Insomnia

dbg044 From the Latin insomnus. In = no, somnus = sleep. No sleep. Inability to sleep.

It’s 1:00am according to my laptop’s clock. Really wide awake. Not a tinge of sleepiness. All the gears and wheels in my head are spinning as though they had forgotten to wind down for the night. Not good. I need to stay awake for my driver, who’s post call and driving at least 3 hours on a straight road in the afternoon. Not good at all.

Tried a lot of things to feel sleepy. Read boring books, surfed boring websites, and yes, I tried closing my eyes for sometime in my dark room. Didn’t work. In the frustration, I gave up trying. Might as well do something while I’m fully awake anyway…

What’s keeping me awake? Numerous reasons. But we shall not dwell on those…

Let’s talk about sleep. Perhaps that might make me want sleep and eventually feel sleepy enough to ZzzZzzzzz.

Here are some interesting facts I copied after reading quite a few sites on sleep. Yes, I read about sleep and still don’t feel sleepy.

1. The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses.
(Gosh, am I glad I should be able to sleep in a few hours…)

2. It’s impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.

3. Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you’re sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you’re still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.

4. A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year. (Does not deter me from still wanting kids…)

5. Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep, but lie down for REM sleep. (Imagine getting up and down each night!!)

6. Scientists have not been able to explain a 1998 study showing a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake clock. (How cool is that?!)

7. Some studies suggest women need up to an hour’s extra sleep a night compared to men, and not getting it may be one reason women are much more susceptible to depression than men. (Definitely a good fact to know…)

8. Ducks at risk of attack by predators are able to balance the need for sleep and survival, keeping one half of the brain awake while the other slips into sleep mode. (How nice it would be if I could do that when I’m on call)

9. Humans sleep on average around three hours less than other primates like chimps, rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys and baboons, all of whom sleep for 10 hours.

10. Tiny luminous rays from a digital alarm clock can be enough to disrupt the sleep cycle even if you do not fully wake. The light turns off a “neural switch” in the brain, causing levels of a key sleep chemical to decline within minutes. (What more from the city lights from our windows?)

Okay. I’m off. More attempts to have my shut-eye for the night. Clocking off at 1:30am – STILL not sleepy. Let’s hope I don’t nod off in the car ride later today.

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