I missed a meet up with blogger friends that I initiated upon the suggestion of Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag. It was inexcusable and embarrassing. That fact that it was the second time it happened makes it even worse. While nearly everyone I know sleeps, I am up. Sleep deprivation and irregular sleep cycle is now an issue if I cannot adapt to the changes in my work schedule.

Coincidentally, two of the TED-Ed YouTube videos I saved were related to sleeping. I decided to write two posts related to sleeping after watching those videos. This is the first one.

The Inexcusable and the Embarrassing

When I moved to a new place over a year ago, I left a couple of crates and some loose items in a friend’s house. Because they were transferring to a new place, I had to go and pick up my things. On the day I was to meet with them, I woke up late. They had to lock up the place and the keys were turned over to the landlord.

Last Sunday, I was supposed to meet by blogger friends scheduled at 10am. I fell asleep minutes before 6am. Prior to that, I had not slept for more than 42 hours.

Clearly, I am dealing with two issues here – sleep deprivation and living on American time.

Sleep Deprivation

One of the things I do is to take freelance writing jobs. Although I had a horrible experience, in the beginning, it is getting better as I have 3 clients I am writing for regularly. On most days, I work for 4 hours, stop for 2 to 3 hours, and work again for another 4 hours. After another break, I would continue to write

I have too much pride in writing that I refuse to submit what is passable. Besides my commitment to clients, it is important to me to adhere to my personal standards. When I sacrifice sleep time, I become less efficient. I can write 1,000 words with no research in under an hour. During the times when I deprive myself of sleep, I could be staring at a blank screen after an hour.

What would happen if you didn’t sleep? Claudia Aguirre prepared a lesson for TED-Ed. Please watch the video.

Lessons Learned

Hours of Sleep. Since childhood, I keep hearing people say how older people do not need to sleep more than 6 hours. It seems true because on average, I sleep a little over 6 hours a day. After watching the video, I now have an arsenal of excuses to use on why I should sleep more.

Health Concerns. Sleep deprivation affects learning, memory, mood, and reaction time. Sleeplessness may cause inflammation, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and linked to diabetes and obesity. Could the lack of sleep be the reason for my bulging tummy? I thought I might have been eating too much. Continuously sleeping less than 6 hours daily increases stroke risk by more than 4 times compared to those who sleep 7 to 8 hours.

Sleep Pressure. During the day as we use energy, adenosine is produced as a by-product in the brain. Sleep pressure occurs when adenosine level increases and triggers the urge to sleep. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptor pathways, which is why I am pausing from writing to get myself a fresh cup of coffee.

Final Thoughts on Sleep Deprivation

I do not have a fixed schedule and that is how my sleeping time gradually shifted from evening to morning. I love the peace and the silence of the night when I am writing. On my sleep and wake cycle, I am not as concerned as I am with sleep deprivation.

On my next post, I will tell you why it is better to sleep rather than forcing myself to do a little bit more. Meanwhile, check out Sleepedia for more articles on sleeping.

Sleep and wake cycle are my secondary concern. I need to have a fixed sleep and wake cycle. This would allow me to avoid potentially inexcusable and embarrassing situations in the future. Before you suggest that I should take melatonin supplement, my difficulty is more an issue of habit than the lack of natural melatonin. There must be a limit to what I want and can do in any given 24-hour period.

Friends, how do you handle issues of sleep deprivation? If you work at night, how do you adjust your schedule to your social life?