sleep and therefore I don’t sleep because I am overthinking it! I am sure that we have all had nights like that.

So I have a choice – do I stay up until 2:35am and then try to put in a second full day’s work, or do I head to bed at 8.30pm and try to catch about half the sleep I really need? Maybe there will be time for a ‘Nanna Nap’ in the middle of the day? Maybe I should stop thinking about it and just close my eyes and relax? Now that’s a plan!

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalms 4:8


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