I was chatting with someone today, and I wrote something that made so much sense to me...
I was thinking about how much understanding I had (ability to just know the answer without knowing formulas or even hearing the teacher out, reading anything, etc.) in the first few grades, and how it diminished later on, along with my ability to code in various programming languages, and many other things. Somehow all my ability to do these things just diminished immensely over time.
Today, when I was texting with that person, I realized that it could be due to lack of sleep. Back at school, since the very first grade, even since the kindergarden (haha!) I was at my peak performance around midnight, so I would only sleep around 1-2 at first (because I was really, really trying to fall asleep), and later on - at 3-4 (same story, sometimes laying in bed for an hour or two), which eventually turned into 4-5am. I had to wake up at 7:45 or so, and I would often fall asleep way past 5am, meaning I would get between two and three hours of sleep most of the weekdays.
None of that is upbringing, my grandparents - for example - would be tight asleep way before nine in the evening. My mom would try to sleep before ten. I just have a different circadian rhythm - my body starts secreting serotonin later than that of most people, which means that my circadian day starts later than for most people.
Now, another problem was that I only learned things that I was interested in (meaning I would learn a lot on my own, but nothing that they teach at school, or some things that they teach in 12th grade or university, and I was in third or fourth grade, or I was learning things that are up-to-date with the scientific research instead of what they would teach us at school - back from the forties or sixties.
So my problem was that I just had no interest in most things that they taught at school, and those things that I did have any interest in - I either already knew, they were taught in a way that was unacceptable to me (I find the teaching methods to be extremely inefficient, and inefficiency in learning annoys me - I'm very fast-paced at getting things done), or the information was simply outdated, which - when I realized - lead me to being unable to trust what the teachers told us.
How Kids Prepare for Tests
Back at school I used to just read things over and over before the test. I would remember some things, others - I would not due to lack of sleep, very poor diet, and because I was simply not interested in the things I had to remember to get a good grade. I never cared for grades, I always thought it's stupid to learn things that you have no interest in (hence things that are useless for me).
Later I saw a video from TED (very good website - you should watch a lot of those videos... I love it) that was about how kids these days prepare for tests at school. Apparently a lot of kids do the same thing, except they do not have the thinking that I do, which means that they give a lot more time than an hour or so to prepare for the tests. But after the test - they barely remember anything at all! That's because they study for the test, not to have the knowledge (most of it is outdated or useless anyway).
So if you think about that, the school system is absolutely broken and rather useless, it's a waste of at least twelve years of your life. Not to mention that a lot of schools try to indoctrinate various belief systems into their students, and I don't know about you, but someone telling me how to think or what to feel - or worse of all, manipulate me into that - that's the worst thing anybody can do to me.
How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Health Long-Term
Along with everything that I mentioned above, I always had a problem - ever since I was very young - with waking up early and going to sleep early. And it's not my upbringing. It's my genetics.
Lack of sleep during developmental years - when you are growing up - disrupts your brain development. Not only that, but it also disrupts the way you interact with your environment. Meaning that it's harder to concentrate, form memories, access memories, physically interact with your environment, and even severely increases the chance of obesity! I'm a really thin and fit guy though, so somehow that didn't affect me (must be genes), but the rest - I can definitely attest that I had trouble forming memories, I became more clumsy, and I stopped "just knowing the answer". Which basically means that I felt a lot less smart than I was before, which affected my self-esteem a lot. I identify as a smart guy with insane memory, and if I do not feel that - I feel bad.
Lack of sleep - and especially chronic sleep deprivation - also leads to depression, hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness, eating disorders (I feel like eating all the time when I am sleep deprived, for example; luckily it doesn't show, haha), anxiety, substance abuse, it increases your chance for heart disease, diabetes, it severely weakens your immunity system, affects your balance, sex drive, makes you irritable, paranoid, affects your digestive system (and pretty much every other process in your body negatively), your body clears less toxins out of your body (even those associated with Alzheimer's, disrupts your creativity and ability to think and reason, severely shortens your lifespan -- I could go on and on... If you don't believe me, all you have to do is Google "sleep deprivation" or "chronic lack of sleep" or something along the lines of that.
And while I would suggest you getting your sleep, I also suggest you following your natural genetic circadian rhythm no matter what. So if you are like me, and you follow this advice, you are basically fucked... Unless you somehow manage to get out of this society, which is a really, really hard task.
Bottom line is - this society is broken for people like me - there isn't many, but a few percent of the population should be enough for the society to be able to account for such people. It angers me that I have to be a part of a society that does not accept it.
My experience in being chronically sleep-deprived
I can tell you that I have experienced a lot of these symptoms. For example, by the end of the week I could feel heart palpitations, I wasn't able to concentrate, I would sometimes even forget what I was about to say, my memory formation was impacted, I wanted to eat all the time, I was increasingly more irritable and impatient, my immunity was shot (even though I have really good immunity - must be genes, again), sometimes I would feel paranoid and anxious, and I would simply just feel heaviness in my body... I mean, I was basically unable to operate properly, and eventually I adapted to work around a lot of these things, but it still did not change the fact that these symptoms were there.
The only thing that I did like about lack of sleep was when by the end of the week I was able to lucid dream, or hallucinate in m mind. It was like taking psychedelics, so eventually I just waited for those days and embraced it by daydreaming for insane amounts of time. And sometimes I even miss that... But I know it's not good for me and I do not do it on purpose, because you either have to be awake for over forty hours or stay really sleep deprived for four or five days.
That's my experience. What's yours? I would love to read about your experience in the comments - please share if you wish!