Last year I remember seeing a study that claimed “tired driving” is as dangerous as “drunk driving.” While I certainly didn’t set out to provide another data point for their research, yesterday I helped prove that exhaustion does lead to impaired judgment.
Monday night I went to bed at 11pm, had insomnia and woke up at 2:30am. And never fell back asleep.
Right? You did that math, didn’t you? 3.5 hours of sleep.
Unlike (seemingly) most of the adult population, I do not have children, am not retired and am not in college, so I’m not sure what to do with a night that nets fewer than six hours of sleep.
If you must know, I ended up accepting defeat, grabbing my laptop and plowing through a pile of work from 4-8am. (I’m sure a lot of DC government workers would’ve made the exact same decision. Right.)
But it’s kind of creepy when you realize you’ve already put in almost half of a traditional work day and few of your North American colleagues are even online yet. It’s like arriving at the zoo before they’ve released the animals from their cages. Or even built the cages.
So I was in the kitchen, serving up my second lunch when Alan started striking out blindly, trying to find the snooze button in the bedroom. I felt mildly European, as if I were in a time zone five hours ahead. Unfortunately, Alan didn’t think I sounded even a petit peu French when I tried to greet him with an accent. He was mainly confused. Sigh.
It’s difficult being a morning person. No one gets me.
Anyway, as the day progressed, the “edge” I’d felt by starting my über-early quickly faded. By 11am, I was ready for a nap. (Unfortunately, I was booked solid and am running up against aggressive deadlines, so that urge couldn’t be indulged. Also? I think companies generally frown on mid-day napping.)
At 3pm, I fetched ice for my caffeinated soda from the stacked dryer unit in my kitchen. I was literally standing there with my hand patting around in the empty dryer, thinking, “What did I come here for?” when I remembered: ice cubes. And had to do a 180-degree turn to locate the freezer.
Then later, on my next caffeine push, I caught myself just before I almost poured Egg Beaters in my tea instead of Half & Half. In my defense – the cartons are the same size and similar colors.
So back to that study… while I didn’t get behind the wheel, from my in-home testing, I think it’s safe to confirm that exhaustion leads to poor judgment and impaired function. I mean, you tell me – have you ever gone to a party and looked for ice in a dryer?
Separately, it makes me think we’ve been a bit quick to judge Diane Sawyer, whose face is one of the most common search results when you search Google for “drunk or tired” images. I don’t know… what do you think? Is she drunk, or simply tired: