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Sleepless Nights, Sleepless Blogging

Tony Hung asks “What’s It Like to Blog After Staying Up For Almost 42 Consecutive Hours” and then answers the question himself:

So, what’s it like blogging after being awake for almost 42 straight hours?

I guess its different for everyone.

My experience is that I ramble (look how long it took me to get to this part!). I find that its hard to put words together in a way that makes sense. There are periods that are punctuated by episodes of particular lucidness. Sometimes its followed by worry over what I’ll need to do the next day. Finding the right words can get difficult. Its like trying to grab water from a stream, only your hands feel like a sieves.

Metaphors get mixed up. Similes get smacked around. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors become sparring partners who pummel you with relentless ease. Distraction beckons with every stray thought, and overwhelming fatigue is the fuel which makes it into an overpowering force of nature. Motivation takes a back seat to every conceivable want, while logic and coherence become mere annoyances to getting your thoughts down on proverbial paper.

Oh … did I tell you that its kind of hard?

Blogging at full strength requires different parts of your brain working in harmony; I suspect blogging while extremely sleep deprived creates funny creations that don’t often make sense. Who knows what I’ll think once I wake up in a few hours and read this. Rambling drivel or interesting peek into a bloggers life?

Tony is the editor of the and blogger at his own blog, Deep Jive Interests, as well as a third year resident in Internal Medicine, married with a child. He worked a very long, never-ending shift, awake for 42 hours. Then he started blogging.

He asks his readers if they have ever tried blogging after days with little or no sleep, and many have responded.

If you have experience blogging with little or no sleep for days on end, do you have tips for Tony and others on how to get through your obligation blogging, work, or life without sleep?

I figure this is good preparation for the upcoming Blogathon 2007, 24 hours of constant blogging on July 28 for bloggers around the world raising money for their favorite charities? Will you be participating? How are you planning to stay away for 24 hours?

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  1. Posted March 21, 2007 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I find that short, quick, naps help … even for 10 minutes.
    Caffeeine works, but you’ll feel the lows after the highs
    Being interested in your work also helps a lot

    t @ dji

  2. Posted March 21, 2007 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Of course I’d be participating again. Blogging is something I know I’m good at and what I’m good at should at least have something to give back to the people.

    Sheer will power and energy snacks. That’s how I’m staying awake as always. Also as always, it’s all going to degrade into gibberish the last few hours. You can’t blog for that long and still make sense especially with posts like mine.

  3. Posted March 21, 2007 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Short naps help, and distractions help also. Last week I was up for more than 36 hours and wrote 4 important posts during that time. I distracted myself by playing games, going to watch a movie, reading a book, and also just going for a drive. I never take coffee, as for some reason, caffeine never helps me stay awake. Sprite, Mountain Dew or 7-up is refreshing and can spark new juice into your body because you drink it to give some nourishment to your body, and also because of the taste. I sometimes eat a lot also when I have been up for a long time, though I think talking about that is going a bit off-topic.

    For me, sometimes going for days without sleep or enough sleep results in talking directly about issues. I love that, though I also like avoiding it. It is nice to talk about mistakes, and it is bad to point fingers and say “This is the person who made the mistake but is covering it up by lying!”

    It can be easy for some people keep on going for 48 hours or more with small naps or even almost no nap in between. In 2005 I volunteered to help with the Hurricane victims near the East Coast and staying up for even 3 days in a row while working and sitting down for a few minutes in between felt interesting. All you need is a distraction of any kind every once a while, whether it’s doing something else, or sitting down, or even a nap. Being as productive as on regular days, or even more, is what comes up as a challenging task. Your body feels sleep, and you feel exhausted, yet you do not want to sleep. You think about things with a different perspective, and you look at things differently. For me, people have different levels of tolerance towards nap times and prolonged times without naps. Some people may feel refreshed with 10 minutes of small nap, while others may become moody and less productive if they get anything less than an hours worth of sleep time.

    One of my favorite things to do when I am up for longer durations of time, which happens almost every 2 to 3 days, is to look at all my ideas and drafts for future posts while I am dead tired. That allows me to think differently a little bit and I am almost usually able to add a lot more information or ideas into my writing.

    This shows it is a good thing we are not robots, since we can use even exhaustion and lack of sleep to view things and think differently. 🙂

  4. Posted March 21, 2007 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle…..Blogging for 42 straight hours? Woo…. are you serious?

    Please! If this is for real, stop it immediately.

    Such excessive blogging will not only lead to serious health problems, but if continued may lead to long-term disasters; may even harm the biological functioning of your body.

    Your well-wisher.

  5. Posted March 22, 2007 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Whoa! This is about blogging after being AWAKE for 42 hours, not blogging for 42 hours. Dr. Tony admitted that he “cat napped” during the 42 hour stretch for 20 minutes here and there, totally 3 hours. If he hadn’t, you would be totally right. What they do to doctors-in-training is criminal and incredibly dangerous to the patient. Why more hospitals aren’t sued over this issue amazes me in this Age of Litigation.

    The Blogathon is for 24 hours straight, a much more reasonable sleepless period.

    Okay, when I was younger it was more reasonable. Now…hmm. 😉

  6. Posted March 22, 2007 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Best solution I ever heard of is a five letter word beginning with ‘s’, yes its called sleep :rolled:

  7. Posted March 22, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Funny you mention “dangerous”, Lorelle.

    I think because of litigation, things have changed a great deal for trainees — and for the better; sadly, however its one of those things where people have to get sick, or die, before there are any changes.

    The other side of the debate, however, is that if you reduce the number of hours people can *be* on call from say 24-32h to 12h, you may have to extend the length of the training (5 years to 7 years) so people can “see” enough pathology. You tend to learn a lot after hours, actually.

    The flipside is “how much can you actually learn” when you’re that sleep deprived.

    Interesting debate. 😉


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