On Sleep Deprivation and Death

“Mom, what would happen if you never went to sleep?”

This, I thought to myself (oh so fleetingly) would make a great topic for discussion: all those sleep deprivation studies that have been done, the importance of rest, etc. But being in the middle of two dozen things, I summed it all up with two words: “You’d die.”

“You’d die?

“Yup. Kaput. Your body would just shut off.”

And so we went our merry, mad way.

Until this weekend.

When I paid dearly for my sins.

The same child didn’t get out of bed on Saturday morning. I was in a hurry to get to class for my presentation, so didn’t check on the suspicious circumstances of this kid not being up with the sun.

At three in the afternoon, my daughter texts me that he’s still in bed. When I get home, he’s moaning something incoherent from his bed. I drop all my bags at the bottom of the stairs and go feel his head; he’s burning up. I take his temperature: 103.7 degrees.

Eeek. Three kids barfed on my floor Friday, so I’m pretty sure this is the same flu; I give him some Motrin and eventually I go to bed.

Not for long.

Within an hour or so, he’s kneeling by my bed. “Mom! Mom!”

I feel his head. He seems better. “What?”

“I can’t sleep!”

“Read a book.” I spent most of the night previous up preparing for my presentation. I am so not getting up to entertain him.

About twenty minutes later, he returns. And twenty minutes after that. And after that. I keep directing him to various activities/things to eat or drink.

Finally he says, clearly in desperation, “But MOM! I really think I’m going to die!”

I feel his head again. “You aren’t going to die. You want some more Tylenol? Does your head hurt?”

“I can’t sleep!”

(Yeah, still not catching on; I’m a little slow when it comes to childhood paranoia.)

“That’s because you slept all day,” I tell him.

“No I didn’t!” he insists. “I tried all day, but it was too bright outside.”

I try to explain to him that he doesn’t remember sleeping, but that he really did. Dad and his sister both checked.

“But what if I die?”

“Why would you die???” I ask. I’m getting irritated now.

“You said that you die if you don’t sleep!”


Yes I did.

Try explaining that away in the middle of the night.  I had to get up and back up my claims with hard and fast data from the great  Google wasteland of fairly useless information.

Oh what tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to… cut corners.


5 responses to “On Sleep Deprivation and Death

  • Alicia

    LOL! Oh, it’s funny how kids perceive things. Reminds me of the watermelon seed. XD As a kid I used to be sure I didn’t swallow any. LOL! Didn’t want one growing in my stomach. 😉

  • mlmomof3

    Sounds like you had a weekend like we did!! Boo ran a fever of the same grade.

  • ladywise

    Oh Lord help us all! Out of the mouths of babes. They do take things we say very very literally and we do tend to speak without thinking things out sometimes. I remember watching a show with Christopher when he was about seven or eight. It was on the learning channel and it was about asteroids so I’m thinking I’m doing good watching this educational show with him. For the next couple of days he was really down and depressed, extremely depressed. I asked him, “Son, what is wrong with you?” The tears began to stream down his cheeks and he said “Mom, we’re going to get hit by an asteroid and we are all going to die! What’s the use in trying to live!” I was devastated. It took a week of discussing things in great depth with him to get him out of that funk. We live and learn and learn and live. We can only try to do our best and hope for the best outcome!

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