Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday Intellectual Question: Sleep

This is mostly for my own interest but how much sleep do you need to function? For how long can sleep deprevation last before you do funny things? What's your record? I knew of a guy in school who regularly only had five hours sleep per night, he thought sleeping longer was a waste of time. I also knew another guy who went for a week without sleep so he could finish his major project. He wasn't kidding and, while he spent that entire time in a lab, I'm not sure how he got home safely or really what he would be able to accomplish in a semi-comatose state! A lot of parents survive on a couple of sporadic hours of sleep for, litterally, years. How do you do?

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And ... for those of you who like the Barenaked Ladies ... "Who needs sleep? You're never gonna get it. Who needs sleep? Tell me what's that for? Who needs sleep you're never gonna get it, there's guys been awake since the second world war."


Joel said...

Ok... well, there are two sides to this question, or actually three. One, if its a self imposed, once-in-a-while all night party, I can function on about four hours sleep. Two, if its an emergency situation with family, as happened last fall, I can survive quite lucidly(though I need a couple VERY strong coffees) on only 2 hours sleep... though sleep does need to come soon after. Third, if its babies and children, well, if they need me, I can go without too many hours, but this all adds up in consecutive days of sleep deprivation, leading me to be able to sleep at the drop of a hat for about twenty hours... at least, that's what I begin to day-dream.

Bec said...

Coffee does help the no sleep thing, but sleep is still a necessary function. For awhile last year I was having 15 hour days at the school, and still doing work at home. Must've lived off of 5 hours and 2 meals for about a month.

All nighters can be fun - if you want to do them. It's not fun to watch sleep-deprived people. They are always so sad.

Kim said...

Well my dear friend "L" I can't believe it has taken YOU so long to ask this all-encompassing question...

In University I would schedule my day around afternoon naps and scheduled activities and then there was always the issue of early 8am classes which were always next to impossible to attend and I couldn't attend too many night classes because that meant I went to bed after 10pm. This all seemed so carefully planned for me and it was.

Now as a full-time working mother of 3 children with 2 who do not sleep well, I have learned that the key is not the amount of hours you sleep but the hours of CONSECUTIVE sleep you get. I have also learned that 3-4 hours now leaves me refreshed... It is obviously out of necessity that I welcome this but then again my opinion is probably skewed because of it.

Nancy said...

Sleep, but not to dream. It's a cool question. Usually, I need about 7 to 8 hours for many days to feel on top and healthy. Then there is reality. Even though my kids are older, I still find sleep difficult. It's more self imposed though: too much coffee (yes, Bec it happens), too much stress.... did I get everything done, ready, paid, clean, organized, finished, was I unfair, uncaring, unable, unloving, ungrateful, ungracious.... The glorious days when a young child kept me up were much easier than these middle-aged thoughts of a parent, teacher, spouse, homekeeper, citizen.
John recently had an interesting experience with sleep. He underwent sedation for a dental procedure, and since he hadn't been sleeping well for weeks, the medication hit him hard. He was semi-lucid after the procedure, and his sense of humour was quite lost in a lot of bizarre thoughts and conversations. He recalled nothing of the 12 daylight hours that day and even though seemingly awake for 4 of them, had no memory of any conversation or actions. Sleep dep probably had a heavy influnence on that day!
Keep blogging!