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So you want to deprive yourself of sleep in order to go shopping today?

“Black Friday” (2013) by Powhusku. CC BY-SA 2.0

The following short list (for complete source: AASM.net) reveals the many ways in which sleep deprivation can legitimately impact your behavior.

SHC tries to imagine how sleep deprivation might affect someone who is shopping at Oh-Dark-Thirty on Black Friday, a post-Thanksgiving American event in the 21st century wherein “savvy” consumers forgo a night’s rest in order to stand in line to shop in the wee hours while the rest of the world is asleep. Let’s just see how savvy you might be if you’re running on zero hours of sleep, shall we?

Irritability — You easily participate in wrestling matches over sales tables that would embarrass your four-year-old twin boys

Anxiety — You suffer panic attacks at empty shelves in the toy aisles and have to sit on the cold tile floor with your head between your knees to stop hyperventilating

Symptoms of depression — You weep when you discover you left your coupons at home–WITH your shopping list

Lack of concentration — What were you shopping for again?

Attention deficits — What were you shopping for again?

Longer reaction times — After your third shopping cart crash you just decide to play bumper cars with everyone else instead

Distractibility — You ask a clerk: “Excuse me, can you help me find the… Squirrel?”

Lack of energy — The checkout line is 20 deep and your arms can’t hold your stuff any longer, but you are too bushed to go get a cart and then you would lose your not-so-great-already spot in line, so… you plant it all in a pile on the ground and push it forward with your equally exhausted feet every 10 minutes until you finally get to the counter… and then the clerk takes a break and you have to start all over again.

Fatigue — You collapse on a bench with your receipts in hand, plastic bag handles knotted to your fingers, your wallet shoved down the front of your pants, to take “a short nap”

Restlessness — You think: “Will they EVER open more checkout stands? EVER??? Did they NOT know we were COMING??? Let’s-go-let’s-go-let’s-go-let’s-go!”

Lack of coordination — You have cell phone dropsies, then shopping list oopsies, and now you are secretly replacing the jewelry box that you fumbled and broke in aisle 9 on the shelf, hoping nobody, including the security camera staring at you right now, saw you. Then you take a perfect nonbroken one and walk away, trip, and break that one, too

Poor decisions — You wanted the TV for $199 but it’s gone, so just… just get the $399 one and be done with it! (Forget that you logically know you can still get it for $199 online and might even be able to order it by phone right there in that moment.)

Increased errors — You keep asking the clerk to recount your change and discover you are the one counting it wrong as the numbers on the bills and coins swim before your bloodshot eyes

Forgetfulness — What were you shopping for again?

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4 Comments on So you want to deprive yourself of sleep in order to go shopping today?

  1. Please don't post articles about sleep late at night. This one came in at 12:58am and caused my phone to beep. You'd think a sleep specialist would be more considerate.

  2. Please don't post articles about sleep late at night. This one came in at 12:58am and caused my phone to beep. You'd think a sleep specialist would be more considerate.

  3. Hi Wayne
    Thanks for writing. Unfortunately, SHC has readers all over the world, so the time zone differences mean that whenever I post something it will be at an inconvenient time for SOMEBODY out there. Sorry if this is a problem for you; as a sleep specialist, I frequently recommend to my patients (and now to you) to find some ways to turn off your phone at night so that texts and notifications don't wake you up. Here's some great info on that subject: http://sleepyheadcentral.blogspot.com/2014/12/sleep-and-technology-ways-to-quiet-your.html

  4. Hi Wayne
    Thanks for writing. Unfortunately, SHC has readers all over the world, so the time zone differences mean that whenever I post something it will be at an inconvenient time for SOMEBODY out there. Sorry if this is a problem for you; as a sleep specialist, I frequently recommend to my patients (and now to you) to find some ways to turn off your phone at night so that texts and notifications don't wake you up. Here's some great info on that subject: http://sleepyheadcentral.blogspot.com/2014/12/sleep-and-technology-ways-to-quiet-your.html

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