You know what sleep deprivation is like. But this time, it’s voluntary
Do you remember being a child and playing your games until one of your parents or a guardian told you to quit it? There were times we fought them and fought off the tired and the sleepiness for a few more minutes (even seconds) of gameplay. Now that we’re older, we don’t have to explain or debate the hours we spend in front of our screens—and we’ve pushed ourselves to sleep deprivation in making the most of this freedom.
Our art director was one of those people. As a child, she would sneak out of her room at 2 in the morning to play with her Gameboy. By the time she was working, her weekends—her entire weekends—were spent on her PlayStations.
She challenged herself to play for 12 hours straight and confidently thought she could do it. After all, she once upon a time would “boast playing for 24 hours.”
First, let’s learn a little something about our challenger and her environment. Alexandra Lara is 29 years old and has been an avid gamer for years. She’s our go-to for news in the worlds of video game and anime, and I honestly thought she would complete this challenge with no issues whatsoever. But I was wrong.
Alex started the challenge at 7PM on a Saturday evening. She picked her game, prepared her snacks and isolated herself from her family to give herself the full experience. But alas, she spent an entire hour just trying to get The Witcher to work. And when that proved itself futile, she went on to her Nintendo Switch—another failure. In the end, she ended up playing Mass Effect Andromeda instead.
Let’s talk about the game; the choice was something she gave real thought to. Alex couldn’t pick something she had already played and knew the outcome of. As she says, “I wanted to be caught off guard so I wouldn’t notice time passing.” Makes sense, right?
Things started to get difficult some seven hours into game play. Her body just wasn’t holding up like she expected it to and her eyes were closing without her say. She wasn’t bored of the game—far from it—but the mind can only control so much of what our bodies can do.
Reminiscing her younger years, Alex says that she just had to accept she isn’t capable of what she once was. She can put the blame on a hectic work week, sure. But she also admits that it’s her diet (of oily food and little-to-no vegetable intake) and exercise habits (read: non-existent) that made it difficult to stay awake and keep on going.
If it wasn’t obvious enough, Alex failed to play for 12-hours straight. She hit 10 hours (if you count those 60 minutes she spent preparing), but we also have to consider that she woke up at 10 in the morning, too. She was awake for 20 hours—so we aren’t holding anything against her.
To be completely honest, I’m glad she went to sleep. I know what sleep deprivation can do to you and let’s just say that she’s smart for giving herself Sunday to recuperate. We’re talking lack of focus, a weaker immune system, unbalanced hormones (which in itself leads to several other things) and even an increased risk of respiratory diseases. And if it matters to you: the possibility of weight gain and acne.
If you’re not big on the self-imposed sleep deprivation but you’re still finding it hard to get some shut-eye, there are several techniques out there to try out. They range from relaxation practices to stimulation control and therapy to medication. We’re not telling you to try them all—especially without a doctor’s go signal—but we are saying there are ways to help yourself out.
Go look for it. Responsively, of course.
Art Alexandra Lara