This is what sleep deprivation did to me
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post and one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the world today, in her book, 'The Sleep Revolution' discusses how sleep deprivation has a profound consequence on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What is needed, she asserts is nothing short of a sleep revolution. Only by renewing our relationship with sleep, can we take back control of our lives.
My own episode with sleep started when I started this blog. My passion and drive to create something new coupled with my initial enthusiasm for success, kept me awake at nights and before I knew I was sitting up till 2 or 3 a.m. creating content for my blog posts. After many days (or rather nights) of working like this, my body started to give up. I started having difficulties falling asleep at night and my overall efficiency reduced. It has taken me several weeks of following a disciplined bedtime schedule to get back into a normal sleep pattern again. Now when I hear people boast how they sacrifice sleep for work, I am not impressed. I know too well what the consequences of sleep deprivation are and how it can adversely affect body and mind. Here is what happened to me:
1. Reduced overall efficiency
I felt like I was becoming a somnambulist, sleep-walking through life. I started waking up with low energy levels and my brain felt fuzzy. I couldn't think clearly anymore and when I sat down to work, my brain took more time to process information. I also noticed that I was becoming increasingly forgetful. I felt less creative and my mind was dull and lethargic.
2. Created moodiness
Sleep deprivation made me anxious, depressed and moody. I became sensitive and touchy and it started affecting my everyday relationships with my family and friends. It felt like I was going through life with a chip on my shoulder!
3. No energy to exercise
The best part of the day for me is when I am working out in the pool or going out for long walks. Exercise boosts my energy levels and gives me a high like nothing else can give. When I was not giving my body sufficient sleep, I couldn't really work out. I felt so low on energy that it took every iota of strength in me even to do just a few laps in the pool! My body didn't fell strong and healthy and I missed exercising badly.
4. Skin started to give up
I know for a fact that when I give 7-8 hrs of sleep to my body, my skin starts looking so much healthier and youthful. On the other hand sleep deprivation took away the radiance from my skin, I developed dark circles under my eyes and started looking older.
5. Decreased Immunity
My immunity decreased and I became hypo-allergic, sneezing for most part of the day. I started going through my mornings in a lifeless state with a coffee mug in one hand and a tissue-box in the other!
6. Loss of Appetite and migraines
On days I didn't sleep enough, I didn't want to eat anything and even when I ate any food, it felt tasteless and inedible. As a result, I started developing migraine problems and became dependent on aspirins to get me through the day.
I now realize the importance of sleep in my life and how a good night's sleep is key to nourishing my mind and body. There are still days when I am tempted to work a few extra hours in the night, however if I want to be happy and successful, I must develop a certain degree of non-attachment to my work and give myself enough sleep so I can perform better in life.