Since Evelyn was born, sleep has been a scarce commodity. There are really 5 things that newborns do: Sleep, Eat, Burp (and spit-up), Number 1, and Number 2. Your sleep schedule runs entirely on providing services that support those 5 functions. When a baby is crying at you anywhere from 1 – 3 hours since you serviced her last, you are not getting much sleep, continuous or not.
So, just how tired am I?
I can honestly say, I have never been so tired in my life.
Now, because I am a nerd and a consultant, I have a tech analogy to explain the situation.
My CPU Utilization Analogy
It’s like this, when you are tired from lack of sleep, generally speaking, you can still function at a steady state, usually at around 70% of ‘CPU Utilization’ and still get things done semi-effectively. While it is not the most efficient or you may hurt yourself in the process, it’s still doable. You can more or less muddle through a few days like this and then crash really hard when you get time to sleep.
For example, I was really tired from working on a project late into the night, and the next day I had an Ultimate Frisbee game. For those who know, Ultimate Frisbee is a pretty intense game, it’s not about gently throwing the disc at each other like you would at a park for a picnic. It is an intense 60 minutes of running back and forth, cutting in and out, catching and throwing, jumping and diving. All in all, just think 60 minutes of on and off anaerobic sprinting and cardio mixed in between. Anyways, near the end of the game, I was so tired that I didn’t notice a pot hole and stepped on the lip of it which resulted in a Grade 2 ankle sprain (ouch!) that had me out of commission for weeks (It still clicks to this day). If I had that missing 30%, I probably would have seen the bad terrain and avoided it. Or maybe my muscles could have tightened and protected the ankle a bit better. Either way, it just goes to show that you can still get through your day and still manage to do everything that was planned. After treating the ankle, I fell right to sleep for like 10 hours and I was good to go (minus the ankle) the next day.
In this new world view of having a kid, 70% just doesn’t cut it. You can’t hold a kid in your arms 70%. They move, squirm, and/or suddenly change direction in your arms. If you aren’t careful, they can even headbutt you in the face! You need to be 110% vigilant just to anticipate those movements or else the baby is going to be sliding down your chest. So you need to redistribute your power so that you get spurts of 110%, the downside is that there will be periods that you’ll have to run at 30% because it’s has to come from somewhere. However, if I do work or finish up the host of other things that I have to do during my 30% time (i.e. using more than 30%), I find that I can’t be more alert during the times when she is awake. I start nodding off to the song I am humming to help her calm down and sleep. Noticing this, it means that what I was doing was not sustainable. Basically, between Helen and I, we HAVE to sleep when Evelyn sleeps, or at least work out some schedule where we split up duties and we are able to alternatively get some sleep. I feel that it kinda sucks not being able to spend as much time with both Helen and Evelyn together, but I guess when it comes to being able to function, this trade-off is necessary. I made a little graph below that illustrates what I mean.
|The green line above is your normal 100% output. The yellow line is approximately where you are at when you are only getting 2-3 hours at a time. The red line is where you want to be synced with the baby’s schedule. The blue line is usually what happens. If I don’t sleep and replenish during my 30% clock cycle down times, I find that my effectiveness starts drifting down and to the point where I can’t bump it up to where the red line is anymore. With sleep, the blue line is able to replenish during the off cycles and I can be more effective during the baby’s waking hours.|
And yes, I am currently writing this on my 30% clock cycle.
So without much more further ado, good night.