Sleep deprivation: the results

December 15, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve conducted a highly scientific study over the last four years, to determine the effects of a continual lack of shuteye. The study involved hundreds of mothers of young children, and a control group of childless females of the same age. I’ve weighted the results so as to be demographically representative of the UK as a whole. That’s not actually true. My study involved one sleep-deprived, touche eclat* addicted, individual. The results below are observations about how my brain has started to malfunction since the arrival of three children since 2007, none of whom are as closely acquainted with the insides of their eyelids as I would like them to be.

1. Short-term memory shot to pieces. Think: must wipe table. Wipe table. Go back into kitchen. Think: must wipe table. Find table already wiped. This happens so frequently I’ve started to worry about early onset Alzheimer’s. It happens for mainly mundane tasks. Is it because as I wake up every couple of hours through the night I very rarely achieve deep sleep? Perhaps a sleep-deprived brain only has space for a certain amount of memory, and it prioritises the big stuff. Eg. Get children from school. Give children food. Put children to bed. Am thinking I may have to act like Guy Pearce’s character in Memento, although instead of tattooing my body with personal information I could write on my arm with a bic biro each time a task is completed, eg: BOILER IS ON! TOAST IS PRESSED DOWN! 

2. Inability to recall names, faces, events. Parents become ‘so and so’s mum’. I smile vaguely at most parents on the school run because I’m sure I’ve probably spoken to them before. I told the nice beauty therapist who does home massages etc that I wished I had had a facial in the last five years. She informed me that she had given me two. I cannot remember this.

3. Limited grasp of the passage of time. Will Young won Pop Idol ten years ago?! (Note the significant cultural event that I chose. See next point)

4. Increased denseness/interest in lowbrow television. My inability to concentrate on highbrow programming is lamentable. I wish I could say I watch BBC4 on a regular basis. No, nowadays I even lose interest in the news after the headlines. I choose programmes with a nice sequentially unfolding storyline, upbeat soundtrack, and subtitles reminding me of each character’s name and location of the scene. Something like Made in Chelsea or Towie. I also can’t watch in real time, I have to record everything so I can forward past the ads and dull bits. I went to an opera recently and found myself wishing for my remote. 

5. Accelerated ageing. Grey hairs, sallow skin, aching limbs. Partially offset by reduced alcohol consumption and lack of sun damage from foreign holidays.

*Dark-shadow concealer of the gods

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§ 2 Responses to Sleep deprivation: the results

  • Charlotte says:

    Totally with you on #4 – met up with an old colleague recently, talking about Libya… conversation ended with him saying ‘Charlotte, don’t you know anything that isn’t the subject of a musical number on Cbeebies?!’

  • Older mum says:

    Really funny post. Loved points 4 and 5. AND fair play to him Will Young is still going! I am so with you … I used to watch ‘interesting’ programmes but now find my self contendedly confined to reality fodder and easy plots. If not I am just watching reruns of HBO stuff – lost count how many times I have rewatched True Blood …. And I’ve started getting pains and twinges in my left bum cheek …. gotta love getting older.

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