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Memories of the 28th Century

On Sleep

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
During my nearly two months in the clutches of the medical industry I developed a greater appreciation for sleep, because I missed so much.

When I was in the hospital, on a typical night I would get a few hours of sleep before I would be awoken by technicians for some medical reason, vital signs or to change an IV or something. After being woken up that way I seldom got back to sleep; although I might get another hour or two of sleep then or during the day. But I needed sleep. The body does its repair work during sleep, when there arenít motion or anything getting in the way.

It was bad enough at Baystate Medical Center, where my treatment included IV's that went on for hours and interrupted sleep. Have you ever had an IV or other medical equipment give an alarm when you tried to roll over in your sleep? In addition, technicians were coming in at all hours to checks my vital signs or to do something else, not to mentioned the constant coming and going of other people and things. There also were mysterious noises, and for a few days the noises were from inside me, because I had a lung infection. There were some nights when I managed to get two hours before an alarm on an IV went off, or something ended.

But at Baystate there were good reasons for the interruptions. When I went to rehab it became worse, because I got a roommate with dementia. That person managed to sleep or a few hours before he woke up and tried to escape and complained loud enough to wake me up. I would inform the staff and leave the room for long enough for them to get him under control. It was fortunate that that place threw me out before I was ready. That led to me getting a couple of decent night's sleep before I had a complication that got me back to Baystate.

Returning to Baystate did result in me getting medical treatment, but I missed more sleep, and that ended after a week and a half. At that point I went to a place for rehab, Buckley Medical Center. They have many very nice employees, and the food is fairly good, but I got a roommate who liked watching Red Sox games, even when they were on the West Coast and started at 10 PM and ended at 2:30 AM. Thus I became more sleep deprived. And the staff woke him up to clean him, change him and change his bed about 4 AM. I usually got two or three hours of sleep before something woke me up, but that was usually all the sleep I got.

Everyone has different amounts of sleep that are necessary. I donít know how many hours I need, but it is more than three hours a night.

For most of two months I became more and more sleep deprived. I am not an expert on sleep deprivation, but from experience I know that it is different from just being tired. One's ability to concentrate is hurt, and being sleep deprived while recovering from any disease or injury slows recovery, because the subconscious mind directs repair during sleep, and that sometimes includes mental or emotional ills.

New information is sometimes fed to the conscious mind by the subconscious during sleep. The unconscious mind usually its communication with the conscious mind during sleep, but there are small flashes that can show up almost anytime, and the unconscious mind, as the operating system for the body, directs repair operations. Therefore, obstructing the unconscious from unfettered access to mind and body impedes its ability to make repairs or improvements that might be needed.


  1. PeterL's Avatar
    And I just found this article, which may explain why I still want my sleep back.
  2. MANICHAEAN's Avatar
    Dear Peter

    If I might be simplistic, one is either a day person, or a night person.

    I am the former, my wife the latter.

    10 pm and I'm finished, but have no problem getting up at 3 am.

    In my earlier years I was obliged at one stage to become a security guard, patrolling a brewery near Heathrow Airport. 12 hour shifts / 3 days day shift / 1 day off / 3 days night shift.

    The night shift nearly killed me. I was like a zombie, fell into bed, fell out of bed. Eating and a social life was secondary.

    The only long term benefit was it taught me how to sleep anywhere, being so tired. I could sleep in a chair, on the table, on a piece of cardboard on a concrete floor.

    Thus later in life when my circumstances had vastly improved I was called upon to undertake long plane journeys ( 12-15 hours). Some of my colleagues complained of not being able to sleep on a flight. Me, no problem, remembering my earlier conditioning.

    Mind you, after a couple of glasses of champaigne, a good meal, accompanied by red wine and finished off with a good French brandy "vieux et superiour" anyone could sleep 8 hours at 40,000 feet!!
  3. PeterL's Avatar
    Yes. being able to sleep anywhere is a very useful skill, and I learned that decades ago, but didn't include learning how to tolerate loud television at 4 AM or an equipment alarm going off, because I tried to roll over or being stuck in the arm for a blood sample.

    I usually fall asleep when hurricanes are going through, because they had pressures as low as 28 inches. Being to able to lower atmospheric pressure would be useful, because it tends to lower blood pressure, which leads to sleep. I don't remember what airliner cabins are pressurize to, but it is lower than normal low altitude pressure.
    Updated 05-17-2018 at 02:28 PM by PeterL
  4. kiz_paws's Avatar
    Wow, what an ordeal you had...
    And they make jokes about "Wake up, sir, it is time for your sleeping pill" -- getting rest in a hospital sounds like an impossibility!
    Glad that you are home now, and you can catch up on that badly needed rest.
  5. PeterL's Avatar
    I didn't take sleeping pills, but they may be necessary for deep sleep in a hospital. But havinga patient knocked out with drugs would be inconvenient, because such patients couldn't roll over to make it more convenient for the nurse to take blood, or do whatever.

    Since then I have usually gotten adequate sleep.