The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

News Flash: We Need Sleep

Lemme get this straight. This may be the lack of sleep talking, but did these folks really go to school for years and years, and all they can tell me is something that I already know? Like, I need to sleep?

After a few restless nights, most of us can’t even think straight. We are less able to make sense of problems, make competent moral judgments or retain what we learn, even though studies show our brain cells fire more frenetically to overcome the lack of sleep. Lose too much sleep and we become reckless, emotionally fragile, and more vulnerable to infections and to diabetes, heart disease and obesity, recent research suggests.

…The consequences of too little sleep can be dire. Almost half of all heavy-truck accidents can be traced to driver fatigue, while decisions leading to the Challenger space-shuttle disaster, the Chernobyl nuclear-reactor meltdown and the Exxon Valdez oil spill can be partly linked to people drained of rest by round-the-clock work schedules. Weary doctors make more serious medical errors, while sleepy airport baggage screeners make more security mistakes, researchers reported at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

All told, the frayed tempers, short attention spans and fuzzy thinking caused by sleep deprivation may cost $15 billion a year in reduced productivity, the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research estimated.

I have an excuse for not getting any sleep in the next couple of months. What’s keeping everybody else awake?

2 Comments

  1. I know a couple people working 2 full-time jobs so that ends can be met. It makes it hard to get a proper amount of sleep. Maybe that’s what the study is about?

  2. Terrance-
    This is in response to the previous post “What I have Learned” but comments on that are closed.

    A very powerful post about the inner turmoil of being a parent, a spouse and a grown up. Our needs and wants get pushed down and put in the “later” category. It’s what we do, we nurture and provide for others and their happiness helps fill us up. A new baby makes these feelings even more acute, but as you know it will get easier and easier and the more sleep you get the better you’ll feel.

    Having said all that, don’t be so quick to give up on your dreams, it is fine to put them on hold but don’t dismiss them. When Gabriel was born, I thought my dream of going to law school was over–I’d never have the time, money or freedom to do it. But here it is 7 years later and I’m almost done with law school. I’d never have guessed 4 years ago that I’d be back in my hometown, married, and living in a house we bought and about to be an associate at a corporate law firm.

    Your dreams might change or be fulfilled in a way different than you thought–but don’t give up on them or yourself.

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