Monday, March 24, 2014

Wake Up! It's the Zombie Apocalypse

I’ve been thinking a lot about zombies lately.

Mostly, because I feel like I’m turning into one.

I’m dealing with some health issues that are screwing up my nights. Normal people go to bed, go to sleep and wake up the next morning. My nights are more like a series of cat naps. (I hate those commercials where the woman wakes to the morning sun warming her face,  jumps up, pulls on her running shoes and dashes out the door for a five-miler. Or the coffee commercials where the guy rolls over, stretches luxuriously, smells the coffee and ends up on a deck, overlooking a misty lake, with a steaming cup of coffee in his hand. I have NEVER woken up like that…my entire life. When my alarm goes off at 5:35 a.m. my first thoughts are about semi-humane ways to kill myself. I am NOT a morning person.}

It’s my understanding that to wake refreshed (as these commercial people do) you need to have restful, restorative sleep experiences.

There are four stages of sleep. The first two are what the experts call “light sleep”…ideally you would sink deeper and deeper into Stage 3 and Stage 4 – what they call “delta” sleep. REM sleep is part of the deeper stages. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is when you dream. The deeper sleep stages are where your mind re-boots, so to speak. The body needs this reboot desperately. Without regular, restorative sleep a person experiences sleep deprivation.

So because my nights are interrupted (and believe me, that is as much an understatement as saying flesh-eating bacteria hurts), I rarely achieve my delta stage. I spend most nights in light sleep…skimming the sleep depths, rather than submerging completely. I wake easily (often with the help of my cat, who feels compelled to wander the hallway outside my bedroom at any hour, yowling like she’s being roasted over a slow fire.)

I am not rebooting.

I am sleep deprived. Severely deprived. Intensely deprived.

Experts are now telling us that chronic sleep deprivation kills off brain cells. Since my particular deprivation has been going on for almost a year, I guess I’m working on a lobotomy the hard way.

Which brings me back to zombies. I think everyone’s got it wrong. There’s no virus, no plague, no evil serum turning humans into zombies. These folks are TIRED, people. They’re so sleep deprived that their brains are dissolving. Of COURSE, they want to rip your throat out. Being tired makes everyone cranky. (You ought to see me some days at work. Say “Good morning” to me and you might lose your trachea. It may technically be “morning,” but it’s NOT “good.”)

So my advice to Andrew Lincoln (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) or Brad Pitt (“World War Z”) or anybody else dealing with staggering, corpse-like neighbors, is to get those poor guys some Ambien for heck sake. All they need is a good night’s sleep.