Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sleep Deprivation

(or Insomnia Sucks!)

Sleep is eluding me this week.  I go to bed at a reasonable time and manage to get to sleep, but something happens around 2 a.m.  I don't know if I'm having bad dreams that I don't remember or if I suddenly just need less sleep (really doubting that's the case as I'm dragging the next day) or if I've got so much going on in my head right now that my brain can only hold it down for so long before popping back into action.  Whatever the reason, I'm only getting about four hours of sleep a night, which is half of my norm.

I read an article a few weeks ago in the BBC News Magazine that said eight hours of sleep was a fairly recent human phenomenon. (See the article here: The myth of the eight hour sleep)  According to the article, before the advent of electric illumination and gaslight streetlamps, humans would sleep for 2 four hour stretches and get up in between for some nocturnal activity.  It's not too hard to guess what the nocturnal activity was long ago.  The article also said that modern culture and parenting started encouraging people to sleep through the night in the 19th century, just as streetlamps and the rise of the coffee house were making nighttime activities more desirable and sucking up some of the time people used to spend sleeping.

While this is all fascinating, I just want to sleep!  I don't care if I'm genetically preconditioned to pop awake in the middle of the night.  For thirty years, I've been sleeping for 8+ hours a night.  When I was a teen, I'd sleep for over 10 hours a night.  Nighttime is when you do all your growing and when your body repairs your cells, so that kinda makes sense since I shot up six inches during the high school years.  

Telling me it's okay to wake up in the middle of the night and not to worry about it, isn't helping, either.  It's dark, which is a childhood fear that lingers for most of us all of our lives, and everybody knows scary things happen in the dark.  The movie industry makes a fortune off of this fear every year in horror movies.  I had a night light on in my room from birth til I left for college.  My first college roommate wouldn't tolerate it, which is the only reason I learned to sleep without it.  Now, I live in a townhouse and the lights from the parking lot provide a comforting glow if needed during the night.

Well, time to wrap this up.  I just heard my alarm clock go off upstairs.  Let's see how many times I can hit snooze without being late to work!


  1. My first post was when I had insomnia really bad.

    Hopefully this is a sign of all good bloggers on their way to fame and fortune.


  2. I suggest Sleepytime Tea, it's very calming and makes this girl sleeping. In addition you could create a soothing sleep ritual for yourself. If you still wake up in the middle of the night, start the sleep ritual signaling to your body it's time for your second set of slumber for the evening. Thanks for the educational information about sleep but Glamour said last summer(not sure the issue) that grown women need between 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night and each person's internal clock was different. The article actually gave good tips about getting more sleep, maybe you should check your back issues. My favorite part of this post is that you are afraid of the dark, would you like G to come over and protect you? :P

    1. No, I don't need G to come over and protect me from the boogey man. But, if I was soliciting canine protection I'd really want Roxy to come over and snuggle with me. Nothing's getting past a 130 pound rottweiler. Leave it to you to be unconcerned about my lack of sleep and instead focus on my childhood fear of the dark.

    2. Ps I actually did give sleep aid suggestions! :p

  3. I have two young kids so I haven't had a full night's sleep in years.... But this is about you not me.

    Your brain and body is doing it's thing at night, it may simply be stress that is causing you to wake at night.

    I know for me when I am stressed at work I tend to wake up more, then the thought of whatever is stressing me out magically seems to appear in my head. Then I have a stress response which probably means cortisol and possibly epinephrine depending on how bad it is. That will wake you up and make it hard to get back to sleep.

    Obviously, no clue what's going on in your life. I would try and destress, whatever that means to you.

    I'm not just saying this, trust me it's not on the brain all the time, but sex can be a destresser, as well as exercise - that one is huge.

    Good luck.

    1. It is most definitely work stress and has been causing insomnia off and on for a few months now. I will take your suggestions under advisement.

  4. Sorry to hear that you've been battling insomnia. There is nothing good about it. I hope you're able to, sooner rather than later, get the sleep that you need.