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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chronic Sleep Deprivation... How bad is it for your overall health?

Please note: I am not recommending or encouraging anyone to not get the rest their body needs. I just can't help but wonder if all of our bodies need the same amount of rest...

One of the most common questions people ask me about my business(s) is "Where do you find the time?" To which I always reply "I don't sleep" which is an exaggeration but only by slightly. Let's put it this way. When some of my forum friends in the Midwest are just waking up and posting in our group? I'm still up working and just beginning to think about going to bed on my end. I usually go to bed between 3:00 to 5:00 am and wake up between 7:30 - 9:30 am. Or whenever the phone rings.

Then the big scare. After watching an episode of 20/20 titled Sleep Debt which focused on chronic sleep deprivation I'd made an effort to sleep more. And guess what? I felt awful. During the day it made me groggy and lethargic, some days I even needed naps. And to top it off I got sick with a really bad cold. So now in my mind extra sleep = feeling bad and getting sick. Anecdotal evidence for sure but evidence nonetheless.

The show said it can accelerate the aging process, lead to obesity and cause other illnesses. But I think I look fine with not enough rest. Most people guess my age to be about 15 to 20 years younger then I acutally am. LOL. And though I have gained weight the past few years, most people think it's made me healthier, not less healthy. The other potential illnesses are what I need to worry about I guess.

Maybe I'm in denial but I have to tell you: I seem to do better on less sleep not more. And for those who are curious... I don't use stimulants of any type to stay awake. With the exception of drinking the occasional cup of my favorite green tea for it's health benefits, I shun caffeine completely. I never drink coffee and rarely consume sodas that contain the stuff. Well except for when I'm out "partying," then a club soda with a twist or *gasp* a coke or root beer with caffeine may find it's way into my hand. Yeah, I really go wild when I party. LOL.

I once heard Martha Stewart say she would sleep when she's dead. I kind of feel the same way. The experts say the quality of the work you do is compromised when you don't get at least 7 hours of sleep a night but I'm not buying it. I think I do some of my best work in the wee hours of the morning. Not my best blog posting per say, there was that unfortunate incident, but aside from that I think some of my best work happens between the magical hours of midnight to 3:00 am. Which is also, as I've oddly discovered, when dill pickles taste the best.

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