Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Sleep and that bad cosmic joke

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As a follow-up to my recent posts, beginning with [1]:

The construction works appear to be over. (Knock on wood—except that any type of knocking is extremely annoying after weeks of outrageous disturbances.) However, the indirect negative effects on my sleep, life, and work continue:

For the last week or so, I have spent maybe twelve hours a day (often divided into two blocks) alternating, again and again, between a bit of sleep and a bit of letting-my-thoughts-wander-while-almost-asleep. Notably, on many occasions when I would normally just get up after waking, I merely consider getting up, feel much too tired, roll over on the other side, and try to get some more sleep. The other twelve hours, I am still tired enough to lack in energy, have great trouble motivating myself to e.g. write and do household and other chores (that have really mounted up). Of course, a solid day of quality writing is a much easier task after a solid night of quality sleep—and writing without a clear and awake brain is unlikely to produce anything worthwhile.

Take that feeling when the alarm clock goes off much too early on Monday morning, and you either hit “snooze” or force yourself up for a cup of strong coffee and a cold shower. Now imagine having something like that feeling, if with varying strength, through most of the day and for days in a row.

Or to play on some of the texts on various TV series that I have published recently, as follow-ups to When a TV series turns into a zombie of its old self: TV series are not the only thing that can turn into zombies.

Excursion on sleep math:
To some approximation, every hour of sleep results in two hours of quality awake time, assuming that sufficient REM sleep is reached. (Unlikely with a single hour, but, on the other hand, six continuous (!) hours might be almost as refreshing as eight. The approximation holds reasonably in my experience. Additional reservations are needed concerning when in the sleep cycle someone wakes, whether a previous sleep deficit is present, and similar complications.)

Even if I do reach eight hours of sleep a day with my current pattern, even with sufficient REM, etc., four of the resulting sixteen waking hours are already used up. Drop it to six hours of sleep and six hours of letting-my-thoughts-wander-while-almost-asleep and we have 2 * 6 – 6 = 6 (!) hours of quality awake time. Now factor in the low quality of sleep, likely insufficient REM, a pre-existing sleep deficit (which does not seem to help with continuous sleep), etc., and my feeling like a zombie is unsurprising.

Excursion on sleeping pills:
I do have some, which I use mostly to control my nerves and/or temper in exceptional circumstances. I point to my Finnair experiences for what happens when I take one: I do not fall asleep, but I do feel like a zombie … (And I am not keen on experimenting with double doses.)

Written by michaeleriksson

November 4, 2021 at 4:46 am

One Response

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  1. […] month ago, to the day, I naively wrote that the construction works appeared to be […]


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