I Asked 12 People What Sleep Deprivation Has Done To Them, And Their Answers Are A Real Wakeup Call

I Asked 12 People What Sleep Deprivation Has Done To Them, And Their Answers Are A Real Wakeup Call

#TeamNoSleep
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I'm part of a generation that doesn't really get much sleep. Why? Most likely due to many factors: One being odd work hours and the other is being on our phones too much, especially before bedtime. I, personally, never get an adequate amount of sleep. I'm a night owl and that's when I'm most productive so my mind is always racing.

When I get into bed, I'm guilty of being on my phone and/or watching Netflix. Even when I try to not be on any technology, I still find my mind is racing a mile a minute, even though I physically feel exhausted. When I'm sleeping, I wake up a few times in the middle of the night. I can't even remember the last time I had a full eight hours of sleep without waking up.

I figured I'd ask some of my friends what it's like to be sleep deprived and how many hours of sleep they get a night and to be part of #TeamNoSleep and this is what they had to say:

1.

"If I don't take a sleeping aid, I can go about three days without any sleep. But on average I sleep two to three hours. It feels like my brain won't shut down, sometimes I think it's the fact that I eat dinner late at night. But most of the times, right when I'm falling asleep, either I suddenly feel wide awake in that instant, or the smallest noise or anything causes me to wake up."

2.

"I prefer working at night, but all of my schedules require that I get up early. I usually get 5-7 hours of sleep interrupted by my dogs or neuroticism."

3.

"Because of my work schedule, I get maybe four hours of sleep every night. Last night I got two hours of sleep and I felt miserable today. It makes me not want to function for the whole day."

4.

"On average, I get about five hours of sleep a day depending on the day of the week. I wake up at two in the morning for work and some days I don't make it back to bed until eight or nine at night. Being constantly sleep deprived is like operating at 60%, always. You forget things a lot easier, drinking water and eating good food make a world of a difference in your daily lethargy.

Your days don't really have a start or an end. Monday through Friday feels like one long day. And then on the weekend, you crash and catch up on the week's lost sleep — that is if you don't try and have a social life.

5.

"I do not sleep well, mostly because of all the stress in my life and my brain is constantly thinking about things I need to get done and achieve. Also, another weird thing about why I don't sleep well is because I am pretty sure my house is haunted!"

6.

"I’ve always had this unspoken love/hate relationship with sleep deprivation but I have learned to take control of my sleeping habits. I’m a very dynamic person. Because I have a lot of energy, I tend to take on multiple projects at a time. This can sometimes become problematic for my sleep schedule when I’m on deadline for my job, but it’s more of a mindset that I have to maintain for myself. If I stay positive or pay no mind to being up late, it’s not as bad as when I allow myself to feel overwhelmed.

That overwhelming feeling only comes about when I have nights that I only slept three or four hours of sleep (especially on the rare occasion when it’s even less than that). Sleep cycle calculators are my best friend and I’m always looking up simple ways to unwind before bedtime. I’ve noticed that I always sleep better with my loved one so being in a long distance relationship sure takes its toll on my sleeping pattern. Usually, work-related stress is the primary reason or sometimes just binge-watching TV shows on Netflix when I shouldn’t. My best days are on the rare weekends when I don’t have an early morning (into a full day) and I get a solid 9-10 hours of quality rest.

Typically, my golden standard is six hours. But I’ve always been a night owl. In some ways, there’s a sense of solitude in being awake that late. The world is quiet and for me, that’s usually the time I write, meditate or pray. I’ve gotten better at not feeling sleep deprived (especially after giving up coffee) with exercising and accepting the fact that if I’m up, I might as well use the time wisely."

7.

"I attempt to go to bed around midnight and wake up around three/four in the morning and then again when my alarm goes off at 6:45 a.m. So I get roughly five to six hours if I actually fall asleep. I’m normally in bed by midnight or 12:30 but don’t fall asleep for another hour or so. I toss and turn a lot and can’t even attempt to fall asleep without a Tempurpedic pillow or else my neck will be all sorts of messed up in the morning. It’s frustrating. Also, our AC doesn’t work currently so it’s hard to get comfortable "

8.

"I sleep four to six hours a night. What it’s like? It sucks, I want to cry every morning! Why I don’t sleep is because I’m extremely busy — two jobs and five classes at school and then when I get home and try to go to bed, it’s very difficult to shut my mind off."

9.

"I get maybe six hours of sleep, especially if I have something big happening the next day. And I don't sleep well without background noise... when it's too quiet, thinking about everything I need to do the next day keeps me up. When I get home from work, my brain doesn't calm down and I am wired and can't sleep. I guess I have anxiety sometimes. I worry about stuff more at night."

10.

"It's kinda by choice. You know I have two daughters, four and one, and I usually get around three-four hours of sleep max every night. I watch the kids all day, then work on my business at night while my wife works during the day because daycare for both children every month is like $2,500+. "

11.

"I now get six and a half to seven hours of sleep a night and I do OK sleeping through the night since I’m on new medication. Before this medicine with my anxiety, I would wake up hours at a time and my mind would be wandering, thinking about everything. With the stress that millennials have now of days and the pressure that generations before us put on us, I think we are constantly trying to live up to expectations in everything that we do. So stress keeps us from relaxing sometimes."

12.

"I get five hours, probably because of being on the internet. I check the news before I go to bed and when I wake up, The Washington Post, It's really addicting. And when I want a pleasant distraction I'll put on 'The Ellen Show' and then it's like two hours later, all of a sudden, and I've entered into a wormhole and I'm Googling something crazy like, what is the gestation period for giraffes? Because at that moment I wanna know more than I wanna sleep. Sleep just feels so hard to reach in that it's a mindset of okayness where you're pulling yourself away from so many interesting distractions and trying to get yourself to temporarily not care about those things."

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Part 1: Necessary Changes

One of my favorite movies is "Fried Green Tomatoes" with Kathy Bates. In the movie Bates' character Evelyn Couch says, "Someone helped put a mirror up in front of my face, and I didn't like what I saw one bit. And you know what I did? I changed." I know the feeling.

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I looked in the mirror over the weekend and didn't like what I saw.

The person I saw looking back at me is petty, selfish, manipulative, and unattractive. It wasn't that I hated what I saw, but I definitely didn't like what I saw either. It's a surreal feeling, looking at yourself through a critical lens, and it doesn't make you feel good in any way shape or form.

The image that I see of myself is not how I want others to perceive me. I want to be someone that people look at and see kindness, compassion, strength, and confidence.

I have enough general life experience to know that these types of changes aren't going to happen overnight, and not all of them will be physical; most of these will have to happen from the inside, from within myself.

When you find out you are all broken and damaged, it's hard to know where to start putting the pieces back together. I figured the best place to start would be the most literal: my actual insides; so, I decided to embark on a deep-cleansing journey to get all of the toxins out of my body, from the inside out.

I found this book on 10-day green smoothie detox stashed away in the dark corner of my bookshelf. The science behind it seems accurate and legitimate. By eliminating certain foods, your body is able to detox itself off of chemicals and foods that are slowing down your metabolism; the smoothies are specifically designed with combinations of foods that help restart your metabolism. Part of the detox process is getting rid of all dependencies on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.

Every day you are given the recipe for a specific smoothie; you make the smoothie (about 40 ounces) and sip on it throughout the day whenever you get hungry. Every smoothie is a combination of leafy greens, water, fruit, and flax seeds. If you do happen to get hungry throughout the day, you are encouraged to eat raw nuts, hard boiled eggs, and a wide variety of crunchy green vegetables. There is also a detox tea that you have first thing in the morning, but other than that no other beverages are allowed except water.

I know that this is only the beginning of a very long, emotional, and draining journey. But I think I'm at the point in my life where I have to make these changes. I have to put my pieces together, I have to become a normal functioning adult, I have to find out who I am. I think that this is the perfect way to start.

For the next 10 days I am going to be documenting my experiences, how I'm feeling, what my emotions are doing, and any results that I see.

Stay tuned!

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