A few weeks ago, I experienced sleep deprivation like I hadn’t in a long time.
My husband and I were traveling from Sacramento, CA to Coeur D’Alene, ID (CDA) for my husband to participate in the 70.3 Ironman triathlon. He did great and got a PR (personal record)!
Our flight was scheduled to leave around 7:30 PM, and we were supposed to arrive in Spokane, WA at 11:30 PM, with a quick 40 minute layover in Seattle, WA. Then, we needed to get the rental car by 12:30 AM before they closed, in order to drive to our cabin in CDA, approx 45 minutes away.
I had known this was going to be a late night, as our expected arrival time in CDA was between 12:30-1 AM. And, my plan was to sleep in the next day until around 9-10 AM in order to get a good full night’s sleep.
We arrived at the Sacramento airport around 5:30 PM, plenty of time to get through security, hang out and have a glass of wine. We boarded the Delta plane like normal, and since we often forget to check-in exactly 24 hours prior, we were some of the last people to board, and our assigned seats were in the last row.
Shortly after we all got settled, the flight Captain announced that our flight is being delayed due to “construction on the runway” in Seattle. Yikes! We immediately know we would miss our connecting flight, since the timeframe was already so short to begin with. The Captain said it could be up to an hour before we left, but it could also be sooner. So, he wanted everyone to remain on the plane and ready to go since we could be given the green light at any moment.
While this news was certainly a bummer, our moods remained high, as we decided there was nothing we could do about it until we landed. We would try to get on the next flight out and see what happens.
We did end up leaving about an hour later, and when we arrived in Seattle we ran to the customer service desk to try to get on a different flight to Spokane as soon as possible. Everyone else from the plane was trying to do the same. Luckily we ran fast!
We were transferred to an Alaska Airlines flight which had also been delayed. When we finally boarded that plane, it was close to midnight.
During that second flight, I did manage to get about 1 hour of sleep. When we arrived in Spokane, the car rental place was closed. They provided a coupon for a night’s stay at the Ramada just across the street, and we decided that was best since we were so tired and needed to get some sleep.
By the time we got to sleep, it was around 2 AM. Although I was tired, I was still feeling ok with everything. Although there had been delays, we were getting closer to our destination, and now we could sleep. We would just pick up the car in the morning and head over to CDA.
We ended up waking up around 6 AM, getting ready, having breakfast, picking up the car and driving to CDA, as we were eager to just get there and get settled in. Also my husband had some plans with his other triathlon friends in the morning around getting ready for the race.
Between waking at 6 AM and the nap I was finally able to take around 10 AM, I noticed myself growing increasingly grumpy, cranky, moody and feeling physically miserable.
I noticed that I was having a hard time making decisions and being patient. It occurred to me that I hadn’t experienced sleep deprivation in a while. Or, at least I hadn’t noticed the effects because I hadn’t been as tuned in to the whole sleep world as I am now.
Some of you might be thinking, “That’s it? This few hours of sleep deprivation is her whole story? That’s my life every day!”
Think about that for a minute. If this little of sleep is your typical world, then you are living day to day with this fogginess and misery. Wow!
In the book Sleep Smarter, by Shawn Stevenson, he writes, “When your sleep suffers, you suffer major consequences beyond the dark circles under your eyes. You’re probably grouchy and not fun to be around. Key relationships and parenting suffer. Work productivity declines. Your level of cortisol, a key stress hormone, is higher— and that makes you eat more and store belly fat. Your thyroid slows down. Insulin doesn’t work as well, and your blood sugar gets out of whack. You can’t clear the gunk out of your brain or soul. Your risk of cancer is quadrupled depending on the duration and volume of your sleep debt. You increase your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease.”
I found this pretty shocking. Did you know that evidence proves that sleep deprivation looks similar in the brain to being drunk, and people’s actions are similar?
In the Huffington Post article Studies Show Sleep Deprivation Performance Is Similar to Being Under the Influence of Alcohol: “A study shows that moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication. After 17 to 19 hours without sleep, performance was equivalent or worse than that of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. After longer periods without sleep, performance reached levels equivalent to a BAC of 0.1 percent.” (Studies Show Sleep Deprivation Performance Is Similar to Being Under the Influence of Alcohol)
My experience was miserable for just a few hours, and yet this is every day life for so many people. Does this sound like your normal life experience? It doesn’t have to be that way!
Can you imagine what it would feel like to live each day with a full night of sleep? Bliss!
This can be your life. Fully rested, rejuvenated.
I can help you get back on track with better sleep routines and living a rejuvenated day to day life.
I’m a Life Coach, specializing in helping professionals feel rejuvenated and back in control of their lives through better sleep routines. ~ Rebekah Anderson
Click here to schedule a free 25-minute coaching session with me. I will help you get on track with your routines and your life.