Only child considers the sleep factor

Only Child looking like she could use more sleep

“To sleep, perchance to dream,” William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. Forget the dreams; I’m having difficulty finding time to get ENOUGH sleep. But as some of my business gaffes last week show, I need more sleep because the lack of enough is affecting my cognitive abilities, my memory and making me anxious. I know I’ve hit on this topic before but it’s important enough to revisit.

The biggest gaffe (now corrected) is I mixed up dates for a one-day Blogging Your Memories workshop I’m teaching at the Riverdale Public Library branch in Toronto Oct. 5. I thought it was Oct. 3 and so put Oct. 5 as one of the dates for a Crafting Your Personal Memoir Writing course I’m running. Until I saw my library workshop posted on the library branch’s website. Oops.

Research shows I’m not alone in this Oops, not-enough-sleep factor.

A 2007 study conducted by Harris/Decima found that 90 percent of Canadian women don’t get sufficient shut-eye at night. Sixty percent of these sleep-deprived women live in Ontario, 59 percent in Quebec and the lowest number lacking enough sleep, at 50 percent, live in Maritime Canada. Why are we women not getting enough sleep? And the men are faring better. Stress (62 percent for women vs 53 percent for men), uncomfortable room temperature  (61 percent for women and 43 percent for men), and insomnia (35 percent for women and 25 percent for men).

And according to an earlier (2003) National Sleep Disorders Research plan, not spending enough time in the land of nod affects cognitive tasks, i.e.  the functional activity patterns between brain regions is altered. See http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/res_plan/section2/section2.htm.

And your memory – or maybe that should be MY memory – too little sleep affects our working memory, according to a Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_deprivation 

This article states that EEG studies show if you get less sleep then you have less reaction time, your focus and your alertness decrease, and your accuracy nose-dives. Amen to that.

I think it all started years ago when in high school I burned the midnight and later oils cramming for exams. It didn’t do me much good.  Since then I have had times when I did get sufficient sleep. When I was pregnant with my son, I had to go to bed soon after 7 p.m. or I yawned the rest of the evening. But it was also the time I could get up by 7 a.m. and be wide awake. Not anymore. If I have to get up early I’m often dragging myself around until I get a few shots of coffee inside me. Of course later in the day I want to nap, but I press on with work because I have a backlog of editing, writing, etc., not to mention house stuff, to do – despite prioritizing. But that’s another story.

Now, I’m still dragging myself around late late at night (you don’t want to know the time) finishing up  house chores or organizing my next-day’s work schedule.

Two nights ago, I declared war on not getting enough sleep. That workshop/course date mix-up did it. Now. I’m trying to get my 7 1/4 hours of nightly sleep. That seems to be the magic number for me. I think I have to do as I did a few years ago when I would “kill” for my sleep and if anyone or anything stopped me from getting to bed by 11 p.m., let’s just say I didn’t feel kindly towards them.

Maybe it’s also an age thing – hormones, or no hormones, who knows. That Harris/Decima study didn’t mention anything about the ages of the women who were sleep-deprived. Or maybe (more likely) we women and men, too, are just doing too much; it’s stressing us out, and depriving us of sleep.

I’ve said “no” on a few things the past few weeks, and am trying to focus on one thing at a time – not always succeeding. More walking and continuing with my constant gardening (when not working) would also help. When winter comes I can shovel snow for exercise. Yeck!

I think I’ll continue concentrating on getting more sleep…and maybe perchance to dream about some ideas to cut down on the overwhelm in my days.

Anyone else have any ideas?

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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4 Comments

Filed under Balance, Burnout, Cognitive disorders, Concentration, Life demands, Memory loss, Only child, Overwhelm, Prioritizing, Sleep deprivation, Stress

4 responses to “Only child considers the sleep factor

  1. I have a small background in magazine journalism but my new job requires no writing at all, except for emails. . . I would like to start doing some creative writing but I don’t know where to start, as in, what do I write about, and whether it’s actually worth bothering with or not. I’d probably be more inclined to do it if there was a competition or group I could join online or something like that. . . Does anyone do any writing or their own, if so, how did you get started? And what have you gotten out of it?.

    • Thanks for your post and sorry I’m a bit slow replying. You might want to take a creative writing course to get you started writing – either online or in person. Actually in person might be better if possible. Don’t know where you are but check the continuing education departments of your local colleges and universities. Also if you want online stuff go to the writers digest website – you can get on their e-newsletter for free and the newsletters will give you info on webinars, etc. they have. You might also want to get their magazine Writers’ Digest which has a lot of information on writing. Check with your public libraries for area writing groups and organizations – often they have online writing critique groups but you have to write something first. Try the below freefall exercise.

      Sit in front of your computer. Take the first word that enters your head (like “beach” or “candy”) and just write whatever comes into your head. (or you can use an object, such as a paperweight) Do not stop to make spelling or word changes. Just write – for 15 to 20 minutes. This will help unlock your writer’s block. What you write might also have gems to expand into something else. I run a writer’s critique group in Toronto, Canada but it’s in person. In one of our sessions we did a freefall writing exercise but using an object. From that he developed a short story which became one of many in a book of short stories he later had published.

      Cheers.

      Sharon
      Only Child Writes

  2. How do I copyright articles that I have written for free?

    • In Canada as soon as you write something it is automatically copyrighted. In the US you can register it for copyright. However, anything you have written and had published for free or pay, make sure you didn’t sign a contract giving away your copyright. If you did, you don’t own the work anymore. If you signed a contract. giving the publication to publish it in their database but you retain the copyright well copyright is still yours and you can do what you want with it.\

      Cheers.

      Sharon

      Only Child Writes

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