I wanted to write about sleep deprivation because I suffered from it for a year and occasionally still do therefore I can account for some of the symptoms and give you my general experience of it.
Why did I suffer from it? It was basically out of my own will, I was thinking of the present moment for me and my partner and not future consequences. It all started with getting a second job. I was working already in a shop on a full-time position with random shifts while the open hours were 7am-10pm. I always did 40 hours there , 45 if you count the unpaid lunch breaks. After some time we tried to help what we thought to be a friend to find a job while he stayed in our apartment. We pulled some strings and got him for an interview and he was sure to get it. It was nothing special, cleaning the gym at night nonetheless it was a start so he could get money and look for something else. Being grateful for all our help he didn’t bother taking it so I decided to give it a shot as extra money doesn’t hurt (not entirely true). Starting every day at 10:30pm and finishing at 3:30am I was now doing 65hr a week, Yes I know some people do more but that’s not what it’s about. Did I mention that I was still going to he gym whenever I could?
For the most of the year when I was working I only slept 2.5-4 hours. So let’s get to facts and science, I will list the effects of sleep deprivation and comment me experience on each.
Generally, sleep deprivation may result in:
- yawning – To be honest I don’t know if there ever was a day I didn’t yawn but during that period it occurred more often with each week.
- aching muscles – very soon most of my muscles started to be sore and tense.
- periorbital puffiness, commonly known as “bags under eyes” – commenting this seems pointless you know how it is with bags.
- hand tremor – After a while I noticed my hands to be very shaky and getting worse for a certain period to a point where I occasionally dropped objects but then declined again for some reason.
- headaches – I noticed them quickly and had them almost every day but they were minor and not worth complaining about , they were getting worse with less sleep while occasionally unbearable.
- malaise – It was kicking in but wasn’t serious, malaise is feeling of unease, discomfort or pain and I had trouble to be comfortable anywhere.
- confusion, memory lapses or loss – After few months I had trouble telling what day it was as going to work on monday and coming back home on Tuesday made it hard to track, I often forgot what I was doing when performing certain tasks and I had real trouble recalling events from previous days and weeks.
- development of false memory – This was rare , it happened maybe 4 or 5 times over the year where I was completely certain I did some things that actually never happened most of it was work related like forgetting to order stock because I thought that last weeks events were actually happening yesterday etc.
- depression – This is an uneasy topic to discuss due to many stages of depression and people not entirely understanding what it actually is. But after some reasearch I was well on track to it as common symptoms suggested I should have it I personally didn’t fell depressed but I can’t say I was happy either.
- stye – Although it felt like it every morning, thankfully I did not have any bad swelling of the eyelids.
- increased blood pressure – I did not check my pressure in that year so I can’t say anything except that it is normal at present day.
- increased stress hormone levels – Stress was already part of the daily routine and kept increasing all the time.
- increased risk of diabetes – we run into that risk every day but for now I’m safe.
- increased risk of fibromyalgia – Check on that one, heightened pain sensitivity , tiredness , weakness in limbs , muscle twitching and few other symptoms.
- irritability – Most of the time everything irritated me, sometime it would come in waves where I was sitting happy and next second I was really angry and wanted to destroy everything in sight.
- nystagmus (rapid involuntary rhythmic eye movement) – I am not sure, nobody ever pointed it out so it’s probably another false memory, so I say no to this one.
- obesity – No, I lost 5 kg in first 3 weeks but regained it after few months and my weight was constantly shifting somewhere between 70-75kg.
- seizures – Thankfully I didn’t have any
- temper tantrums in children – I guess there is some child left in me, luckily I was able to very quickly control myself
- mania – I don’t think I can assign it to me, scientific description is a little bit fitting but not full on.
- Insomnia – This also developed but not in severe stages.
Making this list made me realize how bad it actually was for me, I always knew that sleeping so little while putting out so much energy is bad, but never thought so many side effects come from it. There is also many risks that come from it like diabetes , heart disease , growth suppression, and risk of car accidents.
Did you know that sleeping too little or too much can cause Turrets? Also it is impossible to stay completely sleep deprived unless you have Fatal familial insomnia which is very rare and as the name suggest is always fatal as there is no cure. It is impossible due to micro sleeps which we do involuntarily when we try to keep awake our brain goes to sleep for less than a second sometimes more which we all experienced when you try to stay up but every now and then your head falls and you wake up. I am still experiencing it at work during night shifts during monotonous tasks. I occasionally get short hallucinations with the micro sleeps which sometime are disturbing.
While moving houses last month I was driving 1000km a week and I had serious trouble staying awake and micro sleeps coming relentlessly. Thankfully I was lucky enough to not have an accident behind the wheel.
There is definitely more symptoms of sleep deprivation out there and to experience the ones I did you don’t have to be sleeping bad for so long they come on pretty quickly, so if someone tells you he doesn’t sleep well for some time be thoughtful and don’t annoy him more than he is and if possible just let them sleep.
It is time to cut this post short as I am depriving myself of sleep again by writing untill 2am. This post might be edited and extended so check back in near future and have a good sleep it’s worth it.