Sleep Debt Collector

October 6, 2013 § 2 Comments

While following the news of the US’ approaching debt ceiling, I didn’t consider that my own debt ceiling was right in front of me. I’ve been struggling with sleep for the past 2 weeks, usually clocking in 5-6 each night – even on the weekends. It’s not that I don’t want to sleep, it’s just that I can’t get myself to stay in bed, no matter how tired I am.

I noticed that I was approaching a more dangerous level of exhaustion on Wednesday night, when I wrote my last post, and put aside studying for our weekly physiology exams to sleep. On Thursday, while at the library at school, I noticed that my throat was getting itchy. By the end of the day, after our two weekly exams, my whole throat felt swollen and it hurt whenever I swallowed. It’s pretty common for me to get sick immediately after a stressful day/event. I think I push myself so hard beforehand, that when I finally relax, whatever cold/virus I’ve caught takes over.

Even after sleeping 9 hours Thursday night, Friday morning found me completely demolished. I was feeling dizzy and foggy headed, with constant pain around my eyes and in my throat, and even still, I pushed myself to go to biochemistry lab. I sat through our teacher’s introduction to gene therapy, followed by a group mate’s presentation on the “suicide gene” technique for cancer therapy. Then, during the break, I admitted to myself that I could stay anymore and asked my teacher for permission to leave early.

Since then? I’ve been sleeping against my will (or so it feels). As soon as I got home at 13:00 on Friday afternoon, I slept for 3 hours. Then I slept 14 hours during the night, followed by a 3 hour nap and then a 2 hour nap, and finally slept another 12 hours last night. For the first 26 hours of the weekend, I didn’t even get out of bed except to use the restroom.

I’m still in disbelief that I’ve slept 34 hours in the same time period that I usually would have slept 14. The worst part is that I still don’t feel better. I’m at least well enough to get out of bed for a short while, but other than that, all I can do is sleep (which is not like me at all!). I’m having a hard time because there is so much I had planned to do this weekend. Skjalg keeps reassuring me that out of all the weekends, this is one of the best ones to take off. I’m still not entirely convinced, but I don’t have much of a choice.

Alright, been up for half an hour now…that means back to bed for me šŸ˜¦

When in Budapest, look up – and watch your step

November 15, 2012 § 4 Comments

The biting cold has returned to Budapest. We had a solid week where it was crucial to don your winter best, but then it headed towards a more “balmy” cold. Skjalg and I are on our fourth day waking up at 5:00. Both of us have alarmĀ apps on our phones that evaluate our sleep rhythm and wake us when we are at the peak of the REM cycle. This is supposed to help us feel as rested asĀ possibleĀ when waking up, but it doesn’t always have that effect – especially when the snooze button is so conveniently located next to the dismiss button.

The sleep app for the my phone comes complete with a “CAPTCHAĀ ā€“Ā Really Awake?” feature where I can choose between a number of tasks that must be completed in order to shut off the alarm. Monday was my first day using it and I didn’t choose well. For the alarm I chose ocean waves and seagulls and the sleeping sheep option for the CAPTCHA challenge. I woke in a panic that morning with the sound of birds squawking in my ear as I tried desperately to shut it off. Apparently, you are supposed to tap the awake sheep, but the screen changes every couple of seconds to keep it challenging (and to confuse the half-awake person furiously tapping the screen).Ā Ā I’ve since changed it to peaceful music and a math problem.

Today is lecture day, but with our histology midterm awaiting us bright and early tomorrow morning, Skjalg and I have decided to stay in and study all day. We started off our morning with a visit to the gym. As hard as it is to get up early, I wouldn’t trade those extra hours of sleep for the feeling I have after a work out. It clears my head and reminds me that there is a whole world that exists outside of studying. Who knew?

I headed home a bit earlier than Skjalg. I’d forgotten my headphones, so I had to occupy my mind with something else, something like observing my surroundings. I looked up at one building and noticed that there were at least 40-50 holes marking the faƧade at the 3rd and 4th floor levels. I’ve been told by several people that there are many buildings still riddled with bullets from WWII and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, but haven’t seen them myself. I pondered these markings, wondering first whether they were actually bullet holes and then why they would be mainly on the 3rd and 4th floors. The buildings in Budapest carry so much history and the architecture of some of the buildings is fascinating. The down side? There is dog poop everywhere (at least on the streets we walk on). There is one street especially where I always see at least two people walking little dogs and numerous piles of little dog poops – but I never catch them in the act! It’s a bit of a downer having to constantly navigate the poop minefield, but I guess it’s just a feature of city living. I remember being shocked at the dog poop situation in Nice, France. It was so bad there that they even had professional poop cleaners that drove around on motorcycles with a vacuum pump to suck up the poop piles. In areas where there are not a lot of parks, trees, or nature in general, I assume it’s normal – a dog’s gotta go right? But that doesn’t explain why people can’t just pick up after them. I feel bad for the shop owners who emerge each morning to scrub the sidewalks clean.

Anyways, enough of my tangent about poop, bullet holes and pretty buildings. It’s histology time!

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