Sleep deprivation bad

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We had friends over this weekend from LA. We had lots of fun with them, but the logistics of their visit were a bit disruptive (I don’t at all hold this against them, but it’s a fact). They drove up Friday night, after the rush hour traffic, so they didn’t get here until almost 1 AM. We gave them our bed and the guest room bed, so we slept in the living room, where the big windows have no curtains, and we didn’t have many blankets. I fared better than Erik; I at least have a sleep mask so I could block out the light. Each night we stayed up late talking, but didn’t really sleep in the next day. All this is to say that for the past two nights, I didn’t get my usual eight or nine hours (yes: I do get more sleep than most, and I treasure it!).

My sleep deprivation has been instructive. Thanks to grad school, I’m well enough versed in all-nighters to be competently sociable and productive on little sleep. But what I noticed this time was that not getting enough sleep totally wiped out my ability to be mindful. I couldn’t stop while eating to listen to my body’s hunger signals, because there were none; I just spent three hours straight on the computer without breaks because I simply forgot to take any. I can’t be mindful because when I stop to listen, the only thing that comes to the surface is GO TO SLEEP! and all other signals are lost. When I don’t sleep enough, I eat more (I knew this already), I exercise less, my skin looks comparatively terrible, and there’s very little I can do about any of this because my sleep-deprived brain isn’t smart enough to recognize it. Lesson learned.