Modern HST Sampler QAL and Theories of Sleep

In addition to food, water, and oxygen, the brain clearly needs sleep. If only sleep-deprivation were as compelling of a sensation as feeling famished or thirsty. We always seem to be able to put off sleep. But eating or drinking, well…

Michael J. Breus, PhD

I wonder how many of us can identify with this observation? Isn’t it frustrating that we sleep a third of our lives away? Do we really need to sleep 7-8½ hours of every twenty four? These questions exercised my mind as I attempted to stay awake for longer than usual in the hope of moving on some projects, keep up with housework and get back on track with Alyce’s Modern HST Sampler QAL. Inevitably I found myself making more mistakes and working at a slower and slower pace – basically becoming ineffective due to lack of sleep!

So, first here is my growing pile of HST whoopsies, many the result of sleep deprivation:

My growing collection of mis-cut HSTs!

And (yeah!) here are the completed third quarter blocks (numbers 13 – 18):


I’m still a couple of weeks behind with the QAL but remain happy with the pace set by Alyce; two blocks a month. Opening up the box of fabrics and inspecting the completed blocks gives me a little thrill; the citric colours, even the fabric conditioner smell that has been sealed into the box are part of the pleasure and separation from other on-going projects and deadlines. This QAL has definitely provided regular refreshment through the year and I’m pretty sure it has prevented me falling victim to ‘quilters block’ too 🙂

Back to sleep – if you see what I mean – you are welcome to nod-off over this blog post, I won’t be offended! One of our sons came home last weekend at the end of an intense five weeks of training which involved much broken sleep. I have never seen him look so tired.

Stonehenge – WOW! (And ‘wow’ to digital cameras too – I took this image through the window of our moving car!)

He slept most of the way home – luckily he was awake to see Stonehenge in the late afternoon sunshine – fell asleep on the sofa and then went to bed and slept for fourteen hours! Thankfully he looked a whole lot better by the end of the weekend – ready for another five weeks of training!

Research (see this selection of articles) does show there’s no getting away from our need for sleep. Theories of sleep suggest at least three possible areas of function:

  • “According to the repair and restoration theory of sleep, sleeping is essential for revitalizing and restoring the physiological processes that keep the body and mind healthy and properly functioning… A good night’s sleep can leave you feeling refreshed, alert and ready to face the day, but researchers have also found another important function of sleep – it helps clean toxins out of the brain. According to a study published in the journal Science, sleep causes brain cells to shrink allowing fluids to wash away and clean up toxins that have accumulated during the previous day.”
  • “Evolutionary theory, also known as the adaptive theory of sleep, suggests that periods of activity and inactivity evolved as a means of conserving energy. According to this theory, all species have adapted to sleep during periods of time when wakefulness would be the most hazardous.”
  • “The information consolidation theory of sleep is based on cognitive research and suggests that people sleep in order to process information that has been acquired during the day. In addition to processing information from the day prior, this theory also argues that sleep allows the brain to prepare for the day to come.”

Back to the quote at the top of this blog post and time to reflect on just how much harm we could be doing ourselves by not giving sleep the same importance as eating healthily and maintaining a good fluid balance. I know there are lots of valid reasons why some people do miss out on a full nights sleep but note to myself: tv channel-hopping past bedtime is NOT a valid reason and will NOT aid the flow of creative ideas and skills!

Linking with Alyce for the Modern HST Sampler QAL Q3– do hop over and take inspiration by comparing the effects different colour palettes are having on the appearance of these blocks.


4 thoughts on “Modern HST Sampler QAL and Theories of Sleep

  1. I think that long hours of work can also lead to more mistakes. Working for 8 or 9 hours in a day is doable, but going to 10+ in a day just seems to make things take longer (my observation from when I used to work as an engineer and “required overtime” being a topic). I find that personally doing one thing for about 20-30 minutes is about the most optimum and then changing to something new. That’s why I don’t necessarily always chain piece. I will to a point, then press for a while, then trim for a while just to keep changing what I am focusing on.

  2. I agree about long working hours leading to lack of concentration and possibly mistakes. Our local hospital introduced 12 hour shifts for nurses – crazy! That made my decision not to go back into the profession very easy!


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