Am I sleep deprived?

sweet sweet crack of dawn writing.

sweet sweet crack of dawn writing.

To know me at all is to know Im a lark.

  • I never, ever set an alarm (while I am, indeed, Kramer I also believe if I dont wake up Im not meant to be up.  I always wake up.). 

Given all that—if faced with the choice between SCHVITZ or SLEEP–Id*still* probably choose reading sleep.

Ive been a lifelong bad sleeper (light sleeper. no napper.  Ive received the child I deserve.) and yet I rarely walk around Oakland feeling sleep deprived.

Im early to bed.  Early to rise.  And feel pretty damn good all day doing it.

Ive realized the times I find myself saying “Im so exhausted!” stem more from emotional exhaustion or allergies than true, to the core, sleepiness.

sleep isnt at the top of my list.

sleep isnt at the top of my list.


The other day as I labored through cardio I do not love I was distracted by The KATIE show.

The focus of the show was SLEEP (how to get more etc) & the most interesting segment offered a quick way to assess if the sleep youre getting is enough for *you.*

A swift way to evaluate if youre living a sleep deprived life based wholly on ability to LOOK and REACT.

I seized the excuse to cut short that morning’s thirty minute routine finished my workout, grabbed a ruler, & prepared to evaluate my reaction time.

Do I need more of this?!

Do I need more of this?!

Here’s the exercise:


  • Snag a plastic ruler & a partner.
  • Have partner hold ruler at top while you LOOSELY hold with thumb/index finger at bottom.
  • Ask partner to surprise you/release ruler while you attempt to GRAB with thumb/index fingers as quickly as possible.
  • Record the number “grabbed” and compare to norms below.


80 mm GOOD.

100 mm AVERAGE.

140 mm SLOW.

180 mm GO TO BED! GO TO BED!


Here’s also where I reveal Ive been afraid to do the assessment. 


I feel good. 

I dont feel sluggish.

I may be Ben(jamina) Franklin but I firmly believe it works for me.

Here’s also where I reveal Id be sad if the ruler indicated Im sleepy—because I feel pretty damn great!

As a result Im dragging you in *with* me.

Wanna grab a Tornado partner, a ruler & join me in the sleep deprivation assessment?

Pinky swear I will hit you up with my number-results in the comments below.

Let’s do this thing…


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  1. Healthy Mama says

    Oh Miz.
    I needed that Sleep Like A Toddler link today.
    I’m exhausted for certain.

  2. says

    Lol- that is the best Kramer reference- i JUST saw that one the other day! with the marathoner, omg so funny.and also THIS is so true: “…stem more from emotional exhaustion or allergies than true, to the core, sleepiness.” YES. the vast majority of the times i think im tired it has nothing to do with sleep- its because i’m stressed in some way, or of course, allergies.

  3. says

    Haha great idea! I’m also a non-alarm waker-upper – I also go to bed pretty early, kind of like 9pm everyday – no time to be wasted!

  4. says

    I saw this somewhere else but have not tried yet. I need hubby to help me & by the time he is home, I am tired! :) I am guessing sleep deprived for me. ;) Even more so since the complex is doing nonstop work for weeks & wakes me up when I should be sleeping…. I am afraid! ;)

  5. Sam says

    My dog and cat refuse to hold the ruler for me, so I will have to wait for my husband to try this. So…what’s your number? ;)

  6. Valerie says

    I’m already pretty sure I’m sleep-deprived. I’m going to do the test, though. I just have to find a yardstick first…

    I kid. Kind of.

    Does it matter at what time of day you do it? First thing in the a.m., I’m grabbing at around 200mm which is, clearly, very bad. Midday, I’d like to think I will do a little better?

  7. says

    Ok, this was fun! So did it twice with two completely opposite results–one was horrible (hello 200!!!) the other was simply 5. Hmmm…

    I do know, though, that one of the measures is that if you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, you are supposedly sleep deprived. That would be me!

  8. Miz says

    Oh :-) I like to hear that. I always get in bed head on pillow and happily read for 30 minutes and then slowly fall asleep!!

  9. says

    Awesome! I do feel that I’m both sleep deprived and also a great sleeper. Says the woman that could take a 2 hour nap at 6PM, wake up and then go back to sleep for the night at 10. But, I don’t get to do that much, hence the sleep deprivation. When my lazy family wakes up, I’ll do the test for sure (how dare my husband and daughter be people who could sleep until noon – my son and I are up EARLY – but not as early as you guys).

  10. MIZ says


    Not even average.
    Which surprises me–but I do FEEL good.
    **tosses confetti shaped like ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz**

  11. says

    I already know that I’m sleep deprived but I will definitely try this as soon as I have a partner to help (and I can dig up a ruler), not because I think I do get enough sleep but because now I want to BEAT THE RULER! Competitive streak :-)

  12. says

    I’m pretty sure I don’t need to a ruler to know that I am lacking in the sleep department. Sadly, I am on vacation, but am not allowing myself to get the needed sleep. I was JUST thinking about all of this laying in bed last night.

  13. says

    Interesting! They’re using reaction time to judge sleepiness!

    My doctor has decided I need to get a sleep study done as my obesity and high blood pressure both are indications of a possible sleep apnea. (I doubt it, but we’ll see).

    I am a notorious bad sleeper. Up way too early as a child/young adult. Insomniac (of both the can’t fall asleep and the wake up and can’t fall back to sleep variety). Sometimes even after a good night’s sleep, I feel tired.

  14. says

    i definitely don’t think i’m sleep deprived because i make sleep a priority. i am often the first to leave a night out because i want to go home and sleep. in fact i am working on being more OK with getting an hour or two less on some nights. after all what’s the worse that could happen? i feel tired the next day, so what? i will be able to catch up the next night!
    play time with hubby = essential ;)

  15. says

    I’m so curious!
    I need to try this!
    And I’m pretty darn sure I am in fact sleep deprived. Something I always seem to struggle with.

  16. says

    I totally can identify with this. I never seem to be able to get myself to sleep at night. And I do stuff like read, watch the telly and eat. In the morning, i wake up so tired.

  17. says

    I sleep like a log! Always have and even if I get up a bazillion times to use the bathroom and drink water during the night, I can go RIGHT back to sleep.

    I love early mornings, too.

  18. says

    As soon as there’s someone else in the house to do this with, i’ll try — i don’t think the cats would be too cooperative, they look sleepy to me.

  19. says

    I made my husband do this with me:
    his # 70 – not surprising since he sleeps all night every night
    my # 250 – also not surprising since I rarely sleep more than 2 hours at a time

    I think it’s pretty accurate!!!
    And fun!!!

  20. says

    That is an interesting way to check for sleep deprivation! I’d be afraid to try to because I might find out how much sleep I’m missing!

  21. says

    I wish I had a flat plastic ruler and not a measuring tape handy so I could try this. Mine would probably be the “GO TO BED!” answer. LOL!!!

  22. says

    Imagine what kind of effect slower reflexes have on driving. More and more studies show that a lot of accidents are caused by sleep deprivation.

    It’s not always in the quantity, however, but the quality. Sometimes, less sleep but of a better quality has great results. Tricks: before bed, meditate, have a warm bath, or have sex, of course. :-)

  23. says

    My internal alarm clock keeps waking me up earlier and earlier and sometimes i don’t mind. Like you, I’m up early and to bed early. There is so much peacefulness in the wee hours before the world wakes up.

  24. says

    Agh I CAN’T FIND MY RULER!! It’s in a box… somewhere. But I need to do this! I love self tests! And I know I’m sleep deprived! And I’m also a lark! (Why oh why did we not move to the same place?!)

    As soon as I find that ruler, I’ll let you know how I did. Or maybe I’ll just go to bed because just like you know you are doing well, I know I need more sleep:/

  25. says

    That test is actually marvelous. I have not heard of it but I would love to try it considering that I feel tired ALL the time. Even after a good nights rest I struggle to feel awake and alert.

  26. says

    I remember doing that ruler test in a science lesson as school, the lesson being the first one in the morning of course so everybody was shattered.

    I have mad insomnia so I never really feel awake properly, or asleep. I’ve had a few people suggest meditating so I might give it a try.


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