In a New York Times blog entry titled “Requiem for a Nice Person” a broadcast writer vents about how a decade long fight with insomnia has made her constantly irritable and unsocial.
On her worst weeks, Lindsey Anderson only gets a total of about 12-15 hours of sleep.
Here’s how she describes those episodes:
“It’s like I am piggy-backing a dwarf around all day — a heavy dwarf. It also feels like I’m sick. Not stay in bed sick, but head achy, dry eyes, stiff and generally miserable. Some days I could literally “go toddler” — plop myself down wherever I am and cry my eyes out. I don’t want to do anything when I’m sleep deprived.”
Much of the entry is about her relationships with her friends and peers, and how she went from being “friendly” to “just nuts.” The blogger describes says she can be cynical, sarcastic and sometimes flat-out rude when she doesn’t sleep.
Past studies have shown extreme sleep deprivation worsens mood and the ability to perform tasks. Another more recent study theorizes why sleep deprivation impairs social ability.
If your insomnia is interfering with your ability to function during the day, has lasted at least three weeks, and is not improving you should seek treatment at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.