Tag Archives: Sleep

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Before anybody panics, I’m taking the words literally, NOT metaphorically as Hamlet did. 🙂

image from thetalko.com

I’ve been meaning to get back to writing here for over a week, but lack of sleep… or quality sleep rather, was doing a number on me. I didn’t realize how bad the problem was, or how much it was contributing to my brain fog until our Sleep Number bed broke for the second time in a few months.

The air pressure was unstable on my side of the bed, resulting in it going from too firm to too soft and back multiple times a night. I’m going to do a separate post detailing the workings of a Sleep Number bed, and why they’re a bad buy in my opinion. For the moment, suffice it to say we got fed up and went shopping for a new bed over the Fourth of July weekend. Yay for sales that commercialize and monetize a holiday celebrating freedom. Sarcasm duly noted, I hope.

We tried different manufacturers and models, and ALL of them felt better than our old bed, which convinced us we were making the right choice to replace vs repair. We decided on a Purple brand Model 4 mattress, with Tempurpedic coming in a close second. The Purple brand had better lower back support, although the Tempurpedic with the new cooling technology was a bit cooler (I sleep HOT).

Purple 4 mattress deconstructed. Image from Sleepsherpa.com

We got the new bed yesterday afternoon, and last night was probably the best night’s sleep I’ve had in YEARS, if not my life. I’m not ready to outright endorse the mattress YET. It’s expensive, and I want to see how it’s going to do over time. I’ll keep reporting on it occasionally however.

Quality, REM sleep time was off the charts for me though, and I awakened feeling mentally and physically recharged. I expect to be doing a good deal more writing in immediate future if I keep getting this level of rest. 🙂

Those of you who think that you’re managing some sort of life hack by cheating yourself on sleep, especially quality REM sleep… You’d be amazed how much better you feel with REAL sleep. A saw has to be sharpened regularly to work at it’s best (as Stephen Covey liked to point out). Your mind and body are exactly the same in that regard.

Sleep, Lack of It, and Sleep Deficit

Something I’ve heard many times over the last decade is the idea that proper amounts of sleep is important not only because of the long term slow toll it takes on you, but also that a “sleep deficit” can’t be made up. For example; running on 4 hours of sleep a night during the work week and then trying to (partially) make up for it on the weekend.

Personally, I think this is yet another example of twisting scientific fact to try to scare people into good behavior. Lack of sleep always catches up with us eventually. It doesn’t matter how superhuman we try to kid ourselves into believing we are, nor how much we might abuse stimulants like caffeine or the toxic waste called energy drinks.

Yes, energy drinks are VERY bad for you. I’ve seen first hand what abusing them can do to a person. That’s a separate post however.

Staying on topic however, I can tell you that my body demands a sleep deficit be made partially up. My most recent experience here is after my acupuncture treatment roughly 36 hours ago.

Prior to that, my mid back was acting up so badly that I hadn’t gotten more than 3 hours of quality sleep in a night for over a month straight. Beyond that, it was laying there awake, or waking up every few minutes, etc… I was such a mess that my blood pressure readings at the clinic indicated I am now at the lower levels of stage two hyper-tension. O_O

The treatment released enough pain and tension that I finally have been able to sleep though, and I’ve spent probably 24 of the last 36 hours sleeping. Not the first time I’ve had similar experiences either (although I think this is the most extreme example). So some degree of sleep deficit does indeed need to be made up.

It makes a huge difference when you do also. Brain fog is lifting for me, my creativity is feeling close to normal again, I have more energy… I feel like that hyper-tension has gone down also. Meditation and yoga will hopefully fix the rest of it. I can tell I’m not out of the sleep deficit woods yet either, but I’m getting there.

Lesson for the day here; ideally to get proper sleep in the first place. You have to “Sharpen the Saw” (as Stephen Covey put it) if you’re going to function at peak efficiency. Barring that, make a real effort to catch up on missed sleep. If you don’t, it WILL catch up with you sooner or later, in one form or another.