Yesterday, I’m quite certain I experienced the effects of sleep deprivation for the first time in my life.
All three nights this weekend, I attended an event that led to me staying up late. Two of those nights I drank alcohol which always fucks with my sleep quality. And according to my tracker, I averaged four and a half hours of time spent asleep Friday through Sunday.
So what was yesterday like?
The Sleep Foundation lists these as the major symptoms of acute sleep deprivation:
- Slowed thinking
- Reduced attention span
- Worsened memory
- Poor or risky decision-making
- Lack of energy
- Mood changes—including feelings of stress, anxiety, or irritability
That sums my day up perfectly.
In the morning, I sat down with my cup of coffee and for the first hour of my day, I had to constantly remind myself of what I was doing. I would start one thing and jump to another, forgetting what I was doing in the first place. The pit of anxiety in my chest was thunderous.
At noon, I hopped on my regular Monday call with my coaching program and I don’t even remember what we did or what I said on it.
When that was over, I began my next three hours of work, made it about ten minutes, threw in the towel, and went and laid in bed.
I can’t remember the last time I started a day of work and then stopped in the middle of it. Unfortunately, this didn’t calm me down because my chest was telling me I should be working harder, not resting.
Why is this blog post called what it’s called?
It’s because it doesn’t matter how much I talk, write, or preach about how vital it is…sleep always seems to be something that’s easy to sacrifice.
Yesterday humbled me. So today, with my rested and refreshed brain, I’m writing down a few rules for myself on my whiteboard:
1) At 10pm, the phone must be on airplane mode.
2) If there are coaching sessions scheduled the next day, no more than two drinks the night before.
3) If an offer or request doesn’t light me up, I have to say No to it.
If we want to prioritize our energy, we have to treat it like a priority. That’s what yesterday taught me.