Tag Archives: cognitive disorders

Only Child will get her sleep

Only Child in her office – getting down to business with work and sleep.

My mind has turned to mush. I forget where I put things; I forget to do things; things get mixed up, and some things go and stay missing.

Am I losing my mind?

Maybe?

Is it Alzheimer’s?

Probably not.

My immune system is also down and I have a low-level cold (at this point). And I’ve been getting to bed too late (or too early if you figure the time after midnight in a.m.). So, it’s sleep deprivation. Because I have not been carousing all over town until the wee hours of the morning, that’s not it. The root cause of all this is doing too much – a lot of that I blame on being the only person here who has to do and/or organize everything. Can’t do anything about that now (no time and no money) but there is something I can and will do.

TAKE BACK MY SLEEP TIME.

Studies show that sleep deprivation affects both physical health and mental health, particularly cognitive performance. Your short-term memory and even your long-term memory can take a nosedive and your decision-making abilities can go out the window. According to a study, Sleep Deprivation: Impact on Cognitive Performance by Paula Alhola and Paivi Polo-Kantola (Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 2007), not getting sufficient zzz’s regularly can impair lots more, including your mood. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC265629 for the long list of sleep deprivation effects and the references to corresponding studies. It’s enough to make you want to crawl under the covers and never come out.

I’m not going that far but some things got to go or at least slow down. Consider last week where (among other things) I did/had to deal with the following:

  1. My handyman finally showing up – on a work day. It interfered with my work time and because he was one and a quarter hour late, not everything got done. I forgive myself for being really grumpy then. He deserved it (if you remember from previous posts he had cancelled a Saturday appointment).
  2. Juggling client work and meetings (in person) and via email and phone with new clients (not complaining here. I need and like the work. I’m taking it in the context of what else was happening).
  3. Trying to do end-of-season garden cleanup plus protect vulnerable plants from cold weather/frost with our yo-yo weather (that is the nature of gardening, but again I’m taking it in context with everything else).
  4. Doing readings from my book, including out-of-town (this I like doing), attending all day workshops on Saturday (my East End Writers’ Group sponsored it so I had to be there even though I felt sick).
  5. Plus the regular daily stuff – cooking and cleaning up (although I cook extra on weekends and leave what little “big” cleaning jobs I do until weekends).
  6. Etc., etc., etc.

That’s only part of it. Not getting done was phoning friends as promised, more clearing out of my office (I did do some so I have room for new client files). This week started out with a malfunctioning CD/DVD drive in my desktop computer so my computer tech was just here this morning. The drive wasn’t dead yet but something in it was loose so it was headed to the DVD/CD drive cemetery. My techie replaced it and then I found out his rates went up – but he gave me a discount because I didn’t know and he wasn’t here for a full hour. So, I gave him a post-dated cheque because like most freelancers I’m waiting for another cheque to come in. I also have a whopping house insurance premium (over $1,000 for the next year) due the beginning of next week.

Seems no matter what you do you can’t crawl out from under it.

Except for my sleep deprivation. I’m determined to get at least my required seven and a quarter hours of sleep each night. So, I have to get strict and maybe even a little nasty. My plan?

Put myself first.

Say “no” to many things including some social and business events, particularly where it involves me helping someone else. I’m doing too much of that (mainly in the business end) and spreading myself too thin.

Delete more email – some without first reading the email – just go by the subject and the sender. I don’t mean obvious spam. I’m doing some of this but I will up it.

Stick more to my daily schedule – I do daily schedules but don’t always follow them – now it will be to-the-letter barring extreme unforeseen circumstances. This means clients will have to get in line to get their work done if they want it done properly.

Don’t beat myself if I don’t have time to return friends’ and business phone calls and emails. I will get to it – when I have time.

Don’t get sidetracked by other things – especially those that don’t really interest me and/or aren’t pertinent.

Pace myself in what I do.

Take breaks and leisure time.

And get enough sleep.

Excuse me while I go to the next item on today’s “to do” list.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Balance, Cognitive disorders, Gardening, Goals, Health, Lists, No, Overwhelm, Prioritizing, Sharon A. Crawford, Sleep deprivation, Stress, to do list

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