The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

How Valuable is Sleep?

Sometimes I wish that I didn't need to sleep. Wouldn't it be great if we could just sleep for say, 24 hours straight, then wake up and stay awake and productive for the next five or six days? If we could just store up the sleep that we get, that would honestly be possible. It's not though, and I didn't need to do some long, drawn-out research study to figure it out. I was trying to remember the longest I ever stayed awake without a single minute of sleep, but I just can't place it. It was probably right around 26 hours or so, but not much longer. I know that I have had prolonged periods of time when I only slept about 4 hours before getting back up and trying to be functional, but believe me, that does not happen anymore!

There are a lot of different theories about how long a person can actually stay up. We've all probably heard some "fact" about how you will simply die if you stay up longer than ten days straight or something like that. I haven't been able to find any actual evidence that is true, but that doesn't really mean much since I do my research on the internet, ha!

One thing is certain: The longer you stay up, the less you can function. I would say that after about 18 hours of staying up and being active, I start to fade away mentally and physically. My eyes get tired and feel dry. My muscles begin to ache. I usually will get a bad headache or tummy ache on top of that. Every hour after 18 is exponentially worse. Sometimes I think my need for long periods of sleep are a result of many years of only sleeping 3 or 4 hours a night when I was younger. Is it possible to carry a sleep deprivation with you for years to come?

I certainly don't know the answer. All I have is personal experience. When I was in high school and college, I pushed myself so hard academically and socially. I didn't sleep much at all because I felt that if I slept, I would miss something important. Weird, but true. On average for the last couple years of high school as well as all four of undergraduate, I would say that I slept about 4 hours a night. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but never much more than that. When I would go home for Thanksgiving or something... I would sleep for twelve or more hours straight. I was so exhausted! I was able to function through it during school, but as I got older, I started to really feel the effects of those years of sleep deprivation.

Now that I am in my 30's I would say that I need 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night to feel my best. Unfortunately, G and I don't usually make it to bed until 1am or after, and then we are up at 8 or 8:30. For most people, 7 hours of sleep should be fine. For me, it never seems like enough. I really wish I could go back to the days of 4 hours of sleep a night followed by very awake and happy to be so days. Unfortunately, I think I used up my quota of those days before I was 22 years old.

My question now is whether, after years of feeling tired all the time, I will eventually get enough sleep that I will be able to go back to a reasonable six hours of sleep a night. I'll let you know...

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Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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