Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sleep Deprivation and Genealogy

Oh, it feels so good to sleep and the more we age the more important that shut-eye time is to us. As genealogists we often get involved in a research project and when we are on a roll of success in our work it is very hard to stop. This might mean that we end up working almost through the night until we come to a point where we can take a break without losing the momentum in the search. A late night person who is semi-retired can usually sleep in as needed, but others have obligations in the morning that require them to be alert and functioning adults.

Recently Paula Stuart Warren posted about the many projects she was working on and was falling behind. How many projects are sitting on your computer or desktop waiting for your attention? After clearing my desktop recently my husband was rather shocked, and even more shocked when he walked by again and it was quickly gaining piles of paper. Working in genealogy tends to create these piles as one focuses on various projects. Order to the projects at hand requires that some sort of trail to the work be maintained, so that when one needs to take a break one can return and quickly pick up where they left off.

Aging also places some challenges on the genealogy researcher. We tend to slow down, probably require more sleep, take longer to recover from illnesses, our eye sight might dim, and our brains tend to become cloudy when we focus on one thing too long. One of the best cures for these ailments is to take fresh air walks. Then we need to be sure to eat to refresh our energy levels and have small snacks when we can't seem to unglue ourselves from the computer. It also helps to alter between computer and reading materials to give our eyes a chance to refocus.

Due to my recent illness when sleep was in short spurts it became important to work between the spurts. Doing genealogy work is a great way to exhaust oneself in order to gain the deep sleep that is crucial to recharging our bodies. Working until you find a good stopping point, getting some sleep and coming back to the project with fresh perspective is so beneficial. The key is finding the good stopping point and each of us have to judge where that is. Do you have ways to control your sleep deprivation?

1 comment:

  1. The "healing powers" of genealogy ... who'da thunk? I'm totally using that argument next time I'm sick (though I might leave out that part about a "stopping point")