Hoot, Hoot

I

have turned my life cycle upside down. I should be sleeping with the rest of the world, but I have been grading papers for so long at night that this is a part of my day now. I will go to sleep at 4 AM, 5 AM… sometimes 8 AM, then wake up anywhere between 10:30 AM and 12 noon, depending on the day.

I am living with less sleep than I ever had, and I worry sometimes that I might be shortening my life. I read somewhere–and this might all be a bunch of bull–that everyone has a limited number of heartbeats in a life, maybe something like 2.5 billion beats? If I average 60 beats a minute, I should live to be almost 80 years old, barring any other life threatening disease or accident.

2,500,000,000 / 60 beats/min = 41.666 million minutes
41.666 million minutes / 60 min. = 694,444 hours
694,444 hours / 24 hrs. = 28,935 days
28,935 days / 365 days = 79.2 years

However, if my average heartbeat goes up, then the number of minutes I have to live go down. This logic seems to fit when regarding athletes. They are well conditioned and their heartbeats slow down to a crawl when they are not exercising, but they train hardcore and often raise their heartbeats to ridiculous levels–200 bpm is not unheard of–and they stress out their hearts. Track and field athletes who perhaps train the hardest rarely grow to ripe old ages. The same can be said for football players and marathon runners. When I think of really old athletes, I think of baseball players. Obesity is another example. The heart has to pump blood to fatty tissue as well as the normal tissues and so the heart works extra hard, and beats per minute go up. Obese people seem to die young as well.

Of course, I am not an athlete; neither am I morbidly obes–although I do admit to more fat than i should have–so I don’t really worry about this kind of stuff. But the heart beats faster when one is awake than asleep, so the less I sleep, the more my hearts pumps, raising my average to maybe 70 bpm. This could shorten my life by as much as 10 years.

Of course, this could all be a bunch of bull, as I said. And besides, there are all kinds of mitigating issues to complicate the calculation: amount of sleep and exercise at a younger age, amount of stress during the teen years, blah, blah, blah. So I could be fretting over something that I really have not control over…

But I do have control over some of it–if this theory is not all bunk. So instead of writing this entry on Xanga at 3:00 AM, I should be asleep… well, actually, I should be grading, but maybe I should not worry about it and go to sleep anyway.

Just another useless post of useless (non-)information.

O-yasumi

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