« To sleep and cry in LA (baby remix) | Main | Hugo nominees announced »

Awake, awake

| 3 Comments

The past few weeks, I've been having big mood swings, and having a hard time focusing or getting things done. I'm reluctant for a variety of reasons to label it depression, but it certainly had some symptoms in common with depression. Don't know whether it was related to the anniversary of my father's death or not.

But one of the few things that went well, oddly, was sleep. I was getting about 7 hours' sleep a night, which for me is generally more than enough.

And more generally, I think I haven't had significant sleep problems in the past few months, which is pretty unusual for me.

Then a week or ten days ago, the mood swings slowed and mostly went away. Various things I'd been anxious about became less of an issue. We had a really nice editorial meeting. I started being more capable of focusing and getting stuff done.

And I stopped sleeping well.

(I realize that parents are unlikely to have much sympathy to the following, given how little sleep many of y'all get. But I'm gonna whine about it anyway.)

This past week, it's been on the order of 5 hours of interrupted sleep a night. With occasional episodes of being unable to stay awake in the afternoon, and napping for anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple hours. Sometimes staying up way too late even for me, despite repeated promises to myself to stop doing that; sometimes waking up multiple times a night.

Yesterday, I remarked to someone that although the light-industrial companies across my back fence used to run heavy machinery at 5:30 a.m., they no longer did that.

This morning, I have a doctor appointment (nothing serious, and nothing related to the above) that I unfortunately scheduled for 9:15--a little on the early side for me, especially given my schedule of late, but not impossibly so.

So around 2 a.m., I went to sleep. I slept without earplugs (as I often do these days) so the alarm could wake me up.

So of course it was inevitable that the heavy equipment started running at 5 a.m.

At 5:15, I turned on my white-noise generator to drown out the machinery.

At 5:30, I gave up and put in earplugs and hoped the alarm would still wake me.

At 5:45, it became clear that I wasn't going to get back to sleep, and I started thinking about getting up. Of course, the heavy equipment stopped about then.

At 6, I decided to stop trying to sleep and just get up.

I imagine I'll cope. One night of three hours' sleep is not disastrous. But I doubt I'll be much use today.

3 Comments

...parents are unlikely to have much sympathy to the following...

On the contrary, I have complete sympathy, since I know very well how awful it feels to be sleep-deprived and how impossible it is to be productive afterwards (things are much better now that the kids are bigger, but when we had babies I frequently did things like come home from work, take off my coat, and put it in the refrigerator).


I completely agree with Jacob about being sympathetic rather than thinking you've got it easy. Sleep deprivation is never good.


I totally get. BTW, depression makes me sleep _more_ deeply and make it harder to wake up.
It is entirely possible that your depression aided your sleeping even as the rest of it sucked half-pickled eggs.

On the plus side, at least the wave of depression passed. My shrink said that can happen with men around our age; he recommended that I only go on meds if the depression was a functional problem. This is an analysis which I liked. I has been a problem, so I did.

I wish I still had the 1st side effects from the meds, though; sleep would be deep and thorough, and I would be instantly awake when I woke up. That lasted about a week. Now I have to fight grogginess every morning, although it is improving with an increase to the dosage.


Post a comment