My husband fell asleep during family home evening. We were sitting around the kitchen table, playing a matching game and talking about prayer. He rested his head in his hands, closed his eyes, and fell sound asleep. I continued reading, explaining and asking the kids questions, trying to distract them from noticing that their dad was sleeping. Every few moments his eyes would slowly struggle open and he would attempt to keep his eyes open with his forehead muscles. But quickly they would close again.
It was painful to watch. He was trying so hard to be awake.
He worked four night shifts in a row, has been using the GoLight Blu for his "blues," and is staying up late to study for boards, so his system is completely crazy and he is more exhausted than I have ever seen him before. He woke up last night in the middle of the night, and has done this for a few days, completely awake, his mind and heart racing.
I think it is stress.
Everything is caused by stress... usually... right?
He slept for over 20 minutes, perched at the head of the table with his head fit snugly in the palms of his hands. Surrounded with energy, excitement, and lots of talking. Then, it was time for ice cream and peach cobbler (yes - homemade! I know - thank you for all of your comments and encouragement to try more recipes!). He woke up. The sugar rush helped him keep his eyes open, but only for a bit. He was snoring soundly in bed within less than ten minutes after finishing his last bite of dessert.
So, when people ask how residency is different than medical school, I would likely (today) talk about how it depends on how your spouse withstands long periods of exhaustion and huge amounts of stress, or maybe there would be no difference if your spouse can survive with less than four hours of sleep per night, on average, and is not easily or negatively affected by stress.
This is a very interesting article regarding recent findings about possible effects of lack of sleep: Fragmented sleep, fragmented personality.