Who Needs Sleep? Some fun tidbits about that thing I wish I could get more of.

Turns out that blogging every day is hard work. Even when I skip a day or feel like slacking and sharing pictures instead, I find myself writing posts in my head similar to when I used to think in Facebook status updates or tweets. It’s this virtual writing, not really writing, that tires me out so that by the time it’s time to get something actually published I can barely keep my eyes open. (You can’t see me, but I just nodded off thinking about it.)

So I decided not to go to sleep at all. I figured, if I don’t go to bed and work all night, then my blog post won’t be due. Instead of winding down my day with some writing, I decided to work on a silly project that in no way needed to be done the next day. But every 1/2 hour I’d feel close and want to push on. That happened until 5am at which point I refused to go to bed knowing that it’d only be painful (or impossible) to get 3 hours of sleep before work meetings. Then the sun came up, work happened, afternoon dates came and went and I could finally take a nap. I asked my housemate to wake me at 5 if my alarm clock couldn’t, as I had a dinner date I didn’t want to miss. Dinner happened and karaoke sucked me in and suddenly it was 1am again. By the time I made it home I was in no blogging state. Luckily, I had the fortitude to know that I’d need to make up my lack of sleep and asked my morning riding partner to wait until 10 or 11 to call.

So this is my post for what most folks experienced as 2 days and what I rolled into one.

And in case you were curious, some fun facts about sleep:

  • Humans are the only known animal to purposefully delay or withhold sleep.
  • Most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. 1
  • Sleep helps you remember important information. During REM sleep, our brains determine what’s important to know and stores it for future use. (Looking back through old journals, in search of my passport today, I noticed a good 25% of entries and letters mentioned recent all-nighters and lack of sleep — so I’m no longer baffled as to why I have such little recollection of periods of my life.) 2
  • Women who sleep less than 5 hours a night gain a significant amount more weight over time than those who sleep 7 hours or more. 2
  • Most people can’t stay awake for longer than 48 hours, but the record not sleeping is almost 19 days. As a result, he suffered hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory, and concentration lapses. 2
  • Night owls are less healthy than early risers. People who stay up late, even if they get adequate sleep, exhibit a marked increase in psychopathology, i.e. mental disorders.  Early birds, or morning types, also tend to have healthier lifestyles. 3 (Before this blog challenge I was getting to bed much earlier! Blogging is clearly dangerous for me.)
  • Night owls are more politically radical. Like the source where I found this one – this one made me laugh. And clearly true as my girlfriend is a night owl and much more politically radical than I am.3
  • Showering before bed helps you fall asleep. If only I had problems falling asleep, I’d probably shower more.3
  • Sleep makes you more attractive. You’ll have to read the details on ReturnofKings to follow this one. As such, I feel the most responsible action I can take right now is to call it a day and hit the hay.

Sources:

Extra: Today is Day 19/20, Post 16 of my 30 day blog challenge. Click ‘Follow’ at the bottom of the page to receive weekly updates in your inbox or follow me on Tumblr if that’s your scene.