Sleep Loss Dumbs You Down

Lately, I’ve not been sleeping through the night. Try as I might, I wake up for good between 4 and 4:30 a.m. Over the past year, I’ve been doing okay, but this last week, not so good, and I’m at a loss. I have no significant stress in my life. Life is good. I have no worries to deal with or other such crap. In fact, up until this past weekend, I’ve been writing, reading, doing well at work and performing my annual winter cleaning of the house. As I wrote above, life is good.

So, why this week, can I only get four to five hours sleep? Beats me.

How is this effecting me?

I wake up, lie in bed trying to fall back. No good. I get up, shower and dress, go to work. I’m doing my job, albeit, I’m not firing on all cylinders. That is, I’m not up to my usual efficiency.

I get home and I can’t get my mindset in a creative mode. I can’t write, I can’t draw, I can’t even plan dinner. And oh, I have the munchies. This is new for me. I don’t understand it. I know that my stomach if fine, but my brain keeps telling my mouth to eat. What’s that all about anyway?

I did some more research on sleep deprivation. After reading about all of the usual stuff, I stumbled on this page from WebMD. #2 on the list refers to ‘Sleep Loss Dumbs You Down’.

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss

"Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention <check>, alertness <√>, concentration <√>, reasoning <√>, and problem solving <√>. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently. During the night, various sleep cycles play a role in 'consolidating' memories in the mind. If you don't get enough sleep, you won't be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day <√>."

Everyone of these points is how I feel right now. The trick is, what to do about it.

Number 4 on the list is the worst. “Lack of Sleep Kills Sex Drive”. I don’t need to read that blurb to know exactly what they are about to report. I’m feeling it and for a writer and painter that dabbles in erotica, this is awful. How can I capture on paper or canvas a sex scene if I can ‘t feel it myself.

The rest of the article goes on with the other effects of lack of sleep. So, that to do about it?

  • Block out adequate nighttime sleep period? <√>
  • Keep distractions out of bed? (Reserve your bed for sleep and sex.) <√> (Hard but doable.)
  • Set a consistent wake-up time? <√>
  • Gradually move to an earlier bedtime? <√>
  • Set consistent, healthy mealtimes? <√>
  • Exercise? (ok, I need to work more on this despite the fact that I was sleeping better before this week.)
  • De-clutter your schedule? <√>
  • Don’t go to bed until you’re sleepy? <√> (Trouble is, I’m sleepy even now, first thing in the morning.)
  • Don’t nap late in the day? <√>
  • Create a relaxing bedtime ritual? <√>
  • Avoid “nightcaps”? <√> (Well, in desperation, I tried a glass of red wine to see if it would help. Not so much.)

Am I depressed? No. Sleep apnea? Yes but it’s been successfully treated for three years now. PTSD and Anxiety? No, at last I don’t believe so.

Maybe I need more than a single glass of wine. I’m also thinking about a new mattress. As nice as the one I have is, it is getting on in years and I’ve slept on hotel ones that are much better. What I will not do is use a pill.

If any one has any ideas, I would love to hear about them. Write me, comment on this post, whatever. I need to get back to creative writing. If I don’t, I’ll go nuts anyway.

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