- Anything that involves laying down. I've caught myself staring at the couch, wondering if there's something I should be looking for underneath it…because laying on the floor sounded that wonderful. Horizontalness is deadly to staying awake — which sounds obvious, but tends to sound less obvious the more tired you get. This is #1 for a reason: When overcoming Sleep Dep, put an ironclad restriction against ANYTHING that involves laying down. (Yeah, I know what you're thinking — yup, that too. Seriously. Do it standing up or go without. ;)
- Calling people you haven't called in a long time. Even if it's not four a.m., chances are that your old second-grade teacher is not prepared to hear what you have to say right now. Especially if you try to explain polyphasic sleep to her. And you were going to; admit it.
- Calling people you've never called. With the possible exception of government officials, but remember to *67 first. Even if you like making random phone calls for fun, or chatting with the psychic network in your free time, you should seriously reconsider such activities when in the throes of sleep-dep. You may think you sound perfectly rational, but you might also really scare someone and/or do something illegal.
- "Relaxing". Relaxing sounds like a fantastic idea, doesn't it? Relaxing in a warm bath, relaxing on the couch (whup, there's #1 again)…beware anything with the word "relaxing" in it.
- Sudden road-trips. You may think you're a boring homebody, but the realization that you have six hours to kill during which you'd normally be unconscious can be a heady thing. This is NOT a good time to go see the Southwest, however. When in doubt, watch bits of "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas".
- Speaking of Fear & Loathing — Drug experimentation. Hey, being up all night can be boring, and it's human nature to drown boredom in hallucinatory toxins. Unfortunately, all other reasons aside, this will almost certainly screw up your sleep schedule. A good rule of thumb with regards to substances is, "Will this make the next couple hours more fun?" –If the answer is yes, it's a bad idea.
- Anything involving fire, chemicals or heavy machinery. I really hope you didn't need me to tell you that one.
- Heavy conversations with spouses or other family. Yeah…not a good plan. Even if the issue is immediately relevant, try to put it off until you've just had a nap and/or it's daytime. Your reaction times are so ungodly slow during sleep-dep that you're likely to have swallowed all the way up to the knee before you even realize…
- Difficult-to-remove artwork. Most people won't listen to me on this one, which is why it's near the end. I don't know why, but a super-common sleep-dep urge is towards some kind of redecorating, of your house, your person, your car or whatever. This isn't harmful in itself, but please do it with the expectation that *it'll be ugly*. Trust me. Please. And DON'T get a tattoo during this time, for pete's sake.
- Last but not least, Indulging in depressing thoughts. This includes watching sad or creepy movies, reading your dead friend's diary again, or even just getting into a general funk. The nice part is, you have a blanket excuse for avoiding all such things for the next two weeks or so: You're extremely sleep-deprived. You are in no way mentally competent to be facing down the dark throat of life's slimy monsters. Also, if you do end up contemplating why you never got around to jumping off that bridge, please *please* remember that you're not exactly emotionally stable right now. Put off all major life-changing or destructive decisions for another month, and you'll thank yourself.
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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.— Dwight D. Eisenhower