Recently, I was having a couple different discussions about my sleep. For two people I was talking to, it dealt with how much I slept both during the week and per day. With the other, it was the timing of my sleep. My body has learned over the years how to adapt to strange situations on sleep and I do think it has a favorite set point that it tries to get back to. I’ve also learned to keep track of my depression by making sure that I get enough sleep when needed. Since there are so many factor to keep track of in staying healthy, I can only imagine how many people let some slip to the side. For me, sleep can not. Especially living in this area where there are seasons where I have to find alternate ways to get enough sunshine.
With the timing of sleep, I should mention that I normally sleep during the day. If I sleep at night, most things wake me up and I cannot get a steady sleep. The constant noises and such that people make during the day allow me to drown them out so that I can sleep all day if needed, or at least until my alarm goes off for work. Except for when its cold enough that I need to keep my drapes closed, I even sleep with the window uncovered to let sun seep onto me. To compensate for the light, I use a blindfold to keep it from my eyes. Yes, things like people doing sudden loud things or arguing will wake me. But, if I don’t have to work that day, I’ll put in earplugs to keep those distractions muted.
The amount of sleep surprised the people I talked to. One felt like I wasn’t getting enough on a day to day. To explain, I get home on days off in the middle of the morning. As soon as I get in, I get in my pajamas and go straight to sleep because my alarm is going off at 2:30pm. So, on those days, the most I’m getting is four hours. Why so little? I work a twelve hour shift per day and it takes me about two hours each way to get to and from work thanks to public transportation. Along with that, I make sure to make something to eat when I get up and the rest of my daily routine. Occasionally, I’ll sleep in an hour. But, then something gets cut from my routine. Usually, that ends up being eating. So, then I’m hungry on my way to work and end up buying something to eat from the space between the bus stop and work. On my day off from enough days working, I will admit to only getting up for the next twenty four hours only to go to the bathroom. Otherwise, I’m asleep. If I don’t work too many nights in a row, I’ll just stay up during the night to keep myself in that schedule of sleep and wake. Exception to that is Saturday. That day I go shopping because the farmer’s market is open.
There are a lot of studies being done on how much sleep people need and should someone sleep off a sleep debt. I find it works for me, but others it may not. Just like they are discovering that some people need more than others in amounts of sleep. Perhaps my years of constantly changing my schedule for sleep has made my body grab whatever it can receive and be effective at what it is given. Or maybe there’s still too much caffeine running through my systems on some days that it just can’t sleep too much. Nah.