The Sleep Equation

I was never any good at maths or science, but my parents used to tell me that I would need them in real life one day, despite my protestations to the contrary. And there are occasions when they’ve been right, but for the most part, I’ve done well and avoided it.

Then the other night I realised that they do worm their way into my life after all. Especially when it comes to sleep in our house!

Bunny and Bear sleeping

First of all, there are a number of variables that can combine or work alone to impact on the final result:

  • Variable x is Bunny who frequently has nightmares that disturb her and us.
  • Variable y is Bear who still doesn’t sleep through the night despite being just 2 months away from turning 3 now!
  • Variable w is the cat who insists on sleeping all day and then spending most of the night miaowing loudly outside our bedroom doors.
  • And finally (at least most nights) is Variable z, the dog who will usually sleep through the night, but occasionally wakes in the middle, gets disturbed by the cat or wakes super-early.

Bunny sleeping

As I go to bed each night, I estimate the maximum amount of sleep I’m likely to get without these variables. So for example, if I go to bed at 22.30 and my alarm goes off at 6.30, I could potentially sleep for 8 hours. For the past 5 years though, at least one variable has impacted on this scenario and as of last night, it became clear that each independent variable can combine to ensure that the final result is a tiny fraction of that 8 hour nirvana.

bear sleeping

For example, last night may have looked a little like this:


Ok, that may not actually be how equations are written and work, but it did strike me during the night that like an equation or some convoluted science experiment, my lack of sleep is directly influenced by these interdependent variables that combine in some hideous Frankenstein-esque parody that ensures I spend my entire life fighting the walking dead effect.

And like any science experiment, the middle of it is frustrating and dull and quite often the final result is usually disappointing. And if this is how Maths and Science come into my real life, then they can jolly well go back to the text books they came from and leave my life alone. And let me sleep!