Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Posts Tagged ‘sleep

Follow-up: Some observations around a weird illness

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As noted in an earlier text, I had a weird-but-short illness almost three weeks ago—from almost top-shape to very ill to semi-shape in a day or so. (And almost top-shape another day later, but after publication.)

However, I still have a major problem with sleep and tiredness, if not as major as on the day in question. Compared to my normal state, I have been much more mentally sluggish, low in energy, unable to get to working, etc., through a large part of most days; and I have on several days lost a few hours entirely to failed attempts to go to sleep or to simply vegetating, because I have been too tired to even keep my eyes open. Today and yesterday have been particularly bad.

As of now, among the main candidates, I am uncertain whether this is some issue caused directly by the illness, just a temporary continuation of the sleep disturbance from the main day of illness, or a temporary sleep disturbance coincidentally occurring close in time to the illness. (I have experienced similar situations in the past, but never for so long and only rarely to such a degree.)


Written by michaeleriksson

January 28, 2023 at 4:54 pm

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The never ending story of construction noise

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A month ago, to the day, I naively wrote that the construction works appeared to be over.

This has turned out to be very incorrect. The number of days per week affected, as well as the average disturbance per day, has dropped, but they are still ongoing.

Fridays and Saturdays have been particularly likely—and right now (Saturday, December 4th) even the drilling has returned full force.

This for construction work that began September (!) 20th. All-in-all, I would estimate that roughly a third of the time since I began work on my books in 2019 have been plagued by construction noise—with horrifying consequences for my writing, my quality of life, and, often, health.

Yet, this type of unconscionable situation appears to be entirely legal and there is nothing that can be done.

More generally, Germany claims to be a Rechtsstaat—to the point that there was an advertising campaign with this claim a while back. (Confirming my hypothesis that advertising campaigns are often directed at convincing fools of the opposite of the truth, e.g. that a business with outrageously poor customer service would excel in customer service. Find the statement of a campaign, assume the opposite to be true, and you will do reasonably well.)

The two core pillars in a Rechtsstaat are (a) that the individual citizen is protected from mistreatment by other citizens, (b) that he is protected from overreach, incompetence, arbitrariness, etc. from the government, civil servants, and similar.

The current situation is but one of very many where Germany fails completely regarding (a). (Other issues have been discussed in the past.)

As to (b), the citizen has little or no recourse against the government and the extreme amount of incompetence and other problems. Even the lowest civil servants, moving on the intellectual level of receptionists, appear to be considered of more worth than a citizen—including by themselves. The COVID overreaches, lockdowns, and whatnots form a horrifying (if, sadly, not unique) example. (Cf. a great number of earlier texts on both COVID and the German government, etc.)

Written by michaeleriksson

December 4, 2021 at 1:22 pm

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