The science of fatigue and sleep deprivation is pretty straight forward. In essence, being overtired is like being drunk: you feel clever but you're really not clever. You can't learn when you're overtired, which means you can't adapt to change. You really shouldn't be making decisions or negotiating them or doing anything that demands your best thinking. You will never have your best thinking when you are sleep deprived.
I am at the beach this week because I have been too tired. I stretch. I accomplish great things. People think I'm the Energizer bunny. And I am, when I remember that even batteries need regular recharging. I am here because I have too much to do over the next few months to do it in a fog. I need my best stuff and recently it has taken formidable focus and determination just to keep the bus moving.
Are You Too Tired?
There will be times you know you are too tired. Stop. Sleep for one whole day. If possible, get outside. If outside is Canada in winter, sit by a window in the sun or watch a movie just for its beautiful setting (and take some vitamin D). Practice your own version of mindfulness, which means allowing yourself to forget the past and the future and only carry this one moment at a time.
Practice because you deserve to feel and think and do your best. Don't cheat. You know what I mean because we all do it: we get a quick hit of peace so that we can overwork again. This is better than lots of options, but it is ultimately not satisfying unless sometimes you really notice what you are feeling and decide your life will be a better life if you feel better.
What does it mean to you to be too tired to think?