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Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2; Episode 8 | I Have A Need. A Need For Caffeine.

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

Season 2; Episode 8 features a discussion about insomnia and the impact of caffeine on sleep.

*This episode contains resources from Healthline (healthline.com) and sleepeducation.org.

Episode Transcript

Are you ready to wake up? You are Now Entering Dreamland.

Hi everyone!

Welcome to Now Entering Dreamland, a podcast about dreams, sleep and everything in between. Welcome back to those of you who have been to Dreamland before, we’re happy to have you back and welcome to those of you joining us in Dreamland for the first time.

It’s time for a new episode of Dreamland, and I am departing from my usual content to discuss something I have thought about for a while: how does caffeine impact sleep?

For those of you who have listened to this podcast for a while, you probably have heard me mention my long list of sleep issues. One of those issues is my periodic insomnia, an inability to fall and stay asleep.

So, some background. I have struggled with periodic bouts of insomnia since childhood (or teenage-hood… if that is even a thing). There were times when I was stressed about taking a test or an essay and I just wouldn’t sleep. I just laid in bed, anxious.

I pulled all-nighters in college. But I think a lot of people do that.

And ever since then, there are sometimes nights that I don’t sleep.

But last year, after COVID quarantining began, my sleep just got really out of whack. I began staying up days at a time. After a night of not sleeping, I would chug an energy drink, I don’t like coffee, in the early morning. Then I would drink another caffeinated beverage in the afternoon around lunch. If I had a virtual class or a Zoom in the early evening, I would need another caffeinated drink around 5 pm to keep me going. And after a day full of caffeine, it was hard to go to sleep. And the cycle would repeat.

And all of this really got me thinking: what is caffeine and how does it impact sleep?

Well, I finally did some research. And before I go further, please note: I am not a doctor, sleep expert or any kind of medical professional. This is based on research I have found online. If you have questions about sleep and/ or insomnia, consult with a medical professional.

From Sleep Education at sleepeducation.org: “Caffeine is a natural substance that can be extracted from plants. Natural sources of caffeine include coffee beans, tea leaves and cocoa beans. It also can be produced synthetically.”

From Healthline: caffeine is a “central nervous system stimulant that affects your body in numerous ways.” “When it reaches your brain, the most noticeable effect is alertness. You’ll feel more awake and less tired, so it’s a common ingredient in medications to treat or manage drowsinessheadaches, and migraines.”

Let’s analyze your morning cup of coffee.

For years, people made fun of me for drinking energy drinks in the morning. People would say that I was drinking too much caffeine. Well, I did research, and coffee actually can have more caffeine than an energy drink. I mean, I know people drinking espressos in the morning and no one tells them “boo”. Granted, energy drinks have other ingredients in addition to caffeine. 

I have a need. A need for caffeine.

I am someone who drinks a caffeinated beverage daily. Sometimes twice a day. Is this good for me? Bad for me? This is what I have found.

According to Healthline: “Caffeine may improve mood, decrease the likelihood of depression, stimulate brain function, and protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”

And also: “Caffeine can have negative side effects in some people, including anxiety, restlessness, and trouble sleeping.”

Yeah, I have experienced the “trouble sleeping” part.

So, shouldn’t I just stop drinking caffeinated beverages?

I don’t think it’s that easy.

Did you watch Saved By The Bell? I did. I used to watch it every morning. And, as a fan, I remember a certain episode about caffeine. 

Even if you’re not a fan, you probably know this episode. It is *that* iconic.

In it, one of the main characters, Jessie, begins taking caffeine pills to keep up with everything. Her friend group is appalled at this, so she hides the pills and begins taking more and more of them. Eventually, she breaks down and begins to sing “I’m So Excited” by The Pointer Sisters. If this premise sounds a bit ridiculous to you, that’s because this episode is ridiculous.

But caffeine is a drug. And it is addictive. Caffeine withdrawals do happen and symptoms can include headaches and muscle aches. I even notice days when I don’t drink an energy drink, like on the weekends, I tend to experience a tension headache.

So, all in all, I think I’ll keep drinking my caffeinated drinks in the morning. But I’m trying a new thing: I’m trying to not drink caffeine past 3 pm. I hope I stick with it. 

And that’s it for the latest episode of Now Entering Dreamland. You can find all of the episodes on our website, nowenteringdreamland.com. 

You’re now leaving Dreamland. But we’ll see you next time.

Read the resources:

Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2; Episode 7 | Dream a Little Lucid Dream of Me

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

Season 2; Episode 7 features a discussion about a dream symbol I keep seeing in my dreams- broken bones (gross and painful). I also discuss lucid dreams and how I am trying to lucid dream.

Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2; Episode 6 | Did My Dream Cause Sleep Paralysis? (Episode 2/2)

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

Season 2; Episode 6 features a reading of one of my more recent vivid dreams that I think caused me to have sleep paralysis. This is the second part episode that details a follow-up regarding my belief of how my dreams are causing me to sleepwalk and act out my dreams.

Episode Transcript

Are you ready to wake up? You are Now Entering Dreamland.

Hi everyone! Welcome to Now Entering Dreamland. A podcast about dreams, sleep, and everything in between. Welcome back to those of you who have been to Dreamland before, we’re happy to have you back, and welcome to those of you joining us here in Dreamland for the first time.

This is a special episode of Now Entering Dreamland. For those of you new to this podcast, I release episodes on Sunday and last Sunday I released the first two-part episode of this podcast.

At the end of the last episode, I asked a question. “Is my dream causing me to have more sleep issues like sleepwalking and sleep paralysis?”

I’m not a doctor or a medical professional or even an expert in any sleep disorders. But I can answer from my own experience. Two weeks ago I had a really scary dream. And I think it caused me to have sleep paralysis.

Interested?

Well, I am.

And I guess I was because the second I was able to after my sleep paralysis wore off, I took a pen and wrote down everything I remembered about my dream. I’m trying to find some dream symbolism or some reason WHY this happened to me.

This is what I remember:

The dream happened in three distinct parts. The dream started while I was staying in an old house. In the dream, I was “me” and not another person. It seemed almost like an Air BnB situation in which I was staying in only one room of this house.

I got to know the residents of the house, who were all around mid-20s to mid-40s in age. Pretty soon after I arrived, the residents of the house all gathered in the kitchen to make dinner. And the conversation turned to how their neighbors in this community were starting to disappear.

In the “real world” if I heard something like this in a place I was staying, seemingly alone, I would leave. Probably immediately.

In “dream world” Dream Stacey seemed very intrigued by this news and not worried at all. Even more, Dream Stacey seemed to think, without any investigative knowledge, or even an eye for regular details, that I could solve this mystery.

Great idea, Dream Stacey.

The residents of this house took me to two sights around this community. The first was a boatyard with a bunch of old ships. We began sneaking around the ships. It was a grey, overcast day. And suddenly, one of the residents of the house disappeared. Everyone was shaken by this, including Dream Stacey.

At this point, the residents of the house revealed a secret. All of them could see ghosts, but all of them could see only different ghosts. And worse, they all struggled with communicating with the ghosts, so this ability was pretty useless.

The group then took me to the second sight: an old abandoned amusement park. The group showed me a broken roller coaster track. They told me to concentrate because there were ghosts on the track. I concentrated and saw dozens of ghosts sitting in old coaster cars.

As I read this dream back, I am mildly spooked. Dream Stacey was nonplussed.

Dream Stacey started walking away from the group and went into a school.

This begins Part Two of the dream.

The dream gets a little surreal at this point for me. Because while the events of the dream make little logical sense, the dream begins to take place in areas and locations I know.

Dream Stacey entered the school and walked in the ground floor level. There was a science fair taking place at the school.

The school looked exactly like my middle school, which is bad enough. I hated middle school.

Anyway, I walked around the ground floor, which was set up for the science fair with posters and displays all around. Suddenly, my Biology teacher appeared and asked me where my project for the fair was.

I suddenly felt very embarrassed. I didn’t have my project! I was so ashamed.

And then there was an abrupt change in the dream location. I was suddenly in a car on a major road near my childhood home. If this was a movie, the effect was like a “smash cut”.

Anyhow, I was in a car speeding down the road in the middle of the night towards a restaurant to get food. Several of my friends were in the car. We pulled up to a restaurant. Geographically, the restaurant we went to exists as a building, but it is a different restaurant in the “real world.”

As we get out to get food, one of my friends asked to go back home because she forgot something. We decide to leave the car and call an Uber.

We get into the Uber: myself and two of my friends including the one who requested to go back home. While we are in the car, the first friend begins to vomit profusely. The Uber driver is very angry. The last thing I remember is that a Monster Truck passes us on the highway. It causes a major backup on the road. I’m strapped into my seat with a seatbelt.

And then I wake up. And this is the weird part. Because I was strapped into a car in the dream. And when I woke up I had sleep paralysis and I couldn’t move. Just like being strapped against my seat.

I wasn’t scared. I was annoyed. I wanted to move.

It felt like hours, but what I think was only a few minutes, I managed to move my arm and then my sleep paralysis stopped.

So… did my dream cause my sleep paralysis? It seems too much of a coincidence to just happen. Did my dream of being strapped in a seatbelt cause my brain to think I was strapped in somewhere, unable to move? Did it just take a few minutes for my dream to fade and for me to get back to reality?

Can that happen?

And also, what’s up with my dream? It was so vivid. And so creepy. It felt like an episode of Are You Afraid of The Dark. Should I analyze it? Look for clues?

Maybe that’s what I’ll do on the next episode.

And I think that’s a good place to end for tonight.

That’s it for the latest episode of Now Entering Dreamland. You can stream all the episodes on our website, nowenteringdreamland.com. Subscribing to this podcast will deliver all episodes straight to your email, or you can check for yourself- we have new episodes released on Sundays.

You’re now leaving Dreamland. But we’ll see you next time.

Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2; Episode 5 | Sleep Positions & Strange Dream Logic (Part 1/2)

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

Season 2; Episode 5 features a discussion of sleep positions and how sleep positions influence dreams and sleep. It allows details a follow-up regarding how my dreams are causing me to sleepwalk and act out my dreams.

Part 1/2.

This episode contains research from Psychology Today. Read the original article here: Your Sleep Position Affects Much More Than You Think | Psychology Today

Episode Transcript:

Are you ready to wake up? You are Now Entering Dreamland.

Hi everyone! Welcome to Now Entering Dreamland, a podcast about dreams, sleep and everything in between. Welcome back to those of you who have been to dreamland before, we are happy to have you back, and welcome to all of you joining us here in Dreamland for the first time.

It’s time for a new episode. This is going to be a two-parter since we are covering A LOT of material.

At the start of Season Two of this podcast, I talked about how I believed that my dreams, more specifically, my nightmares, were causing me to sleepwalk. I have a really big update about these dreams and nightmares.

Because of this, I have been thinking a lot about what causes nightmares. I’ve talked about this in previous episodes, and scientists and doctors are not sure of the exact reason, or reasons, people dream. But I went one step further- what physically causes the type or types of dreams we have? Is this in any way dictated by the environment we sleep in or the type of sleeping position we favor?

I did some research, and the wonderful people at Psychology Today had a really interesting article on this subject. I will link this article here. There is one passage I like in particular:

And what about dreams? Research suggests a correlation between sleep position and dream type. If you sleep on your side and experience disturbing dreams, you might want to consider switching sides? Right-side sleepers may experience fewer nightmares than left-side sleepers. Back sleepers also may be more likely to have nightmares—and research indicates they may also have a harder time recalling their dreams. Stomach sleepers, according to studies, experience dreams that are more vivid, intense, and sexual. They’re also more likely to have dreams in which they’re immobilized or restrained. 

I try to sleep on my right side, I have mentioned I think it is lucky, but I often move in my sleep and wake up on my back. Could this be a reason I have nightmares? Yes… apparently.

This is a great segue to an update on my nightmares and my sleepwalking and the correlation between the two. As I often say on this podcast, I am not a doctor or medical professional, or scientist. This is just what I noticed about my sleep and dreams.

Right at the top: Am I still sleepwalking more than usual? Yes.

Do I think my dreams are causing this? Yes.

My dream has morphed from the one I reported in an earlier episode.

The dream now takes place in a theater. This is interesting to me because I used to spend a lot of time in theaters as a child and young adult. I enjoyed plays and musical theater and went to theater camp. When I was in middle school and high school I performed a lot of theater. That continued into college when I also began doing improv and standup. All of this to say that I have spent many hours in theaters throughout my life and I often think of theaters as a “happy” place, though I hate that phrase, and I place I feel very comfortable. 

But this is where the dream becomes weird. Because in my dreams, it seems like everyone in this theater is upset. The actors are upset and nervous. The techies are angry at the experts. The stagehands are mad at the director. The audience seems upset at everyone. Audience members are leaving the theater. I am unsure of my role in this production, but I am in the back of the theater, and I decide to leave. 

I leave and I am in a downtown area. This is not a downtown area I know from real life, but I do know this area from a “dream logic” standpoint. I know it because I have dreamed about it before.

I walk to a bar. Again, not a bar I know in real life. The bar kind of looks like a bar I used to go to with my friends in DC in the time before COVID. But inside, the bar looks very different from the one I know in DC.

The last time I had this dream, I went into the bar and I was upset because my “normal” bartender wasn’t there. It was another person. And this person told me that they couldn’t make a gin and tonic. That upset me. And that was the last part of the dream I remember.

I woke up in my living room, near my couch. No longer in bed. SO maybe when I physically walked to the bar in my dream, I walked to my living room in “real life”?

But one thing stays with me. And that is that my dreams are getting vivid. And maybe, that is why I am sleepwalking because of them. And if that is the case, can they cause other sleep states or sleep issues?

Well, that’s a loaded question. Because I have an answer. An answer particular to me. A dream caused me to have sleep paralysis. I was trapped in a dream. And I will tell you more about it in the next episode.

That’s it for this episode of Now Entering Dreamland. You can find all episodes and additional information on nowenteringdreamland.com. New episodes are released on Sundays, and you can get the latest episodes in your inbox by hitting that subscribe button.

You’re now leaving Dreamland. But we’ll see you next time.

Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2 SPECIAL | Dream Deep Dive

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

The Season 2 Special features a snippet of the interview with comedians Rosie Grant and James Jelin about stress dreams and nightmares.

#Podcast#Nightmare#DreamInterpretation

Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2; Episode 4 | Nightmare Fuel and Haunted Places

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

Season 2; Episode 4 features an interview with comedians Rosie Grant and James Jelin about stress dreams and nightmares. We also discuss haunted objects (like Robert the Doll), urban exploring, and the 90s.

Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2; Episode 3 | What’s It Like To Get Good Sleep?

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

Season 2; Episode 3 features an interview with comedian Katie Watkins about sleep paralysis, sleep walking and sleep apnea.

Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2; Episode 2 | What Is Sleep Apnea & Acting Out My Dreams

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland. 

In this episode I detail the symptoms of and read about sleep apnea*. I also give an update about my vivid dreams. Apparently I am acting out my dreams now. (fun!)

*Resources from Mayo Clinic and WebMD.

Read the article from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631

Read the article from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea

Episode Transcript

Are you ready to wake up? You are Now Entering Dreamland.

Hi everyone! Welcome to Now Entering Dreamland: a podcast about dreams, sleep, and everything in between. Welcome back to those of you who have been to Dreamland before, we are happy to have you back. Welcome to those of you joining us in Dreamland for the first time.

It’s a Sunday, which is one of my favorite days of the week because I get to release a new episode of my podcast Now Entering Dreamland.

In this episode, I am going to talk about sleep apnea and also give an update about my vivid dreams and sleepwalking.

I realized the other day that in more than 20 podcast episodes I have never even mentioned sleep apnea. I don’t have sleep apnea, but it made me feel irresponsible that in a podcast about dreams and sleep I haven’t even mentioned it once. Please note: I am not a doctor or medical professional. I read and researched a lot of articles for this episode, particularly from Mayo Clinic and WebMD.

If you are like me, you have probably heard of sleep apnea but may not know anything about it. Here is what I’ve learned.

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing during their sleep. This can occur sometimes hundreds of times during one night.

If you have sleep apnea, you may not be getting enough oxygen. You may also not get enough sleep, because your body stops breathing whenever you begin to fall into a deeper sleep.

There are two types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children.

Symptoms: Snoring; Fatigue; Somnolence

If you are like me, you don’t know what somnolence means. So I defined it for you. Somnolence (drowsiness) is a state of the strong desire for sleep or sleeping for unusually long periods. It has distinct meanings and causes.

If you experience these symptoms, it might be time to talk to a medical professional and/ or doctor.

I also wanted to provide an update about my vivid dreams.

In the last episode, I reported that I have been having vivid dreams lately that are causing me or prompting me to sleepwalk.

I did something similar again last night. Because I am me, I immediately woke up and thought: “This would be great content for my podcast.” So I wrote down the dream content in my notebook. That was a good idea, too, because I quickly forgot about a lot of it.

The dream started where I was with my friend Ryan (he was on a previous podcast episode) in a shopping center. The shopping center looked familiar to me- I have had dreams about it before.

In the shopping center, there is a liquor store at the end, a toy store in the middle, and a department store at the other end.

I was walking with Ryan when he turned to me and said “You know where he is.” Awake Stacey has no clue who “he” is, but Dream Stacey seemed to know exactly what Ryan meant.

I walked away from the shopping center, down a hill. On the path from this hill is a cave structure. The cave has two entrances, one higher up than the other. I entered the cave through the higher-up entrance and walked through the cave. No one was in the cave. I exited the cave through the lower entrance/ exit. I was still on the path, just further on the hill.

In this dream, I “woke up” and I guess I thought I was really awake. But in my dream, I was in my childhood bedroom. My mouth hurt me. I went to the bathroom, and I saw my teeth on the left, upper side of my mouth were falling out of my mouth. I clutched my mouth. Then, out of curiosity, I lowered my hand and looked again. Another tooth fell out of my mouth. Then I clutched my mouth again.

That was when I woke up: for real. And my hand was still grabbing at the side of my face/ mouth. I was scared to look at myself. Of course, everything was normal. Except I had a red mark on my face. I must have really been grabbing my face.

So… this is still weird, right? I seem to be acting out parts of my dreams. I just want to know why, after 29 years, my body is doing this.

I also know that nightmares about teeth falling out are really common. I know this because I researched it for this podcast. These dreams symbolize feeling out of control in your life. Which doesn’t make sense to me because I feel in control. I think.

Have you had weird dreams lately? Let me know in the comments.

That’s it for this episode.

As always, I am planning to post new episodes on Sundays. Looking forward to continuing exploring dreams and sleep on this podcast.

You’re now leaving Dreamland. But we’ll see you next time.

Now Entering Dreamland, Season 2; Episode 1 (Season 2 Begins) | Is My Dream Causing Me To Sleepwalk?

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

Season 2 begins! This episode we discuss a dream/ nightmare that has been causing me to sleepwalk.

Episode Transcript

Are you ready to wake up? You are Now Entering Dreamland.

Hi everyone! Welcome to Now Entering Dreamland: a podcast about dreams, sleep and everything in between. Welcome back to those of you who have been to Dreamland before, we are happy to have you back. Welcome to those of you joining us in Dreamland for the first time.

We have made it: this is the start of Season 2 of Now Entering Dreamland. I am glad to have made it this far with this podcast, that stemmed from a passion project about talking about dreams and sleep.

I had several ideas about how I wanted to start Season 2 of the podcast. I knew I wanted to continue interviewing people about their dreams. I wanted to continue having interesting conversations. And I wanted to continue diving into sleep and dream questions: like, what is the deal with dream analysis? Is this a real science?

Well, we will continue to look at all of those topics, and more, this season.

But we are starting this season a little differently. Because for the past two weeks, I have had a repeating dream. And the dream is… making me sleepwalk?

Let me explain.

I am calling this dream The Dream of Three Rooms. I’ve had it four times.

The dream starts where I am in a spacious room. Even though I know the room is spacious, I can sense it, it is cramped as well. There are a lot of people in the room. Faces are a blur.

The mood is lighthearted. I wander through the room with some difficulty, opening drawers, taking out objects. I am looking for something. At one point I leave the main party and walk down a hallway, feeling inspired. I know what I am going to find!

Well, because this is my mind at work- of course, I don’t get what I want.

I open a door and I am in a second room: a classroom. So this is not only a new room but a new space entirely. I am sitting at a desk like I am a student. There is a test in front of me, and I feel immediate panic. I am not prepared. I am staring at the paper and it is full of rows of mathematical equations. The panic turns to dread. I feel like I might cry.

And then I hear a voice behind me. The voice says: “Don’t cry. You’re wrong.”

I bolt up from the desk, and I walk to the classroom door and I open it. I open the door because I am afraid to turn around and see who is speaking to me.

And when I open the door I am in a new space. This is the third “room” and it is a glamorous hotel hallway, with plush red carpet and gold trim. At the end of the hallway is a slightly open room door, and very gold light can be seen inside. And at this point, I am scared. I feel like something, or someone, is behind me and I don’t want that person or thing to reach me. So I start to run towards the open door. But I can’t make it. Because every time I almost reach the door, I am jerked backward.

I never see the person or thing pulling me backward. I always wake up with a sudden jolt. And that is when things become weird (or weirder because things are already pretty weird with this) because every single time I wake up, I am standing upright and I am in my kitchen. This means that at some point during this dream, perhaps even the time of the dream when I am running, I am sleepwalking out of my room, down my hallway, and into my kitchen.

This is all strange to me. I have a lot of vivid dreams. And I sleepwalk a lot. But I don’t typically do the two things at once. When I was a kid, I remember having dreams in which I was stuck on a rotating circle. And occasionally after those dreams, I would have rotated in bed, so that my pillow would be opposite where I started sleeping at the beginning of the night. But that happened years ago.

And the dream component about school is odd, too. I haven’t been in formal education/ schooling in more than six years. So I am not sure why, now, I would start dreaming up test anxiety.

Does this mean anything? Do any dream experts want to try to analyze this for me?

For the start of Season 2 of Now Entering Dreamland, I wanted to start by talking about this dream. Hopefully, I can find some answers and report back by the end of this season.

As always, I am planning to post new episodes on Sundays. Looking forward to continuing exploring dreams and sleep on this podcast.

You’re now leaving Dreamland. But we’ll see you next time.

Now Entering Dreamland, Episode 22 | Lower Your (Sleep) Debt

Now Entering Dreamland is a podcast that centers around dreams, sleep and everything in between. Sit back and relax- you’re now entering Dreamland.

Episode 22 features information and tips for dealing with your sleep deficit, also known as a sleep debt. Some people have sleep deficits when they don’t get enough sleep over an extended period of time.

Some of the information gathered in this episode was compiled from Healthline.

The link to the Healthline article with additional resources is included here: https://www.healthline.com/health/dr/sleep-deprivation/sleep-debt