No Rest for the Wicked

by Julia Phillips Smith

It's a new year, with all of its excitement about new beginnings and taking on new challenges.

Like everyone else, my goals are calling to me. My appetite for plunging into them is huge. It's a good thing that new plans usually start with an initial burst of enthusiasm, because introducing new projects into an already-packed schedule can be a major challenge.

If you're like me, you don't actually have enough time in a 24-hour time period to get it all done. If you're like me and many other people, in order to squeeze that new project into your day, you steal time away from the only thing that can give: sleep time.

As opposed to a true sleep disorder, where you are experiencing sleep disruption due to a medical condition and are already addressing those challenges, stealing from your sleep is a time management choice that can backfire on you eventually.

According to Web MD, depriving your body of sleep will trigger cravings for higher-carb foods in order to achieve a burst of energy. It releases stress hormones into your system that, in sustained circumstances, can lead to high blood pressure and eventual heart disease. Headaches, development of diabetes and increased moodiness can all result from continued, habitual sleep deprivation.

Unfortunately, knowing about the affects of sleep deprivation has turned it into a preferred form of torture in today's world. "It doesn’t involve any direct physical harm so it’s often seen as one of the more ‘acceptable’ forms of torture. It leaves no scars, at least physical ones, and in recent years it has become one of the the preferred  methods of 'torture lite' by regimes who claim to respect international law and human rights.
Keeping someone awake for hours or even days at a time is a highly effective way to ‘break the will’ of a prisoner, causing a whole range of undesirable ill effects from cognitive impairment, psychosis, breaking down the immune system and even causing heart defects and cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, there’s a trade off for the interrogating party. The more you deprive someone of sleep, the more likely they are to suffer memory loss, confusion, even hallucinations. So any attempts at 'intelligence gathering' become increasingly fruitless as the detainee starts to break down, unable to provide truthful or accurate information." -- Jeff Mann, Sleep Junkies

So what does all this mean for me, the Queen of Stealing Sleep Time?

I have started 2014 by getting some rest.

Lots of it.

My writing will thank me for it. 


Do you steal sleep time in order to get everything done?

Photo by Helen Tansey
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