Change up sleep routine

It’s pretty scary to realise you prefer to sleep early and wake up early based on old tweets you have done. Then somehow you slipped up and you find yourself sleeping later.

And how much later, you might ask?

Try three hours after your supposed sleeping time. It’s well beyond midnight, mind you. Then you got to wake up early for work. What’s worse is when you go through this kind of sleep deprivation for longer than two months with no end in sight and you don’t even know why. Your mind just refuse to sleep early.

This isn’t doing me any good. The long term effect of this sleep deprivation includes making one feel very tired, depressed and lack the motivation to do anything.

It’s probably why my consistency when it comes to writing or blogging in general has fallen off the cliff. And I suspect it’s the root of my problems. Been having trouble trying to write the short stories that I have planned. All those writer blocks…

So I decided to change up my sleeping routine by turning in before 10pm starting today. And I’ve got an excuse to do that now. Need to wake up an hour earlier than usual for my military reservist training tomorrow.

Sleep debt kills your creativity and motivation

Sleep is a very important activity that all of us has to participate in. A good night sleep contributes to your overall well-being, allow you to function at your best and keep your mood stable.

However, our modern lifestyle with all the digital devices we have, all those radio waves passing through us every second, and long working hours ensured that we don’t participate in that activity fully. By that, I mean we don’t sleep the maximum hours each of us actually need.

For most of us living in a modern city and have a demanding day job means that we have to wake up early but sleep late. And that’s not to say all your wakeful hours are spent at work. But rather, there’s 101 things for us to take care of in life, ranging from having a simple dinner with family to settling the bills to getting your kids ready for bed. So by the time you actually gone to bed, it’s probably past midnight. Before you know it, your alarm clock goes off and you looked at it, you realised it’s only 5 or 6am. It’s time to wake up.

In my case, I tend to sleep only after 12am. It’s not because I want to sleep that late but rather if I turned in any earlier, I would have tossed and turned in my bed until I get very frustrated and couldn’t sleep or simply talk to myself until I do sleep. End up, I still sleep after 12am. So why do I force myself into bed so early and suffer?

So, taking into account I only enter sleep 15 to 30 minutes after I lay in bed, I typically get only 5 hours, max 6 hours, of sleep every day. That means I am one of the 62% Singaporeans who are sleep deprived because I have to wake up by 6.50am. We as a nation rank second in the world when it comes to being sleep deprived. Not a good statistic, mind you.

I’m only functioning everyday because of my caffeine intake these days. I suspect it will soon no longer work because caffeine has this diminishing return effect the longer you’re consume it. Your body simply developed a tolerance for it.

With this constant sleep debt everyday, don’t be surprise if it dampened your mood. I can feel like I’m about to lose control of my emotions again. Furthermore, it’s affecting my creativity in really subtle ways. Associations between two different ideas becomes harder to create. After all, the best ideas are usually at the intersection of different fields or topic.

Then the mind also stops picking up on subtle changes in the environment as quickly. Understanding of ideas and concepts mentioned by people during conversation and meetings also suffer in terms of speed.

And productivity is definitely out of the window.

Last but not least, the motivation to do anything isn’t there anymore. Not even with coffee. An example would be, it took me two hours just to finish coding a piece of function at work when it could have taken me half an hour or less under normal circumstances.

The good thing is at least now I saw it happening and can attempt to remedy the situation. Should always prioritise sleep over any other activity that isn’t important. There is always another time to do that activity.

Wednesday Science News Roundup #18

Since science news roundups are done every Wednesday, it is decided the heading becomes: Wednesday Science News Roundup.

Below are 10 science news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Unexpected side effect to cleaning up urban air discovered – As levels of atmospheric nitric oxide decline rapidly due to air quality regulations, North American cities may soon experience higher levels of airborne organic hydroperoxides, with unknown implications for air quality and human health. Science Daily

Direct amygdala stimulation can enhance human memory for a day – The findings are the first example of electrical brain stimulation in humans giving an event-specific boost to memory lasting until the next day, the scientists say. Science Daily

NASA Has Found A Planetary System With As Many Planets As Our Own – Thanks to a novel artificial intelligence technique in partnership with Google, NASA has discovered a planetary system that has as many planets as our own. It’s the most planets in one system we’ve ever found elsewhere. IFLScience

FDA Just Approved The First-Ever Gene Therapy For an Inherited Disease – In a historic move, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a pioneering gene therapy for a rare form of childhood blindness, the first such treatment cleared in the United States for an inherited disease. Science Alert

This Wild New Study Says Mars Didn’t Form Where We Thought It Did – Mars and Earth are widely thought to have formed into planets in the same region of the early Solar System, but if that’s the case, why are their compositions so different? A new study might have the answer. Science Alert

In The First Months Of Pregnancy Natural Killer Cells Actually Nurture The Fetus – Natural killer cells are part of the body’s defense system, ruthless destroyers of invading armies of bacteria or viruses. Yet in the first trimester of pregnancy they show another side, gentle and nurturing. Far from attacking the fetus as a foreign object, as the immune system can sometimes do, they ensure it gets the nutrients it needs to grow. The team that discovered this trait have taken the first steps to harnessing it to combat nutrient starvation of the fetus. IFLScience

Could cognitive interventions be useful in treating depression? – A new study has examined whether cognitive bias modification (CBM) for facial interpretation, a digital health intervention that changes our perception for emotional expressions from negative to positive, might be useful in treating depression. Science Daily

Lyme bacteria survive 28-day course of antibiotics months after infection – Lyme bacteria can survive a 28-day course of antibiotic treatment four months following infection by tick bite, according to a new study using a primate model for the disease. Despite testing negative for Lyme disease, some subjects were infected with Lyme bacteria in heart, brain and other organs. Science Daily

To sleep or not: Researchers explore complex genetic network behind sleep duration – Scientists have identified differences in a group of genes they say might help explain why some people need a lot more sleep — and others less — than most. The study, conducted using fruit fly populations bred to model natural variations in human sleep patterns, provides new clues to how genes for sleep duration are linked to a wide variety of biological processes. Science Daily

These weather events turned extreme thanks to human-driven climate change – For the first time, scientists have definitively linked human-caused climate change to extreme weather events. Science News

10 Science News Roundup #17

Here are 10 science news that I find very interesting. They cover topics that I care about.

Life’s building blocks observed in spacelike environment – Where do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first appeared on earth and were later combined into larger molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates. But a second possibility is that they originated in space, possibly within our solar system. A new study, published this week in the Journal of Chemical Physics, from AIP Publishing, shows that a number of small organic molecules can form in a cold, spacelike environment full of radiation. Science Daily

3-D printed microfibers could provide structure for artificially grown body parts – Much as a frame provides structural support for a house and the chassis provides strength and shape for a car, a team of engineers believes they have a way to create the structural framework for growing living tissue using an off-the-shelf 3-D printer. Science Daily

Jupiter’s massive Great Red Spot is at least 350 kilometers deep – Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has deep roots. Data from the first pass of NASA’s Juno spacecraft over the incessant storm show that its clouds stretch at least 350 kilometers down into the planet’s atmosphere. That means the storm is about as deep as the International Space Station is high above the Earth. Science News

AI eavesdrops on dolphins and discovers six unknown click types – A new computer program has an ear for dolphin chatter. Science News

Scientists Are Investigating Whether Or Not An Alien Probe Just Passed Us By – Sometimes in science, you have to chase the longshots and take a chance on something so unlikely it feels silly to invest in it, because the payoff would be so huge if it worked. This is why the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope will be spending time examining the first known interstellar visitor to the Solar System, just in case it is an alien spacecraft. IFLScience

New Nanoparticle Technology Detects Cancer Sooner – In what scientists are calling an exciting advancement in cancer technology research, a team from Rutgers University have invented a cutting-edge method to detect and track cancerous tumors sooner than existing technologies. IFLScience

This Pacific Island Appeared Only 3 Years Ago, And Could Be Doomed Already – Three years ago, the place you’re reading about now did not exist. Science Alert

Officials Say This Whale Species Could Become Extinct After a Devastating Year – US officials have warned that, unless we take immediate action, it’s highly possible that rare North Atlantic right whales could become extinct. Science Alert

How to Make It Easier to Wake Up in The Morning, According to Science – Getting a good sleep can be tough, and this can lead to feeling less than refreshed when you wake up in the morning. Science Alert

When tumors fuse with blood vessels, clumps of breast cancer cells can spread – If you want to beat them, join them. Some breast cancer tumors may follow that strategy to spread through the body. Science News