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20 June, 2006

Why grumpy, not happy, when sleepy?

Why do I become irritable when I'm especially tired, rather than, say, overly sentimental or tolerant?  What is it about sleep deprivation that inspires impatience?

I know myself well enough to stay away from blogs, discussion groups, etc. at certain times (though fatigue impairs judgement, too...) in case I snap at people, but why do I react that way? Cannabis and alcohol used to make me similarly sleepy (I don't consume either nowadays), but they also induced a certain warmth towards others which 'real' tiredness doesn't.

I don't think I'm rude to people, merely curt, and not gratuituously – I respond to genuinely stupid or offensive comments or, in an editorial/admin capacity, breaches of policy/best practice. It's just that I'm 'nicer' about it when I've slept properly, and can more readily ignore issues which are, frankly, trivial.

Is it just me? I doubt it, and suspect irritability is a typical consequence of sleeplessness - but why?

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