I’ve realized that sleep deprivation (on me, and by that I mean not getting the 5-6 hours of sleep I need each day, which I’d like to be more like 8-10) not only causes an all-day feeling of lethargy, it also causes a lot of sensory confusion (e.g., perceiving the smell of bubblegum when you’re smelling cake), short-term memory loss, lack of focus, lack of appetite, and the all-day super-strong longing of my bed and a cool, dark, silent room. Being sleep deprived is something I wasn’t made for, and after years of making myself more efficient at school/work (hence needing a LOT less to spend the night awake), I am less tolerant physiologically-speaking of a night without sleep than I was say 5 years ago.
Another of the adverse effects of sleep-deprivation (on me) is that it alters my basic-bodily-functions’ schedule if you want to call it that, in short, it makes my head think the night is for being awake and the day for sleeping, screws my meal-schedule by altering the times at which I get hungry, etc. creating a jet-lag-like effect, which I honestly don’t like.
So, before I head to try to sleep during this night, I’ll share with you some tips to help you sleep better (except in cases of emergency work-related situations):
- When you feel you can’t sleep (i.e., insomnia), keep your eyes shut, stay in bed and breathe deeply, release your muscles, focus on all the sounds that are around, and try to keep your mind blank; helps me a lot, and even if I don’t get to sleep, at least I rest.
- Organize yourself, you should have time to sleep (except in cases of emergency), for more on that, you can check out this previous post of mine :). Always try to go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time every day, helps maintain the rhythm.
- Having a reliable alarm clock for waking you up helps avoid those “should I be awake yet” wake-ups before time.
- Use your bed for sleeping and sleeping only (when you can help it), try not to read, watch tv, or other things you can do out of the bed, so that your head has an “as soon as a pillow touches my ear I shut down” pattern in it. For other things you can’t do out of bed, well… figure that out yourself.
- Try not to drink too much water or eat a lot shortly before going to bed, that way you won’t need to wake up during the night. This includes alcohol and coffee which might work as diuretics.
- It helps me to have the room totally dark and with a temperature from cool to cold, and as quiet as possible.
And there you go, I’ll now go to sleep the best I can before going to work tomorrow again.