Another Monday, another Dad-At-Home post. This is for more than new parents though, because today I’ll be talking about:
It happens to us all for many, many reasons. Fun, stress, work, school, the reasons are many, but the end result is always the same. I have fought my way through the bowels of sleep deprivation to provide a simple little piece on how to survive those sleepless nights.
Day 1 – The Beginning
The first day isn’t the easiest, but it’s also far from the hardest. This normally happens when we get too engrossed in a good book, or spend too much time studying for that midterm. The solution is easy. Grab some extra caffeine and try to go to bed early.
Day 2 – Déjà vu
You didn’t listen did you? I said go to bed early, but you stayed up again. The overall effects are similar to Day 1, just slightly worse. Concentration starts to break down and you have to… You should probably grab some more caffeine. Five hour energy? Yeah, that sounds right. You have to make it ten hours through work, school or whatever, so only take two so you can pass out when you get home. I should probably point out that today will be filled with moments that feel either like a dream or like you’ve already lived them.
Day 3 – The Change
Well… You’re screwed. Your body has now started to adjust to the lack of sleep and the late hours. So now, you’re going to be awake longer and have trouble getting to sleep. The majority of this day will be spent in a zombie like state. Try not to operate heavy machinery like toaster ovens. This is no joke. Right now, you’re just a few brain cells smarter than your character in The Sims, you know, the one that died because there was a chair that kept him in the bathroom for three weeks? Oh and fun fact, more sleep doesn’t fix this state. In fact, get ready, because if you get more sleep you’re going to be worse off than if you go with another night of poor sleep.
Day 4a – More Sleep, More Problems
Against my advice, you tried to fix it all by getting sleep. Maybe you downed a couple NyQuil in the hopes of a dreamless sleep. Well, you now resemble a zombie. Sleep on horseback, Eyes sunken, large rings around them, you shuffle around wondering where you went wrong. The far moon in a continuing dream, Your body is now trying to fix the damage that you did on those other days as well. Steam of roasting tea. After Day 3, you have to ease back into sleeping, there’s already so much going on in your body. You’ll probably notice a bit of melancholy seeping into your everyday life and your thoughts are going to be even more disjointed. If you didn’t notice the hidden haiku, you’ve reached this stage.
Day 4b – The Illusion
Well, you once again didn’t get the sleep you need. (Kind of a lose/lose situation after day 3) But good news! Today, you will have the illusion of actually being rested, that good ole second wind. Bad news? You’re now so incredibly weakened from lack of sleep that you would lose a fight to your shirt if it chose this moment to usurp you. Be very wary of any pets with an axe to grind… Hmm, you should probably be wary of a pet with an axe to start with and maybe that’s why you’re not sleeping so well… Get some locks. Yeah, locks will fix it. You can lock yourself in one room and then that cat won’t be able to get to you. With all this excess energy, you should probably spend it wisely, getting things done that you didn’t notice before. Shhh! What’s that? You might want to think about getting new blinds, people are probably looking in your windows… Or maybe it’s the squirrels.
Day 5 – Trouble Brewing
Okay, five days, we’re doing good now. Your body no longer needs sleep, you’ve evolved past it. Now you own the night and the day. With all this free time, you really ought to find a night time hobby. You could learn a new language, or maybe research some of the great mysteries. Actually, that sounds better than your current job. So, today after you quit your job, you should probably consider getting some energy drinks. Sure, you’re not sleepy, but they might give you a burst of strength and enable you to do more with your day. It’s like Popeye with the spinach. Sure he’s strong before the spinach, but afterwards, watch out! Why is everything so quiet? If it wasn’t for the sound of blood rushing through your ears, you’d swear you’d gone deaf. You should probably check on your neighbors, they’re obviously too quiet. That’s never a good sign. Jeffery Dahmer had neighbors, too… *gasp* They’re probably the ones that killed those people and the police covered it up. Thankfully in the information age, your theories don’t have to go unvoiced. Start a blog and make sure you post about this stuff while you’re clear and lucid. Remember, Batman and Da Vinci both survived long stretches of time with only small 10-15 minute cat naps. The cat… Not sure where his axe is these days, but I can tell he’s just waiting for you to fall asleep. Then he’ll snag your credit cards and order a couple crates of tuna. You should max out your credit cards now so he doesn’t get the chance.
Day K – 427-16.3
With all this time, you finally realized that the Gregorian, Julian, Mayan and pretty much every other calendar out there is wrong. After several painstaking hours, you finally found a system that accounts for the entropy inherent in the system. No more leap years, days are now segmented properly into 35 hour weeks of 7 hour days, the year lasts for 6.3 weeks before shifting into a binary reverse ordered zepithal which is new and totally something that you’re going to get a Nobel Prize for. Good for you. Make sure you have enough firewood for your living room fire pit, your bed is only going to burn for so long. If you could get warm it would help… Speaking of glasses, it’s a good thing you raided that supply of glasses in the local grocery store. It’s been hard to focus on anything. I’m sure that if you down a couple Excedrin for your headache you should be able to down a couple more energy drinks (which haven’t been helping as much these days), combine with those diet pills and few more five hour energys (Of course, in your new system, it’s so obvious why they don’t last the full amount of time) and you should be ready to tackle whatever life throws at you.
Standoff with Police – Hour 15
Wow, people these days are really resistant to the truth. Look, it’s not your fault if they misinterpreted your actions, you were simply trying to help. It’s not like you would actually hurt anyone. Besides, the cat had a good point, and it was his idea. If anyone’s to blame, it’s him. You know what? After a quick nap, I’m sure everything will resolve itself.
3 Days Later
Ahh, so are you feeling refreshed? Good. Nothing like being handcuffed to a hospital bed and heavily sedated for a few days to get you the sleep you so desperately needed. From now on though, I’d stick to trying to get the right amount of sleep every night.
Yes, I know sleep deprivation doesn’t always play out like that, but the best advice I can give you is sleep. The old adage, “You can sleep when you’re dead” is complete crap. Unless you’re in a hurry to get to the end. There are many things that can and will rob you of sleep, but try to find ways around it. If you simply can’t fall asleep at night, adopt a nighttime ritual that doesn’t involve brain stimulation. Research self-hypnosis or soothing sounds, like white noise, and ASMR (if you’re lucky enough) in order to calm your mind and trigger sleep reflexes. If there is a high stress event coming up, exercise during the day to help relieve stress. If you have project or test coming due, learn to work more efficiently and set small attainable benchmarks for your progress. If you have a new baby, reach out to friends and family, whatever support network you have, and get someone to babysit for you while you sleep.