Tuesday, January 18

I thought I knew what sleep deprivation was

  • Hanne Sigbjørnsen

    Drawing male

When the doctors gave us the message, I had to realize that the feeling of “rest” was a bygone chapter.

This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.

When I was 18, I was at a russefest – a parking lot full of amber dritings youth. I fell asleep in the Russian car, a red-painted Caravelle.

The next day I went straight to school.

As I sat in the third hour and heard the teacher monotonously describe the dissolution of the union, I thought it could not get worse than this.

When I was 22, I traveled to China on an exchange. I landed at the airport at 07 in the morning after a sleepless night and was forced straight out on sightseeing with the study group.

As I stood in the middle of the big city of Shanghai and took a selfie with a totally foreign family, I thought that at least it could not get worse than this.

When I was 24, I got my first job as a nurse in a hospital. I had never worked the night before, and after my first night shift weekend, I felt devastated inside and out.

As I sat eating lasagna leftovers for breakfast on a Monday at 4pm, I thought: This (!) Is the peak of fatigue. In fact, it could not get worse.

Then I became a mother. Then I had to once again meet my tired snout at the door and realize that I had been wrong.

Acute sleep deprivation is just a small kitty compared to the prehistoric saber tiger which is chronic sleep deprivation.

And then, two months ago, three doctors took us into a room and told us that our son has a chronic illness that requires follow-up by us parents almost around the clock.

That was when I had to realize that the feeling “rested” was a chapter in the past.

I no longer think it can not get worse. And after all, there are also benefits to not sleeping.

Now I find joy in the small moments. Like the few times I manage to say a whole sentence without to use the wrong word:

You do not know how little sleep you really need, before you “parrot refrigerator”.

check out Hanne Sigbjørnsen’s Instagram and Twitter: @tegnehanne

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