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MJSkylar.writer// Essay


Why INFJs need more Non-REM sleep

By Marie J. Skylar


The past few days and weeks have forced me wonder why I require more sleep than most people, as well as why I am stressed, fatigued, irritable, and constantly complaining when I am low on sleep, namely 7-8 hours or less. 




Young INFJs tend to need more sleep to operate actively on a daily basis because we naturally maintain more in "working memory" than others; ;he memory that is in use during any one of our tasks.  This memory is what holds the knowledge of operating a fax machine, the number to whom we will fax the paper to, when they person needs this paper and what notes we need to put on it when we go to fax a document. 


Non-INFJs can generally be more focused in their daily activities because they naturally take on less stress or many sided views of life in their activities.  But, they can have, working memory overload at times when they are under high levels of stress.  Because we put a lot of demand on ourselves to work, learn, think, and do, our working memories can experience a heavy overload. 


For INFJs, projects are nonstop and numerous.  We generally do not have only one goal nor are we happy working toward the success of only one goal.  We ask more of our working memories than do most people or other types because we seem to need more activity to be satisfied, or are burdened with the problems of more than one thing.


For example, right now I am acknowledging in my mind that I must study for my statistics exam shortly after I write this, I need to watch this educational episode of Disney's Hercules TV series which is on at this time, the fact that I need add this show to my education company as a resource, eat lunch once I complete this, ensure that since I missed my stat class last Thursday that I can understand the material or meet the professor next Monday, make sure that I update my education news feed, delete another news feed I intend on shutting down, and especially focus enough so that this article is not a wasted of time for my readers.  I seem to want to keep all of this knowledge active in my working memory so that I donít forget to do each on of these important tasks.  This is an incredible burden to take on for just one person, yet this is the mind of a typical INFJ almost every minute. 


I never understood why it was difficult for me to memorize things for my high school and college classes when my Pre-med student friends amazed me with their ability to succeed in International baccalaureate classes.  In these classes they were required to write 4000 word papers within a week, memorize chapter-loaded material for several exams throughout the semester, and know hundreds of chemical formulas.  I thought I had ADD because I could not concentrate on one thing, when in fact the truth is that naturally I maintain more in mind than others


I took one beginning chemistry class during my first year in college that I was forced withdraw from due to likely failure.  One of the greatest failures, and ego killers of my young life was this withdrawal.  Since then I took only one other science course, and very fearfully did I approach it. I had never known failure in school until then.  I thought INFJs were supposed to do extremely well in school.  I could not fathom failure or inability to perform intellectually. 


Two years later I found that the struggle I had incurred during high school in desire for more sleep and scholarly success was fruitless because I was required to awake at 6am every morning and sleep at 12 after homework.  I almost never got enough sleep during high school, and therefore rarely felt the true capacity of my working memory. 


Until college, when I was free of early morning classes, late classes, and no job, I fought with the ability to obtain enough sleep.  Until then, I struggled with maintaining facts about the history of the Greeks, Thomas Jeffersonís eloquent prose in the Declaration of Independence, the trigonometry of pre-calculus, and the mole calculation in chemistry -- among much other knowledge. I even used to force myself not laugh when watching sitcom just to use all that brain energy I had when I was younger!


Math was always easier than all other subjects since it required me to keep a little bit of information in my mind, use it for the next step, and then hold a little more info in my working memory to finally arrive at a solution.  It was a step-by-step process. 


My mother has told me that "intellectuals" require more sleep - but intellectuals are much more concerned, it seems, with the knowledge, facts, and ideas themselves. They are not the always concerned with its use to humans.  Their thought process is more controlled and focused with one goal in mind: to learn and know. 


Memorization also required more brain energy.  By the age of 20, and my 3rd year of college, I was blessed with experiencing a greater of access to my brain.  Clearly, the prior knowledge activated by my statistic, calculus, business law, and accounting classes helped and brought in some knowledge from high school, but most of my success in these classes resulted in my ability to get more non-REM sleep. 




Not just 9-10 hours, but, sufficient sleep, sleep without interruption, and sufficient enough to focus to obtain our necessary 4-6 hours of deep, Non-REM and REM, sleep,  This sleep maximizes, or at least increases, the capacity for my working memory. 


What can we do to not be so intrapersonally demanded of on a daily basis? Get enough sleep!



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