Thursday, May 22, 2008

Attack of the Sleepless Zombies.

A couple days ago, I was talking to my buddy from Columbus about being a parent.

'It's great, Blah, blah, blah.' 'It's awesome blah, blah, blah.' All that stuff.

Then we got on the subject of sleep.

"Man," he said. "Those first two years are something else, aren't they?"

"Yeah," I said. "You get no sleep at all.

"It's like you're walking in a fog," he said.

"It's like your a zombie," I added.

"Sometimes I felt like I was a robot, too" he said.

"Me too," I said. "Like Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still?"

"Exactly like Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still," he said.

The we started to talk about porn.

Looking over DrudgeReport today, I came across an article from This is London talking about sleep deprivation. (See full article below)

I totally agree with the article. I've wrote about it before and normally I don't bitch about this type of stuff. But, these past four days, I've been a walking zombie due to our eight-month old waking up at night and screaming for a bottle.

My wife-to-be and I have worked out a plan, of sorts, where I feed him when he wakes up the firt half of the night. Then she takes over around 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. Then, I can sleep until 7:30 a.m.

Trust me, neither option is great.

But, what's exciting is the fact that he's only waking up once (or twice) a night now. (Our two-year old daughter, by the way, sleeps like a rock.)

A couple more months and, hopefully, he'll be sleeping through the night.

But that doesn't help me right now. Now does it?

The study suggests that 'being deprived of sleep even for one night makes the brain unstable and prone to sudden shutdowns akin to a power failure - brief lapses that hover between sleep and wakefulness.'

The findings also state 'that people who are sleep-deprived alternate between periods of near-normal brain function and dramatic lapses in attention and visual processing.'

This is totally me. I work as a copywriter and when I come into work after one of those sleep-deprivated nights, I have a hard time finding the right words for the simplest things.

TRUE STORY: We were at the park the other day and our daughter ran up to an object and pointed to it.

I couldn't think of the word for the life of me.

I looked over to my wife-to-be and said, "What is that?"

She looked at me strange.

"That...," she said pointing to the bench like I was a little bit special. "...is a bench."

Just like in the Tom and Jerry cartoons, my face turned into a big jackass face.

Which begs the question, maybe it's not sleep deprivation at all? Maybe it's early onset Alzheimer's?

Great. Yet another sleepless night worrying about that.

FULL This is London ARTICLE:
Losing just one night sleep can cause the brain to experience 'power failures' according to research

Being deprived of sleep even for one night makes the brain unstable and prone to sudden shutdowns akin to a power failure - brief lapses that hover between sleep and wakefulness, according to researchers.

"It's as though it is both asleep and awake and they are switching between each other very rapidly," said David Dinges of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, whose study appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"Imagine you are sitting in a room watching a movie with the lights on. In a stable brain, the lights stay on all the time. In a sleepy brain, the lights suddenly go off," Dinges said.

The findings suggest that people who are sleep-deprived alternate between periods of near-normal brain function and dramatic lapses in attention and visual processing.

"This involves more structures changing than we've ever seen before, but changing just during these lapses," Dinges said.

He and colleagues did brain imaging studies on 24 adults who performed simple tasks involving visual attention when they were well rested and when they had missed a night's sleep.

The researchers used a type of brain imaging known as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, which measures blood flow in the brain.

They found significant, momentary lapses in several areas of the brain, which seemed to frequently falter when the people were deprived of sleep, but not when these same people were well rested.

"These people are not lying in bed. They are sitting up doing a task they learned and they are working very hard at doing their best," Dinges said.

He said the lapses seem to suggest that loss of sleep renders the brain incapable of fully fending off the involuntary drive to sleep.

He said the study makes it clear how dangerous sleep deprivation can be while driving on the highway, when even a four-second lapse could lead to a major accident.

"These are not just academic interests," he said.

2 comments:

mac said...

The first two years of having a child I like to call the 'Zombie Years'. That picture you have posted is perfect because that's exactly how you feel sometimes. This goes out to all the 'faithful' parents, who have the fuckin' balls to make it through the 'Zombie Years' without trying something completely stupid and immoral like doping your kids so it makes them sleep.

Your Finest Eimer said...

MAC

Thanks for the words. Talking with you, it's nice to know that, eventually, the sleep gets better.