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The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Brain and Behavior

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Biology 202
2001 Third Web Report
On Serendip

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Brain and Behavior

by S.L.

Sleep deprivation is a commonplace occurrence in modern culture. Every day there seems to be twice as much work and half as much time to complete it in. This results in either extended periods of wakefulness or a decrease in sleep over an extended period of time. While some people may like to believe that they can train their bodies to not require as much sleep as they once did this belief is false (1). Sleep is needed to regenerate certain parts of the body, especially the brain, so that it may continue to function optimally. After periods of extended wakefulness or reduced sleep neurons may begin to malfunction, visibly effecting a person's behavior. Some organs, such as muscles, are able to regenerate even when a person is not sleeping so long as they are resting. This could involve lying awake but relaxed within a quite environment. Even though cognitive functions might not seem necessary in this scenario the brain, especially the cerebral cortex, is not able to rest but rather remains semi-alert in a state of "quiet readiness" (2). Certain stages of sleep are needed for the regeneration of neurons within the cerebral cortex while other stages of sleep seem to be used for forming new memories and generating new synaptic connections. The effects of sleep deprivation on behavior have been tested with relation to the presence of activity in different sections of the cerebral cortex.

The temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex is associated with the processing of language. During verbal learning tests on subjects who are fully rested functional magnetic resonance imaging scans show that this area of the brain is very active. However, in sleep deprived subjects there is no activity within this region (3), (4), (5). The effects of this inactivity can be observed by the slurred speech in subjects who have gone for prolonged periods with no sleep (6).

Even severely sleep deprived people are still able to perform to some degree on a verbal learning test. This implies that some other area of the brain must become active to compensate for the loss of temporal lobe functioning. In fact, activity can be seen in the parietal lobe that is not present during verbal learning tests using rested subjects (5). Greater activity within this region corresponded to better performance by subjects in research studies (7). Still, sleep deprived people do not perform as well on these tests as do fully rested subjects (3), (4). One possible reason for the poorer performance after missing sleep, aside from unregenerated neurons, could be the fact that since the parietal lobe is not usually used to performing tasks such as these it is not as adept at carrying them out. Therefore, when control switches from the temporal lobe to the parietal lobe some speed and accuracy is naturally lost. Interestingly, sleep deprived subjects have been shown to have better short-term memory abilities than their well-rested counterparts (6). Since memory is associated with this region of the cerebral cortex the fact that it is already active in sleep deprived people could make it easier for new synapses to be created, thus forming new short-term memories more easily.

While activity is seen within the parietal lobes of rested people as they think through math problems no corresponding activity is visible within the brains of sleep-deprived subjects. Also, no new area of the brain becomes active while the sleep deprived people work on math problems. Since sleep deprived people can still complete math problems, albeit with less speed and accuracy than a well-rested individual, this data implies that a region of the brain already in use is used for this task (1).

The frontal lobe is the most fascinating section of the brain with relation to sleep deprivation. Its functions are associated with speech as well as novel and creative thinking (5). Sleep deprived test subjects have difficulties thinking of imaginative words or ideas. Instead, they tend to choose repetitious words or clichéd phrases. Also, a sleep-deprived individual is less able to deliver a statement well. The subject may show signs of slurred speech, stuttering, speaking in a monotone voice, or speaking at a slower pace than usual (6). Subjects in research studies also have a more difficult time reacting well to unpredicted rapid changes. Sleep deprived people do not have the speed or creative abilities to cope with making quick but logical decisions, nor do they have the ability to implement them well. Studies have demonstrated that a lack of sleep impairs one's ability to simultaneously focus on several different related tasks, reducing the speed as well as the efficiency of one's actions (8). A person may be able to react to a complex scenario when suddenly presented with it but, similar to the verbal tests, the subject will most likely pick an unoriginal solution. If presented with a similar situation multiple times with slight variations in the information presented the subject chooses the same solution, even though it might not be as applicable to the new senario (9).

Part of the frontal lobe, the prefrontal cortex, has several functions specifically coupled with it. Judgment, impulse control, attention, and visual association have all been related to this region of the cerebral cortex (8). A recent study has shown that the prefrontal cortex, usually the most active area of the brain in rested individuals, becomes more active as a person remains awake for long periods of time (3), (4). This region regenerates during the first stage of sleep, giving a person the ability to feel somewhat refreshed after only a short nap (5). The length of the first stage of sleep cycle is somewhat dependant upon how long the person had previously been awake. The longer the period of wakefulness, the longer the brain remains in the first stage of sleep. When the brain enters into the REM stage of sleep the prefrontal cortex is active once more.

The implications of this data seem to be fairly important in supporting the location of the I-function within the brain. The prefrontal cortex is active whenever a person is awake, no matter how little sleep they have had. Also, this area is active while dreaming. Since the individual is aware of him or herself during both of these instances, but is not aware during the stages of sleep when the prefrontal cortex is shut down, it seems logical that the I-function is located within this region. This indicates that the I-function is what is resting and regenerating during the first stage of sleep. It would be interesting to study prefrontal cortex activity while a person is conscious, but unaware of his or her actions, due to an influence such as drugs or alcohol. According to the results of the sleep deprivation studies little or no activity should be seen in the prefrontal cortex at anytime when the individual is unaware of his or herself.

One of the symptoms of prolonged sleep deprivation is hallucinations (10). This could also be related to the I-function since it is the system that integrates the input from all other areas of the brain. If the neurons composing the I-function become too taxed then the picture in the head that the I-function produces may be more dissimilar from reality than usual. The neurons, under pressure to continue functioning but unable to perform optimally, create an image useful enough for a person to see most of his or her surroundings. Metabolic activity in the prefrontal cortex can drop as much as eleven percent after a person has missed sleep for only twenty four hours (8). As a person loses more sleep or continues to receive less-than-adequate amounts of sleep the neurons become even more taxed and the I-function may begin to generate even less coherent images possibly resulting in temporary insanity.

Another piece of evidence supporting the location of the I-function is that mammals have REM sleep whereas cold-blooded animals do not and mammals have a neocortex, located within the prefrontal cortex, while cold-blooded animals do not. REM sleep stimulates areas of the brain used for learning and memory (10). When a person is taught a new skill his or her performance does not improve until he or she receives at least eight hours of sleep (11). An extended period of sleep ensures that the brain will be able to complete the full sleep cycle, including REM sleep. The necessity of sleep for learning could be due to the fact that sleep increases the production of proteins while reducing the rate at which they are broken down (10). Proteins are used to regenerate the neurons within the brain. Without them new synapses may not be able to be formed, thus limiting the amount of information a sleep-deprived individual can maintain.

One of the possible side effects of a continued lack of sleep is death. Usually this is the result of the fact that the immune system is weakened without sleep. The number of white blood cells within the body decreases, as does the activity of the remaining white blood cells. The body also decreases the amount of growth hormone produced (8). The ability of the body to metabolize sugar declines, turning sugar into fat. One study stated that people who sleep less than four hours per night are three times more likely to die within the next six years (11). Although the longest a human has remained awake was eleven days rats that are continually deprived of sleep die within two to five weeks, generally due to their severely weakened immune system (10), (11), (12).

In a way sleep deprivation studies help us to study the relationship between the brain and behavior in a very unique way by observing how a person's behavior changes as the brain shuts down. By taking images of the brain showing where activity is located it is possible to correlate the behavior exhibited by a subject with his or her brain patterns. Just like a person cannot jog for three continuous days a person's brain cannot operate without rest breaks. Since different regions of the brain rest during different stages of the sleep cycle, sleep cannot be cut short. In fact, if the brain does not receive a break it will soon begin to shut down for periods of microsleep. This is essentially several seconds of actual sleep; delta waves that interrupt the regular EEG of an awake person thereby impairing his or her continuity of cognitive function. Microsleep generally happens directly before performance failure occurs (8). Without sleep our brains deteriorate, and if the argument that brain=behavior is true, then our behavior will also suffer accordingly.


WWW Sources

1) an article written by the military concerning sleep deprivation, on the Marine Corps University web site

2) Sleep Loss and Frontal Lobe Function, Loughborough Sleep Research Centre

3)study of brain activity and sleep deprivation, University of California San Diego

4) study of brain activity and sleep deprivation, Nature

5) Lack of Sleep Takes Toll on Brain Power, on WebMD website

6) This is your Brain without Sleep, on health website

7) Sleep-deprived brain can call in reinforcements, CNEWS science website

8) Normal sleep and sleep deprivation, on emedicine website

9) Sleep Deprivation and Cognitive Function, Loughborough Sleep Research Centre

10) Brain Basics- Understanding Sleep, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes

11)a journalist's experience with sleep deprivation, men's journal website

12) psychology class lecture notes, State University of New York Stony Brook




Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post a comment below)

10/15/2005, from a Reader on the Web

I have a comment and concern with sleep deprivation. Several of my friends actually stay up and get only 3 hours of sleep then go to school and work. They say that they recieve somewhat of a "buzz" as if they smoked a small amount of weed or drank alchohol. Is this anything that has been heard of before?

11/06/2005, from a Reader on the Web

i know for a fact that you can go for more then 11 days with out sleep because i went 4 weeks playing computer games on a bet and won but i would never try it again the last 2 weeks it was hard to tell real from not and the stress has caused me some memory loss

11/09/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Just an suggest a sleep deprived person uses a different portion of the brain for activities such as speech than a rested individual. I have noticed that at times of my own sleep deprivation it's almost as though my subconscious thought processes have been re-routed through my speech centre...or at very least through my "top-of-mind" thought centre. (Please excuse my lack of technical terminology...I'm not especially well researched in this area.) For example I may find myself aware of the fact that I'm short of breath...and subsequently need to remind myself to breathe...or blink...and sometimes find myself verbalising these stream-of-consciousness processes. Perhaps more concerning are those times I have found myself verbalising these processes while driving...along with the other driving-related requirements (ie. indicate now, clutch and brake, left-hand down a bit...) Any thoughts? Has this been observed elswhere or was it something I imagined in my sleep-deprived state? Darren

11/17/2005, from a Reader on the Web

My Colleges and I are begining an independant sleep deprivation study, our goal is to remain awake anywhere from ninety-six to one hundrend sixty-eight hours. We were wondering when the Hallucinations occur\what they entail, and how great the effects are on behavior\health before continuing. Thus far, two of us have been designated to conduct this experiment, and the other two stationed to observe. The two that are being deprived of sleep have been awake for 25 hours, 40 minuets, 45 seconds and still going. Any advise?

12/12/2005, from a Reader on the Web

This is in response to the question posted on 10/15/2005 on the page /bb/neuro/neuro01/web3/Ledoux.html: Yes, I believe this effect would happen in case of moderate sleep deprivation. Serotonin, the neurotransmitter which is used up during the sleep cycles, is partially responsible for mood balance. The longer a person sleeps, the more serotnin gets used up in the brain, resulting in somewhat of a depressed state of mind - the lethargy we feel if we sleep, say, 14 hours straight. (Antidepressant drugs such as Prozac work by inhibiting the excessive consumption of serotonin in the brain.) The reverse of this is when we don't get enough sleep, there is a slight excess of serotonin in the brain, resulting in the "buzz" you mentioned. It's tired hyperactivity, not really an energetic state.

12/16/2005, from a Reader on the Web

I think the "buzz" associated with not sleeping has to do with the hallucinations that being to affect the brain after long bouts with no sleep. I suffer from insomnia occasionally and after a long day at work I am definitly not right in the head.

01/04/2006, from a Reader on the Web

hello my forst time here. I was looking for the functions of the 345 cranial nerves. I have a tumor pressing on it and I want to know there functions, Thank you



Additional comments made prior to 2007

my mom works most nights from 9:45 pm until 7:30 am. by the time she gets home i am about to go to school so i dont see her during the day. when i am at school she is takind medical classes untill about 2:30 pm. she tries to take a nap until i get home at around 3:30 pm. She hardley eats and she comlains aout gaining weight but no more than 20 lbs. today she threw up. i asked her are u ok. she said its fine ive been doin this for a few months now. "mom , why didnt you tell me?" i said. she replied, " u dont need to kno, its just a fact of survival now." i told her she needs to go see the doctor. she refuses, shes a busy woman. I read somewhere that if u have a serious case of sleep deprevation, then u are able to die within the next 6 years. I love my mom to death and i am starting to get worried , she hardly sleeps and when she does it is for short amounts of time. please email me back and tell me if there is anything i can advise to my mom. I care about her so much and!
i dont want her to be hurt or sick. I would greatly appriciate it. Thank you ... Ty, 31 January 2006


Does lack of sleep increase your appetite? ... Jenna McLaughlin, 5 February 2006


I have a hard time sleeping sometimes, I am guessing insomnia I dont know for sure. I am a student and also work a very physically demanding job. I have found that I can barely work some days and others I have an incredible amount of enerrgy. I have also realized I suffer bouts of depression and was wondering if this is related to the lack of sleep I suffer from. I also at times break down from what I beleive is stress. Could the lack of sleep cause more stress or even make the already present stress even more, for lack of a better word, stressful? Thank you ... Nathaniel Kiser, 17 February 2006


I have suffered from some sort of sleep disorder all of my life. I can sometimes get 2-3 hours a night, usually I do not sleep at all. This lasts for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. I recently completed a sleep study. The test showed that I have leg movements at 60-70x per hour, while the normal rate is 10-15x, when I am actually asleep. However, my brain activity is rapid and constant, as opposed to being stimulated by the leg activity. Doctor's questions seemed to indicate a suspicion of bi-polar disorder, but no other symptoms are present. I was prescribed Requip for the restless legs, but had no success with it.

I experience some mild exhaustion during the day, but never to the point of needing a nap. I have taken the Epworth test and my final score was 1. I do not feel impaired; actually I am quite energetic. I work out 3-4x a week, do not intake caffeine, sugar or any other stimulants. The longest I have gone without any sleep at all is 5 days, then got flu-like symptoms and slept for about 8 hours-a sleep marathon, so to speak. Then back to the same routine.

I am deeply concerned about the long term effects on my body. I am a 37 year old female with no serious health problems to speak of. I have tried numerous sleep aids, ranging from herbal alternatives, over the counter medicines to hard core prescription medications (ex: 800 mg of Seroquel). Shockingly, none of them have helped my sleeplessness. It is almost like I just simply do not have an "off" button.

If there is anyone out there who might be able to shed some light on this problem, or anyone who may be suffering from the same symptoms, I would certainly welcome any commentary and/or suggestions ... BZ, 21 February 2006


I am currently serving in the US Army. I can guaruntee you that i only get around 2 to 4 hours of sleep a night. I work all day and basically all night. I train for war. There are short periods i guess you would call it microsleep, that occur to me when i am driving a humvee. i pass out for i guess 5 seconds which seems like 5 minutes. i do have trouble thinking of solutions and most of the time my words are kind of slurred. Sometimes i cannot stay focus on any task and just sit on a chair staring into the great unknown. Everyone in the army works extremely hard everyday and everynight going without sleep for 3 or 4 days.. probably only getting 2 to 4 hours asleep a night. i feel dead inside. when i am given a task to do and i find it difficult to do that task. i am extremely frustrated and angry and i feel like yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs and then passing out for all eternity. You should do a study of sleep deprivation in the Army. I think you tests would be more accurate than using civilians. the army is said in the army regulation books that we are suppose to get 4 non-consecutive hours of sleep a day. that is bs. you should tell the army that our soldiers need more sleep time. everyday i am angry at not getting enough sleep. i'll stp typing now ... Sean, 26 February 2006


just from my own experience I can tell you that I have not slept more than 2 hours in over a week now...due to stress and a terrible the past I have often used it as a means to acheive a certain level of consciousness for spiritual reasons. But this week has begun to feel like torture. Today I have distressing pinched nerves in my neck, and excruciating pain all along my spine. I cannot get into a position that doesn't hurt. I cannot lift anything or move freely. It is beginning to effect my speech...a few days ago I noticed an increase in irratability but was able to get a handle on it today...however there are some benefits I would like to share: my subconsious is definitely much more accessible. I have noticed a heightened feeling that I am channelling other people's thoughts in chat rooms, and can tell what they are thinking before they say it in person. A huge amount of insight has been dumped on me that I hope I do not forget. Last night, while laying in the dark for about 6 straight hours just contemplating....I had revelations about the rune & corresponding Norse mythology that I had picked out randomly the hour before during a bath. It was incredibly complex and simple at the same time for me to get a firm grasp on its' archetypical meaning, how it applies to me, my particular situation; as well as to ancient man and also other mythologies (i.e., Christian). I really enjoyed this insight as a lot of new knowledge came to me that had escaped me previously. So it has its advantages. Now that I have had that experience, I went to purchase a better mattress and some Nyquil so that I may sleep at least 6-7 hrs. sometime today or tonight, whenever the conditions in my household permit. At this point my subconscious is telling me that there will be health risks if I don't. I have learned to listen to it.

Thanks for letting me share that ... Lou Anne Cavin, 27 February 2006


This was pretty informing thank you. I am doing an open ended investigation in biology on sleep deprivation. Im going to be the experimentation though. Just wondering where I should set my limits for my lack of sleep, I\'ve made sure I have no exams when I do it =P. And I was wondering if this like, was a problem because of the hormones and the insufficient time to like recharge them. So, what hormones they are and what they do. Im gonna go research that now hehe. Thanks. Bye ... Amy, 1 March 2006


Everyone says you can't make up lost sleep. Is this true? ... Reader on the web, 3 March 2006


If I stay up all night and study I seem to do better on tests than when I study in incrimates. Why is that or am I just imagining it?

Secondly I have migraines. I first got them 5 years ago when I was only getting 4-5 hours of sleep. I've been getting 8 hours of sleep for the past 4 years. Why haven't my migraines subsided?

Thank you ... Beth, 3 March 2006


I thought id just add some of my experiences of sleep deprivation and hope it helps this site and anyone with their research.

normally after the first 24 hours i begin to fell as would be expected 'stupid'. in the sense i tend to vier of track of whatever i was doing and easily loose focus. speech is still fine although it may take me a few secoonds more than usual to think of what im actually going to say or do. this cant often lead to me being paused and just stood there in a total blank for 10 seconds or so. after 48 hours aside from being tired logic seems to go out the window. simple tasks become hard to do without concotraing very hard for as something like putting a shoe on.often whilst doing this i can do much like i did before and just stare blankly wondering what i as doing before i carry on again. coming up to the third day which is the most ive been awake, lead me into sort of a dream world where i could doze off standing up and walking. conversations were hard to understand due to the amount of concontration needed. i was pretty much in my own world, so to speak. from the outside i looked as if i were inder sedativews or something with an open mouth and just blank thinking. very simple thoughts ran through my head and life seemed simple to me. thoughts of the weel ahead or anything like that came to mind. just the simple task i have to do in the next hour or so. towards the end of the 3 days even eating became a complicated task and required full concontration. having DESCENT conversation was near impossibe.

as for what was mentioned earlier about a 'buzz' after smoking weed and mixed with lack of sleep. i can describe it as the same as sleep deprivation, but its how you view the effect of it on yourself... you can view it as fun and just another way to be not in the right state of mind , as is the point of most drugs and alcohol.

as a matter of fact im actually going without sleep now, not quite 24 hours but long enough for me.. im going to bed!

hope this was of some help ... Dom, 7 March 2007


i have a severe sleep disorder. i have been going on maybe 8 hours sleep every 2 weeks for the last 6 months. And before that i was sleeping maybe a good 8 hours a week and this has been going on for 4 years almost. can anybody beat this. surely if i am out there and do this other people are too. i am surprised i still am even here ... Sandy, 13 March 2006


As part of a bizarre school project, myself and a group of mates are attempting a sleep deprevation experiment later on in the year(i fell upon your website as part of my researsh stage). The idea is to see who will last the longest without sleep (with a slab of beer at the end to the winner, thats to keep them motivated). i would like it very much to hear from you with an idea of what to expect and also some info of previous experiments done from the past.
Cheers ... Louis Van Pelt, 22 March 2006


well i wuz doin this science project with my friends and we found out that it does cause it can erase your memory and y r u doin this u dont even know wat your doin cause i tryed sleeping late 2 see wat happens and after a while i couldnt remember wat wuz i doin or y wuz i doin this so just remember next time u try sleepin late just remember not sleepin does effect your behavior ... Carolina, 28 March 2006


How does Al Herpin fit into all this? He reportedly suffered from total insomnia. Did his brain learn to recover, or simply move activity to another portion of the brain without sleep? Did he suffer a long but slow degradation of memory? Sorry I can't find any good mention of him on the net, or provide any more information on the net on him than this: (look at 5. Unwanted Syndromes) and

Do you know anything about this case? ... Mifune, 28 March 2006


Your article by SL on sleep deprivation really has helped me. I am a semi-retired radio broadcaster who recently began working a couple hours a day hosting early morning radio programming and doing occasional news anchor duties in order to keep my fingers in the business. I have not yet been able to develop some consistent sleep hours, so I may have 6 or 7 hours of nighttime sleep and other times get only 4 or 5 hours, followed by short afternoon naps, then usually crashing for a major late morning nap at some time during the week.

I noticed that my speech on the air is effected. Yesterday, "inexplicably," I didn\'t finish a word while doing the morning host gig...while I don't remember the word in question, it was something like "spoken" which I pronounced "spokuh," not finishing it with the "n" sound. And on the same day, while doing the news, on too-many newscasts I mispronounced at least one word in a way that just didn\'t add up. From time to time, its possible to mispronounce a word while on the air, but it seemed like there was a disconnect between the split second that I read the word on the copy in front of me and the time the word came out of my mouth. It was a totally different feeling psychologically, than a "normal" on-air mispronounciation. And then a week or two ago, when I had to make a routine "timing" decision whether I had time to do a planned story before the commercial or if I had to make a quick switch to a shorter, unplanned story (this decision had to be made while I was in the newscast reading the copy but thinking ahead to how much time I had left) felt like I was clueless as to what to do. Though this is routine, my thinking was definitely impaired.

All this is to say that Ms. L's article has really helped me understand what sleep deprivation has been doing to my brain. It seems to effect (or is the word "affect") my "thinking" more dramatically than my physicality (though I find myself working out at the gym less than my usually disciplined 5 or 6 day a week workout schedule.) Please thank Ms. L for her article for me. I really need to work much harder on getting to bed around 8 p.m. on most nights, and factoring in a better scheduling around the nights when I have obligations that take me to 11 p.m. ... Tom Moller, 1 April 2006


It is like when the section of brain that is most active for specific function gets used to the less state of optimal transfer and next section starts cache for function switching over something "bottlenecks" "lags" or slows down, this seems detrimental to length of time used to render descernable output, but may also be slowly acessing the old or first active section and new same time maybe gaining wider length or more less used in that specific routeing of functions process. I find it harder to speak simply, needing more complicated explanations to gain the feeling of "defintion or quoitent correct" nodding head in understanding. Lol the line between actual relevant transfer of understandable "coherant" information v.s. giggity giggity spam blah babble grows <--SMALLER? umm Me thinks the brain on the verge of using all portions due to extreme lengths of slack time (sleep) maybe inherantly affecting perception of reality in a more or less indifferent state i.e. self realization of irrelavance of time to entirety of all existence.Numbers obviously become more dominate rates of optimal language due to universally understood medium words letters are relayed less efficently because of the wide format of interchangeable strings user can understand easier different language regardless of font type etc if relavant numeriacal equivalent is present i.e. health=100 10=*&&*% health=110 or health=90... health could be string in any format of chacters symbols etc but cannot =present amount of self or numbers? Useless if Ω or exponet man I\'ll just stfu and goto sleep try again after those 8 hours, nay it burns I want to define but fear persecution but am hitting the send button regardless big step for me ... Reader on the web, 3 April 2006


i would like to try to stay in wal mart for a weekend. and try to not fall asleep, would this alter my mental health. or woulld it get so boring that i would eventually pass out. thank you ... Chase, 13 April 2006


When sleep deprived and using parts of the brain that are not normally used is it possible or been researched that a new telepathic sense can be awakened, for the past few years iv lost a lot of sleep and in the past year iv had 4 or 5 very detailed dreams that came true and theres no way they were coincadence. I strongly believe Im telepathic or at least have been and am hoping to find some answers here ... Lewis, 23 April 2006


After being an alcoholic and stopped 4 days ago, I have only slept all together about 1hour 30 min. My mind will just not stop working. I am so sleepy but just can not do it. I only catch a few minutes at time. It really starting to affect my health. Is there anything I can do? I have read in the Big Blue Book that Sleepless can not kill you. I am beginning to wonder...
Please advise me ... Kat, 13 May 2006


when i didnt sleep for only 3 days i went off it,i was seeing hair growing on me and my boyfriend at fast rates and i saw lights flyin around and insects on my bed, they were very vivid and intense ... Rebeckah, 14 May 2006


Hello. I have been diagnosed with Narcolepsy in 2002, and then subsequently rediagnosed in 2005 with Sleep anpnea, none of the medication that i received for both diagnosis did not work and I'm still suffering very severly with this problem. I'm currently seeing a chiropratic in which the results of an x-ray of the lower brain and neck shows that I have a sligh cure in my spine resulting in some abnormal pressure on a nerve which is responsible for blood oxgen getting to the brain which could be preventing me from getting sleep, doe anybody now of any other information that might be helpful in helping me combat this disorder I desperately need your help, concerned! ... Fred, 14 May 2006


Was looking at site to see link between Bipolar Disorder and Sleep deprivation. I am studying to be a psychiatrist. It is interesting to note that many "manic" Bipolar episodes are preceded usually by 2 or more days of no sleep at all or a period of severely deficient sleep patterns. Also note that Bipolar depression is often preceded and associated with oversleeping? Is this (Bipolar) a real mental illness, or is it often "created" and thrown at individuals showing symptoms of temporary insanity or sadness due to oversleep or undersleep respectiveley? I beleive at the least the "real deal" behind many "Bipolar Disorder" most especially mania is extended periods of sleep deficiency or no sleep at all, all of which go against the brains natural ability in mantaining stable levels of serotonin...good sleeping lifestyle practices should be the prescription in many cases rather than throwing Mood-Stabilizers, Anti-Psychotics and other Bipolar Meds at people who are! nothing more than severely sleep deprived or oversleeping ... Brian C, 19 May 2006




Hi im still young but im really looking foward to study my perfect career, so lately i havent slept good. Im experimenting a little to see if maybe i could get used to it, i agree with some points of your essay and some points i don't know them well yet but im interested on them. If this is true i would start sleeping 8hrs per day but i think is important 4 ppl 2 know this kind of stuff because everyday everyone sleeps less and less ... Swam, 10 September 2006



hey im in 8th grade and im doing a project about this. uhm okay i sleep really late like around 5 am. then wake up at 7 for school. im doing a project on this cause maybe on my way of doing it i can realize something very important that im missing! at school i just start acting lazy meaning not wanting to do my school work and getting behind my clsses. and im not usaully that kind of person i use to get all my things done in time but now everything is falling apart! so i was wondering if sleeping is affecting my daily acedemics and routines in my life? ... CeeCee, 23 September 2006



I don't have anything to comment on but I want to know whether the body temperature of a person increases if the person has slept only for 3 hours at night or even lesser. Or it depends on the time period when he/she has gone to sleep or the temperature or weather of the place. Also does the immunity of the person also reduce due to loss of REM sleep? ... Gayetri Ramachandran, 22 October 2006


I think I'm sleep deprived. I work a condensed work week 4 - 10 hour days. I've been doing this for about 2 years now. I drive 1.5 hours 3 of the 4 days to start work at 6am and end at 4:30pm. I have a three year old who co-sleeps with my wife and I. I usually try to go to bed around 9-10pm to get 6 or 7 hours of sleep before the drive. What usually happens is that my daughter tosses and turns or my wife usually ends up working until midnight, my daughter won't go to sleep easily without both of us there. By the time I get into a really good sleep it's around 12:30am - 1am, during the night my daughter repeatedly kicks off the covers in her sleep. I usually wake up several times a night to cover her back up. Then the alarm clock goes off at 4 in the morning, I shower, shave eat breakfast and then commute to work. I've been experiencing some behavioural problems such as MicroSleeping while driving, or at work, inability to concentrate, focus or staring off into space. When people talk to me I usually hear about the first three words and then drift off into la-la land as my eyes glaze over and drift away from whomever is talking to me. Last Friday at work I tried to explain what I was doing to my boss and couldn't spit it out! I ended up grunting and pointing like a caveman! This lasted about 40 seconds and he looked at me very strangely until I was finally able to spit it out in short sentences.

I think my work is suffering from lack of sleep, my wife notices that I'm listless and zombie-like when I get home. This in turn is affecting my marriage. So with both my marriage and job at stake is there any recommendations that you can suggest.

I would be entirley grateful ... Matt Strawbridge, 22 October 2006



Recently,I happened to come across a fact that getting less than 6hrs of sleep per night actually leads us to diabetes and obesity.Infact,when a person wakes up in a sleep deprived state ,there's a growing drive for high carb foods(in the morning).Moreover,production of insulin in the pancreas is also inhibited in this state.Usually I end up getting just 4-5 hrs of sleep per night and if by chance,I get to sleep some 45mins in the public bus on my way to college.Sometimes I experience slurred language,inability to focus and feeling sleepy all the time.Meanwhile,in the weekend I sleep for around 8-11 hrs and this drives me too lazy and decreased energy.And then the life goes on ... John Kane, 8 November 2006



hello im a middleschooler who todally dosnt agree w/ having to wake up sooo early. ive also read that us teenagers should get more sleep than we do so i think that they should give us more time to sleep, on school days and we should at least try to go to sleep earlier ... Jay Bruner, 14 November 2006


I have also noticed the 'buzz' effect of sleep deprivation, it was kinda pleasant, and I think it's similar to a kind of psychosis, you feel slightly removed from reality, as if having taken a mental painkiller.

Also, I have noticed when sleep-deprived, that it is easy to drift off into a kind of daze, and in these times it's easy to get into a stream-of-consciousness rant about varied unrelated subjects. I would have expected this to be a cause of increased functioning in language/creative ideas parts of the brain, because it seems like more thoughts can escape from your unconscious into the conscious, but your research suggests otherwise.

Another effect of sleep deprivation that I have felt is that when sleep deprived, the body's tollerance for alcohol, (and probably other drugs), is much lowered, so a small amount of alcohol will have more effect on you when you're very tired.

Remember this is all from personal experience and shouldn't be considered empirical/true. Everything I have mentioned is only fit for stimulating ideas ... Mombius Hibachi, 19 November 2006



I have done a great deal of sleep deprivation related training in the military, under the mistaken belief that through practice you can get good at it. Afte around 15 years of service I had a seizure, and all the blood vessels in my left eye popped amongs some other unpleasant effects like forgetting my name. The nuerologist told me there was a good chance that this was caused by a life of repeated bouts of sleep deprivation (after I was tested for a myraid of other things like low blood sugar, and epilepsy). Is there anything that I can do to lessen the effects of sleep deprivation? My job kind of requires that I stay up for long hours in order to survive, and be able to carry out my duties ... Nordeen, 9 December 2006


Its really nice to read people's experiences in life.

please keep on adding guyz....its really interesting to read about what happened to your life style when you got deprived of sleep ... Mr. Yelmar, 27 December 2006


your list for SYMPTOMS of sleep loss leads one to believe you'll just feel "sleepy".

Doctors KNOW about the PSYCHOSIS you can get from it, so you should INCLUDE this on your site.

These symptoms include:

-hallucinations (visual, tactile, smell, taste)
-hearing "voices", most of which or MENTAL VOICES
-total loss of judgement
-false memories
-believing things that aren't true
-following "commands" (when the mental voices tell you to do something)
-"movies" playing in your head where "mental voices & chaaracters" appear & play a "storyline" (like a movie would), which can last for seconds, hours, days, or weeks. and you may BELIEVE it to be REALLY occurring.

please post this so people will KNOW what it is that's happening to them, & people will know WHY they shouldn't sleep deprive themselves ... Dudbubbin, 1 January 2007



For a project i stayed up for 37 hours and i never reached the point where i got hillucinations and actually i didn't really experience any really terrible side effects. I did experience the typical side effects such as headaches, slowed movements and thoughts, but after a span of time i felt normal but around hour 36 i could really feel the drag towards sleep. This article has really helped me with an essay that i have to write for this project and i will be sure to use it as a reference. Hope my input can help you in some way ... Mike Radford, 7 January 2007



I can't sleep. when to a sleep clinic was told that I had a very bad sleep D.gave me all kind of medication but notting help could you help me ... Suzanne Thibault, 14 January 2007


I seem to have woken up to the idea that the symptoms of sleep deprivation can easily be misdiagnosed or misunderstood by others, and,then theres the posibility that the sufferer may believe he or she has other unrelated problems. In my case i began to think that i was autistic to some degree, and as a result i embarked on a course to find out. To cut the story short, i came to a point where it was obvious that prelonged periods of sleep deprivation over a span of some 20-25 years have gradually turned me into a completely different person. I have no motivation to do even the things i've always enjoyed and tasks that require ones undivided attention seems to be too much to handle. I made a lot of mistakes typing this dialogue and had to continually make amends to the text, which to me proof is that disorientation is a key symptom. On a daily basis i wander about the work place not able to do whatever job i've been given, even to the point where i have packed up for the day and gone home. Other days are different to the extent that i suffer a kind of panic attack but afterwards i seem to be fine for a while, but definitely a lot more sluggish. I may be suffering from depression too but i've not looked into that side of the matter as yet.

I was tired when i typed this and it was a chore. I hope its of some help, better still will it result in something that will help me! ... H. Rojewski, 22 January 2007



I start hallucinating after about 3 days of no sleep. I see people everywhere that ive never seen before. They just appear out of the walls and ceilings. All i have to do is stare at a solid object for a few seconds. Sure enough people will start coming through and they usually float up towards the ceiling. Also dark rooms are just full of people floating around and walking through. Once i get some sleep i dont see these things at all. The longer i stay up the more clear and intense these experiences become. I used to take large amounts of Dextromethorphan and would experience these types of things. But i havent touched Dxm in years. Could this be some form of permanent brain damage? ... Jay Grigsby, 4 February 2007



I am a homicide investigator for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. We work a 21 day cycle. 3 days off, five days on during which we are on call. one of those days we work a shift of desk duty answering telephones from either 0500-1300, 1300-2100 or 2100-0500. This is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year including holidays. During the on call we get called out at all hours throughout the county to investigate murder. We commonly leave late at night, go home late the next day. we get 3 days off then we begin a 10 day stretch. Starting on a friday we are on call until monday at 0600 hours during that time we work one shift of desk duty. What effect does this have on a persons health? ... Boyd Zumwalt, 16 February 2007


Re: "i know for a fact that you can go for more then 11 days with out sleep because i went 4 weeks playing computer games on a bet and won but i would never try it again the last 2 weeks it was hard to tell real from not and the stress has caused me some memory loss" -- Reader on the web, 11/06/2005

SS or it never happened.

In the state of sitting on your backside for 4 straight weeks, without any sleep, and more than likely consuming high-energy, caffine full liquids and or foods, you would have died of a heart attack ... Matt Bryant, 20 March 2007






I am doing research for a science experiment for my science class and I need to see what will happen to people when they don't sleep for 48 hours. Do you have any tips or information I could use? ... Talyn, 23 March 2007



Hi. I'm a student and i don't think i'm getting enough sleep. I normally go to sleep from 11 - 12, and wake up 6 30, will this effect my studies? What effect will it have on me? ... Frank, 5 June 2007



I really hope there is someone out there who can help me with this problem.Some three years ago I was struck down with a nasty dose of Chronic Bronchitis, during that period of illness there was a period of thirteen days when I hardly got a wink of sleep due to continually coughing.I felt dissorientated couldn't think straight and was basically quite poorly. Also in that period I did something Quite uncharateristic of me, I sent an email to a work coleague stating that my presant wife shouted at me because of my incesant coughing and that she would get annoyed if I had not cooked her meal by the time she arrived home from work. I remember saying more or less the same thing to my mother some fifteen years ago when I was married to and alcoholic wife. My presant wife read the email which caused me even more traumer and her daughter will not let the subject drop. Could there be a connection here because I cannot explain why I did such a thing, I love my wife dearly and wouldn't do anything knowingly to hurt her. at the time of the illness I was 63 yrs of age ... John Evans, 16 September 2007



I guess i don't get as much sleep as i should be getting, but last night it got creepy. story is, i have a mouse. i used to have two, but one ran away, so i got a new one, because the petsmart people say they are social, but unfortunately, the old one ate the new one. well, last night, i looked down at the cage and there were two mice. i starred blankly for some period of time. then i ran to my cell, and called people to see if anyone knew anyrhing about the extra mouse, and non one did. i went back later, and it wasn't there any more. i've looked ever since then and haven't seen it. what?? did i really see osmething that wasn't there? ... Noel Knight, 25 September 2007



i had noticed u said the longest a human has stayed awake was eleven days.ive went without sleep for 16 days last summer without the use of drugs.during that time i aquired my GED considering i dropped out in the seventh grade i would say i was comprehending and retaining information pretty well but anyhow i just wanted to ask how long i could go without sleep safe from dying ... Zachary, 30 September 2007



i am a senior in high school and i have to get up between six and six thirty to be to school on time by seven thirty. i usually set my alarm clock to go off at six then again at six fifteen. sometimes my dad comes in and wakes me before my alarm and on these days i always feel more tired than i would had i woken uop to my alarm even if its just a few minutes before my alarm. is this normal? why does losing just a few minutes of sleep make me feel exhausted throughout the day? ... Britni, 1 October 2007



hi... I was wondering about sleep deprivation verses major depression. I've been diagnosed with major depression but I have also had a lot of sleep deprivation. i go back and forth between being deprived of sleep and sleeping for really long periods of time. could my sleep deprivation be the reason for my depression? and if so, why wouldn't my psychologist and psychiatrist have caught that because I've described my sleep patterns to them both. are there other factors in diagnosing major depression that I'm missing? from what i can tell, sleep deprivation has a lot to do with behavior malfunction, speech problems, etc., which are symtoms of depression. anyway, I would really like your advice if possible. thank you for the article - it was fascinating ... Anna, 1 October 2007



I'm 14 and i just had a hallicination the other night but i can't recall what it was, but previous hallicinations i remmember. One hallucination was I was the size of an ant in a forrest at night but i also was a hungry chameleon and was trying to eat myself, no joke. I recall that got out of bed cause i felt odd, so i just went to the bathroom, and while i was on the toilet i felt scared, i got up exited the bathroom and i found myself freaking out, my sister was trying to calm me down. Her point of veiw was she came out to go to the bathroom and she saw me standing there looking at the ground, and she said my name and i started to freak out and said there was a worm on my head, but i thought she asked me if there was a worm on my head and i just went with it, so i start saying "There is a worm on my head get it off!" which i don't remmember, also another was a little more calm but still as stressful, it was black every where and i was as if standing on glass, there were old ruin looking columns every where and i had to choose the one REAL column or the whole universe would cease to exist. I also have ones with strange feelings where my mind thinks in a totally different way that i can't explain, One there was bright light all around me and two pitch black wholes on either side of me, in each whole there was a small Imp, and both kept on coming up at the same time trying to pull me in their hole and split me apart, another was the calmest one, There was a frame arch and i was standing in it, there was a light bulb at the top pointing down, (like on the inside) and i was floating through space and breathing. When i hallucinate my mind thinks TOTALLY different, and anything can make me feel like i'm about to die, another was (i know "Don't watch so much TV." wasn't the case though) it was the same setting as the imp dream was, but i was awake, each Dragon Ball Z villain had a hole 3 villains were there, but they were standing above their hole, and i had to go Super Saiyan or they would kill me but there was a chance i would die if i went Super Saiyan, i was 9 at the time, also random things will remind me of my dreams or hallucinations, such as when i was writing this i was going to write "fourteen" instead of 14 but i thought i had a typo and didn't know how to spell fourteen even though it was correct and i got the Sleep Deprivation "feeling" almost remmembering the hallucination i had last night (but i couldn't). So if anyone can explain my type of Sleep Deprivation or anyone that has similar problems or hallucinations or anyone that knows and has experiance the type of "Feeling" or different type of thinking, please contact me ... Devin Farrell, 22 October 2007



Fantastic site! I really enjoyed the article "The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Brain and Behavior." I'm looking for information on types of diagnostic tests for chronic insomnia and studies that gives ratios on degree and types of impairment for amount of sleep loss. For example: For every 5 hours of sleep lost, there is a 10% decline in ability to focus, concentrate, etc ... Pamela Jackson, 25 October 2007



Hi my name is femi, i am 15 years old and i live in essex, U.K. Althuogh i haven't carried out any research on this issue, but what i think is that the human brain is designed in away that everything you do is to a set out programme in your head, so when you sleep your brain recollects the days events and thats why you have things known as dreams. Then theres an unconsious state during the sleep were your brain works in credibly hard to programme the next day. Thats why you feel very tired and heavy even when you haven't done anything hard, this is very evident i.e those who sleep more do anything better than those who do not ... Femi, 30 October 2007


Ammy's picture

We are totally happy having

We are totally happy having discovered the website, it is totally the thing my friend and I have been looking for. The specifics on the website is very helpful and will help me quite a lot.

Serendip Visitor's picture


i was sleep deprived and then this happened,
i was working and suddenly my eyes would close and i would instantly go into a dream while i was stillawake,
i call it a dreams because i could hear some people communicating or speaking as if i was standing with them (though there as no one around ) or they were saying unusual things related to my work stuff.
the whole process would last 120 seconds after which i would snap out of it and open my eyes, is this is known as day dreaming/lucid dreaming/ going insane? is this healthy

Anti-Sandman's picture

Individual Sleep Deprivation Experiment

Hello. On 12/9/16 at 6AM MDT (tomorrow), I will be starting a period in which I will not sleep. I am attempting to stay awake for longer than the record now (11 days), and even longer than that, recording my symptoms and mental state. Is there any advice for how I can stay awake even longer?

Armis's picture

Solution Found, Foundation Award Scientist With Prize

"Philanthropic Cryptocurrency Organization Awards 1M To Science Researcher

The Einsteinium Foundation [EMC2], a philanthropic cryptocurrency organization recently awarded Dr. Robbert Havekes, PhD a grant of one million EMC2 (a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin) for his scientific research involving the cognitive impact of sleep deprivation on memory.

EMC2 is a non-profit cryptocurrency community who find and fund science research, education, and development projects they feel are worthy of their prize. EMC2 along with a throng of supporters started a crowd funding campaign at Indiegogo to further recognize and celebrate the work of Dr. Havekes. "

Serendip Visitor's picture

side effect causing by sleeplessness

I don't even having feelings, like happiness, love,sadness,....I don't know what happened to me ....I think that this is causing due to sleeplessness.... I don't have proper sleep ...I'm sleeping only 5 hrs or less than that I need a help to solving my condition... Pls help me

rude awakening's picture


as long as certain people take the baby and mama`s money to produce 3000 dollar noise out of there 300 dollar transporters, i guess a lot of us will suffer from no sleep

Franklin's picture

Sleep deprivation

A good day to all,
I am sleep deprived because of my job and now it becomes a habit. i maximum sleep 3,4 hours daily. I can't sleep more as i have tried many times. would some one suggest me some good methods to adopt. I have read another article and it helped me a little but i want a solution or should i consult my doctor?

John Skrepak's picture

Alzheimer's Disease

I figure things out - that's what I do. For some reason I never forget stray tidbits of information that come to me over the course of my life. I find myself recalling these tidbits whenever I have a difficult problem to solve. Invariably the solution always comes in my early waking hours as I'm climbing out of bed or showering before work. I've learned that I can trust these morning revelations and so I pay close attention when the come. This was the case a few months ago and again this morning concerning Alzheimer's Disease.

My father is 91 and has had the disease for about 6 years. Over that time I've watched him decline and improve as we've tried various treatments on him. Overall, his condition has remained constant, which for us has been a good thing since Alzheimer's is known to be degenerative. I will spare the reader the trouble of hearing about all the remedies we've tried and cut right to the solution. Alzheimer's Disease is caused by a sleep disorder - specifically by a deficiency in delta sleep. I've gone over all the material again and again and find no reason whatsoever to doubt this conclusion. Every piece of the puzzle fits perfectly. How tempted I am to bore you with all the tidbits - but I won't. I will however set your thinking on the right path:

Research shows that Alzheimer's results when the brain is overloaded with toxic proteins such as amyloid-beta and tau proteins. The brain however has a mechanism for ridding itself of toxic proteins. If it didn't, we would all have Alzheimer's before we become toddlers. So the question is, why isn't that mechanism working in Alzheimer's patients? Researchers have been experimenting with ways to reduce these toxic proteins but have been ignored why they're building up in the first place. Our bodies use delta sleep to keep these toxic proteins in check. Again, I won't bore you with the details here. You can look them up yourself at your own leisure.

I spoke of a solution but that is somewhat of an overstatement. I have solved the riddle of the reason but do not know for certain yet how to respond to it. Still there are clues - clues I have no doubt will come together sooner or later (I pray sooner). In the meantime though, knowing the cause of the problem may help a lot in treating it. It may in fact be easier than expected. Often solutions, in hindsight, do appear to be obvious.

It strikes me that going to bed at an early hour rather than propping open your eyelids to watch TV would be beneficial. Sleep after all occurs in cycles, so it only makes sense to allow plenty of time for each cycle to be completed - not unlike the cycles of a washing machine. If people have trouble falling asleep, what is the cause of that trouble? It might be pain, stress or nagging problems keeping them awake. Medication, meditation or prayer might help. Maybe the bed itself is uncomfortable or maybe a person is eating too close to bedtime and waking up at night. The goal should be to get to sleep and stay asleep for a good 8 hours, or even longer if you find yourself just really worn out. As we get older, it becomes harder to do the things we did when we were younger, so it's only natural those would make us more tired. But ironically, we find ourselves sleeping fewer hours as we age - not more. Our responsibilities or habits force us out of bed regardless of how many hours we've actually slept. This is not good. Lack of sleep makes us muddle-headed, forgetful and irritable - not much different from people with Alzheimer's.

But why is Alzheimer's happening much more now than decades ago? What's changed? As I just mentioned, something as seemingly benign as late night television or video games may be keeping us out of bed. It could be e-mails, our computer or social media sites robbing us of sleep. But it could also be new medications that weren't around 50 years ago. I was taking a blood pressure medication called Toprol XL for a while. But I had to stop taking it though I found myself unable to remember things during the day at work. I literally could not remember a 3-digit number long enough to write it down. My doctor had no explanation for this symptom but switched my prescription nevertheless. Then, while talking with my father one day and listening to him complain about the same problem, I learned he was also taking Toprol XL and had been for quite a while. I assumed the forgetfulness was directly related to the medication, but suppose the cause was more subtle. What if the medication was interfering with his and my ability to achieve delta sleep. I recently switched to another blood pressure medication called Lisinopril. I asked the doctor if any side-effects had been reported. He mentioned hearing of only one - weird dreams. "Weird" turned out to be an understatement. I knew after only a few days that I wanted nothing to do with Lisinopril. So what lessons can we maybe learn from this? You probably know as well as I do that more people in the U.S. are taking high blood-pressure medication than ever before. Based on the experiences I've just related, I suspect some of them may be disrupting their natural sleep cycle and inhibiting delta sleep from doing it's good work.

We are now removing all stimulants from my dad's diet. As he seems to want to nap all the time, we're going to let him, but quietly in bed instead of on the sofa with the TV on where he always seems to keep one eye open. I've observed that our bodies seem to naturally want to do the things needed to make us well, like producing body aches that force us to rest when we catch a cold or sneezing to expel pollen and airborne viruses. I believe my dad's constant sleepiness is his body's way of trying to place itself into delta sleep. And oddly enough, my dad sometimes talks and sings in his sleep and makes perfect sense while he's doing it. His memory for tunes and lyrics during these times (which can last or hours) is nothing short of remarkable. So perhaps the benefits of sleep are already being seen during his unconscious hours and now we merely need to bring them back to the surface in his waking hours.

D.A.K's picture

hey i sleep everyday for ten

hey i sleep everyday for ten hours at the most but im still dying from lack of sleep whats going on?

Hyperzombia's picture

There are MANY things that

There are MANY things that can cause constant tiredness. I have Idiopathic Hypersomnia, which simply means "tired all the time and we don't know why"

You won't know much until you see your doctor. He might find something or he might have to refer you to a sleep specialist.

If you are on facebook, feel free to join the Idiopathic Hypersomnia facebook group to learn more and talk to people who feel the same way you do.

maria's picture

hard sleeping for 4 mos already

Hi I just want to know how can i overcome this situation I'm right now its been so long already hard to get sleep for 4 months now and my personality is change. Can I ask help on how to go thru this one.

Hyperzombia's picture

See your doctor!

See your doctor!

Noemi's picture

Severe sleep deprivation

So i went weeks without sleeping literally because of some things that happened
I got freaked out one night cause i am usually able to sleep 10 full hrs but due to the things that i went
Through i just couldn't that night and plus i was already sleeping at abnormal hrs and was already sleep deprived .
I freaked out and i ended up having a panic attack my body needed that rest .
i ended up sleeping that night but not my full hours . The next weeks i went through a battle with insomnia
I was so scarred because i had read online that if you dont sleep for 5 days you die so i was already paranoid stupid
Lie you don't die -_- ! But i was already paranoid as heck anyway i ended up in a mental hospital to receive treatment and for the next 4 months up to now
I have still not slept well ! My body feels so hard to function .
I have double vision and I'm just exhausted everyday i dont feel like the same
Person anymore . i felt my brain overlapping from lack of sleep .
This has been the toughest time of my life .
I wonder if i will ever be the same person i feel like i messed up permanently my body function /;
i wonder that if i start to sleep better these symptoms will go away ?? Anyone know?
this has been ruining my life i am in a deep depression and have thought about suicide but im hanging im there in hopes of a better future

Andrew Z.'s picture

The longest I've gone is

The longest I've gone is three days, but I was active, in school. I noticed a major LOSS in appetite, a major GAIN in my appetite for nicotine, and a short attention span. My temper was also very short. My coordination was shit. Skating and hacky sack were terrible, and loud noises seemed especially harsh. Just thought I'd share my experiences with sleep deprivation.

Marie-Claire's picture

This may help you

I had trouble sleeping for 10 years and finally I made myself a recording now available as an app called iSleepDeeply.This coupled with herbs called Inner Calm really helped. Finally sleeping through the night. I am not making money on these endorsements. I just want to help. Not sleeping well is so frustrating.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I did the same thing but my head felt like it was spinning and i stayed up for 9 days then i couldnt take it nomore

Dimitrios's picture

my girl friend is driving me crazy

Hi, My girl friend who is 54 years old only sleeps 2-3 hours per night and wakes me up all the time. I cant go back to sleep after that because I have arthritis and rhumatism which is extremely painfull. I tell her that she needs help and she says that her doctor told her that if she gets 3 hours of (good sleep) she is fine. she is argumentative,stubborn and doesnt let me finish a sentance...She has mood swings and is often short tempered. we have stupid arguments and while we are arguing, she repeats what has happened in our fights. What can I do for her and also I am suffering from sleep depravation due to all of this>


Constantine's picture

Could my brain be rewired?

Hi everyone,

Several months ago, I was challenged from many ways in life, including academically and professionally, and I was forced to stay up for many nights and study, diet, exercise vigorously while being under constant stress. This kind of situation lasted for about 4 months, at which point sleep wouldn't give me a sense of refreshment any more. Since then, I started to live healthy, joyful life but fatigue, brain fog, sleepiness, and dark circles still stayed there. I got tested for almost everything, Sleep study is fine, blood tests are fine, organs work fine, no Lyme, no food-intolerance, no Candida, no Leaky Gut, no infections, thyroid is fine, and I don't suffer from a depression. This brings me to the idea that my brain during that stressful period got rewired in such a way that now when I sleep normally, it still doesn't get a rest, because its stuck in an alert mode. Honestly this is the only thought I have right now. I have no idea how to fix this issue though. Tried yoga, meditation, praying, hypnosis, EFT, alpha/beta/delta/theta waves, all of the relaxation techniques one could possibly find, but neither of them bring any relief. So tell me your thoughts about it, do you think my hypothesis could be right? What should I do to make my brain switch to the mode of rest during my sleep period?

Thanks in advance,


Leanne's picture

Cant sleep think iam going insane

Reading all of the as posts have defenatly help me as like rest of you a haven't slept now for almost 48hrs my moods are up and down my husband actually thinks i have manic depressive me myself know its down to not sleeping with my mood swings mines has been happening for two years now thinking back befor that a think on and off I've always had it but no where as bad as what it's like now it's got that bad now last weekend I went out for a drink with friends and husband last thing I can remember speaking with a friend walking out an exit to back entrance of our local then I black out slightly came round for a minute with my husband lifting me into friends car then I blacked out again woke up wide awake at 4pm couldn't remember a thing apart from that last 10minutes speaking with friend that was at 9ish need I see yes that's scared the hell out of me so iam defenatly wanting this looked into iam going to doctors tomorrow I like yourselfs workout at gym live an active lifestyle and have tried everything its driving me mental so frustrating don't get me there's times when I could laugh my head off because of no illusinating this morning a woke up with mobile ringing so started looking for iPhone a don't own an iPhone it's a samsung I've got a clicked onto this hours later couldn't stop laughing but anyway as I was saying reading all your post has made me feel better ie am not alone and imagining it

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sleep Issues

Hi. I am 26 years old. I have for some odd reason haven't been asleep for 16 hours straight and counting (the longest I've been awake before in a similar incident was 36 hours). I have tried things from relaxing sounds, laying down in cool dark quiet rooms, warm bathes, massages, OTC products and Ambien. The only thing that they lead to is upset stomach and frustration. Since been awake, I haven't had an appetite for food or anything to drink. I haven't used the rest room (I know that's a little personal) and I still have all this energy. I am very unsure why this is happening. I have had this happen before but not the appetite and bathroom issues. I do not smoke, drink or anything like that. There hasn't been any changes in my diet, personal or professional relationships and financial issues.

I wanted to come to this forum to see if I can get at least a lead on why this is happening.

I did want to add something though. I know that this might be a little personal but recently (September 26, 2012 at 11:45 am to be exact) I was involved in a hit and skip accident. I was checked out at the hospital and they did all the scans and said that I was alright. Do you think that might be a factor as well in this incident?

And with the previous incident (where I stayed up for 26 hours straight) I was having irregular menses as well. I am not sure if that has any link to any additional chemicals in my brain or lacking therein.

I need your insight. And I do apologize for the personal information.

bret's picture

sleep deprived

how can i make my body shut down without the aid of a pill? my name is bret, i end up staying awake for days at a time. i find it hard to sleep, but when i do i find that my body just shuts down i do not drift to sleep slowly it is more of a sudden thing.

Joe Falanchy's picture

whos S.L?

whos S.L?

Krisis's picture

For the first time in my life

For the first time in my life I went through real sleep deprivation this past weekend - due to work. I had a whole book translation to hand in today and my dearest pc (as well as my backup drive) decided to die on Thursday. Rotten luck. The only thing I could think of was to work like hell and not sleep, and yeah, as I'm sitting here now and typing, it did sort of work. But I would never do that to myself again.
I have never been so over-emotional, over-dramatic and irrational in my life. (And I'm not a stranger to moodswings.) Day 1 I was fine, I've pulled allnighters before. By day 2 I was getting a little emotional and weepy, possibly because I couldn't relax, I had to work - I might have coped with the lack of sleep better if it hadn't been for that, as someone who's fond of partying I'm usually able to hold up at least 36-40 hours without much effect.
About 50 hours in or so I was becoming irrational. I wasn't even translating properly and was working very slowly, because my brain didn't want to budge. But it simply didn't occur to me that the sensible thing to do would be take a few hours of sleep so that I could actually be productive. No, I soldiered on. Usually I'm a rational person, but there was none of my level-headedness in evidence this weekend.
About 72 hours in I was lashing out at my mother on the phone, alternating between giggling and crying, feeling hopeless, depressed, constantly talking to myself (I do this anyway sometimes =P but not on this level). By the 4th evening (last night) - I really actually contemplated suicide when I realised I had somehow missed the translating of one of the 30 chapters (and I'm the uber-positive sort who has never ever even thought of suicide for a moment.)
This morning, I started hallucinating. I saw, for some reason, my car in the study with me all the time. I knew my car was in the garage, definitely not in the study, but every time I looked around, there it was. I have never hallucinated in my life, it was kind of trippy, and funny in hindsight.
Fortunately, this morning I also managed to finish the work - fairly shoddily, but finished nonetheless. Then I headed to bed and managed to finally sleep for 6 hours, so I'm typing this without being sleep-deprived. I still feel shitty though (but shitty is much better than the batshit insane torturous existence I was experiencing before...) - you can actually physically feel the strain you've put on your body and your brain through by not sleeping, even afterwards. I would never ever do that again. Never. It was hell.
(I wanted to share this just because I wanted to remember it myself, and needed to write about the weird twilight zone of a weekend I had.) Also, I seem to be waking up after falling asleep every hour or so. It's not a big problem because I roll right back to sleep, but I usually sleep uninterrupted. Is there something one can do about this?

Serendip Visitor's picture

No sleep

I can't find anyone who has a sleep pattern like mine. Everyone seems to get a few hours of sleep a night. My sleep pattern for the last few months is I stay up 7-8 days with out even resting my eyes once. The first few days i constantly switch from a "zombie" personality to a easily aggitated personality. After 5 days of no sleep I start "hearing voices" but all the voice says is my name "Ricky" over and over. The voices never scare me because I'm always aware that it's just from lack of sleep. Days 6-7 I start having extremely long panic attacks that last about 12 hours. Then day 8 I have visual hallucinations of objects having like a breathing affect. Then I pass out for about a 12 hour deep sleep and when I wake up I can't sleep another 7-8 days and the cycle continues .
If anyone has a sleep pattern like mine please let me know. The last few months of my life has been a very weird and annoying experience

Serendip Visitor-sister.'s picture

DSM-V & sleep deprivation

Can you contact the American Psychologists' Association (APA), to suggest that they include sleep deprivation's many cognitive effects? I've written, but I think they need documentation. Instead of rushing to put someone on psych meds, and THEN asking what the problem is, send them to a sleep study first. The Diagnostics Statistical Manual V (DSM-V) is being prepared for printing in 2013, and it should include lots more about sleep deprivation. I was awake for a year, but now that I'm through with being without my home, I do a little better, with estazolam helping.
Many of the reports of others in this article are about escaping reality, like a drug, staying awake for long periods of time, to TRY to hallucinate.
This one is from one who cares, and wants results, before a diagnosis.
It's too bad the mental illness profession only expects us to get worse. Their poisons make sure of it.
God Bless and Heal all of us, and Make them stop using labels. In Your Whole Name. amen.
We're merely challenged, and the only thing to relieve it is much sleep.

mehdi almousavie's picture


thanks for you and all who wrote this paragraph becuse ineed that to finish my high school project and can i be one of the people who can help you to find new things thanks @@@@@@@@@@@

missqm's picture

i did not sleep for 4 weeks and did not eat much at all

I was very depressed and then there was a lot of stress and i did not sleep for 4 weeks. I feel totally damaged after this experience. I did not sleep let alone eat, now i have reached the otherside after avoiding being comitted 2 times I am a wreck and cant see me ever being the same again. I am totally manic and just repeat my regrets over and over and now after a few searches on this subject I realise that I will never be the same again. I wish there was help and it would just go away. I cant do anything dont work cant pay my bills and my kids have seen it all. Im so scared I just want my mind back but I say I have been bipolar for a long time but due to isolation never realised the symptons, just thoght was stress, but i ground out my teeth and was always having panic attacks and never went to the doctors about it. Now i have totallyu destroyed my life. A good looking female with ahlf a brain over looked all the symptons due to stress and just let it go and now I am a totally useless human being who does not want to be committed but i cant look after myself on a da to day basis and dont eat much at all, went down to 50kilos. I wish someone could please hlep me be normal again. I say the damage done to the frontal lobes cannot be reversed or I would be ok now. I just dont understand how i let myself get this far, why i did not pay attention to all the symptons. Had a stressful life so just put it down tot he constant day to day stress and the bullying i used to suffer on a day to day basis online with my job. Cant even get on a plane let alone leave the house.

Serendip Visitor Ms M's picture

Reply to miss q m

You need to be positive, you can be the same person again, you just need help. I didn't sleep some ten years ago, for a few months and it definitely altered my state of mind. Like you, I didn't eat and lost a stone in weight in 3 mths. Depression is a terrible thing, caused by lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, but it can be overcome and you can be normal again. Please confide in someone and get help. You need to be able to relax and I know you may think this is silly, but have you tried a milky drink before bedtime such as Horlicks?! There is something in milk apparently that induces sleep. Also try a lavender pillow or soothing oils on a tissue near your pillow. Don't have tea or coffee as that keeps you awake. I also found that praying helped but I understand not everyone believes. Positive thinking is the key, as with any illness. You have to tell yourself you are going to sleep. Your lack of sleep has made you negative which is understandable, but it's no-one's fault. You have to eat, to nourish your mind as well as your body. Even if it's just a milky drink, it'll help. I believe damage can be reversed. You have every reason to be depressed with what has happened to you and lack of sleep but you need to look after yourself and seek help and believe you can and will get better. That goes for every single one of us. Your life has not been totally destroyed, you are still here and we only have one life. Take care and bless you and everyone who suffers from insomnia.

sheryashasha's picture

deprive sleep avoid

just think and then obey your self

Serendip Visitor's picture

Willingly Depriving Ones Self of Sleep

I must truly say that I may be special... I recently have had a lot of thoughts on sleep, and continuing to locate research on the topic, but I would really like to know what is wrong with no sleep. I have been awake for 132 hours, and am aiming for be the previously "recorded" record of 449 hours, and I am 16 years old.

Serendip Visitor's picture

my great grandpa was

my great grandpa was tourtured in WWII at a japenese pow camp by not being allowed to sleep

Serendip Visitor's picture

"This could involve lying

"This could involve lying awake but relaxed within a quite environment" Stopped reading here. If you can't differentiate between 'quiet' & 'quite' then you should QUITE simply stay QUIET.

Serendip Visitor's picture


just had to point out I thought the same for a second.. then continuing about 2 sentences later the writer had spelled it properly.

Clearly a typo..

Arpad  West's picture


i HAVENT SLEPT for 5 days now, and this time im going sleep. My docter told me today that i had high blod pressure and high temp. He wasent so sure what caused it. So i asked him."Could this do anything with me noting sleeping for five days".. He said well why are you choosing not to sleep. I said I was just curious to find out what it feels like. He replied by saying Sleep deprivation can cause effects that slow down your day to night tasks. Its not good for your brain and body and it will be very hard for you to maintain your brain process and it can also do damage to your eating habit, speech, and vision. Vision was first thing that i asked him about. He replied by saying vision can duble and hulucinations can come along with il. I was not pleased with that. So now i know and now im going to sleep get my body restored I advice you to do the same.

Theresa Mayen 's picture

Need help

I have not sleep probably in 20 days my mix hours of sleeping durin this time is 35 hours I think am losing it now I start hearing things that aren't there I even forget where I place things and start looking around for something that I have right in my hand I recently black out three time And cough blood that's was very shoking for me because am not a smoker I truly need help

Soldier's picture

The military is a great Organization to study.

I went thru Ranger school. We were starved and sleep deprived for days on end. We were each in a state called "Droning". It was unreal, because your mind knew how to function far fastider than you could make concious decisions. It showed the instructors that we were mentally "wired" correctly.

Serendip Visitor's picture

i know this stuff

hi my name is austin,,,
this appears to be a very interesting site.. and i am very intrigued and thankful for the information given..
i was diagnosed schizophrenic about 5 years ago now.. well schizo affective which is like schizophrenia and bipolar combined .. anyhow .. like with most chemical
imbalances .. one of my ever recurring symptoms is insomnia.. ... i don't know if any of you are familiar with orthomolecular therapy but i would recommend it to any trying a safe alternative to pharmaceuticals. a dr. abram hoffer who has passed on now was a canadian psychiatrist responsible for incredible breakthroughs with mental health .. he learned that adrenachrome is a toxin that mental illness can generate .. mostly in schizos .. however this substance is not found in normal people .. when i was turning 25 i got sent to my first mental hospital because i had lost months of sleep and was suffering from severe delusions and auditory hallucinations. i had never had a mental health problem before that .. yet there is a speckling of the illness on my mother's side of the family .. anyhow i don't want to ramble i just wanted everyone to consider or google or even youtube the research available online about megavitamin therapy ..aka orthomolecular therapy.. this has helped me for a year and a half now. my sleep has been wonderful up until recent.. i am only now beginning to have difficulties sleeping once more.. i must steer clear from any caffeine and I've switched my diet to mostly organic and gluten free.. i have never had another delusion or hallucination while on the megavitamin therapy.. just to save you some time if you're interested and have a mental problem like me (no offense) the vitamin therapy is about 3-6 grams.. of vitamins b3 aka niacin and vitamin c .... thats it!!!! i tac on a good probiotic and some melatonin just for safe measure but seriously if you know anyone with problems this therapy has been tried and tested extensively in canada.. not too popular in the US because of our pharmaceutical loyalties i suppose.. listen it has been proven to cure 90 percent of mental illness!!!! as opposed to the 10 percent that require pharmaceuticals ... there is hope for the hopeless.. one warning though do not take extended release or sustained release niacin or c.. at that high dosage liver damage has been reported.. and since the vitamin c gives your liver the boost it needs to process the niacin you cannot have either niacin nor c be an extended release or you may experience problems .. and one more thing .. the c and the b3 need to be taken at same amount.. i suppose more c could be allowed than niacin but not the other way around.. too much niacin and not enough vitamin c and your body will not be able to properly process the niacin .. i learned that the hard way .. spent a night vomiting severely and repetitively all night long.. so other than those few warnings there are no reported deaths by overdose with niacin and no real harmful side effects.. there is a flush a niacin flush but compared to the pharmacy i'll take the heat.. . anyhow i am no doctor . on the contrary i mentioned before that i am schizophrenic .. however there are not to many like me in the US who have found this therapy ... it is so sad what i have seen in the mental hospitals of this country .. so so .. so sad .. it took me four years to find this particular therapy .. it is the most inexpensive way to treat mental problems besides ignoring them and hoping they go away .... i pray this can help someone else as much as it has helped me .. thanks again for this website..God bless us all!!!

Serendip Visitor's picture

Thanks dude

I share your distrust of pharmaceuticals (for good reason...see a book called Profession & Monopoly). Thanks for your insight and what worked for you. Currently going through similar difficulties with a loved one, and I don't want him on drugz. What you wrote was really helpful and I wanted you to know!

Dawn M. Nevills's picture

Vitamin B Deficiency and Psychosis/Psychotic Epidsodes

It is very exciting to hear that you have experienced at least a measure of success with respect to chemical links between Vitamin B deficiency - which can often be corrected over a long period of time, noticeably with a change in diet which includes an increase in leafy greens like spinach - and mental health issues.

I first discussed this at length with a traditional medicine man from the Walpole Island Reserve in Ontario, Canada, while I was teaching as an Associate Professor at Lambton College, in Sarnia, Ontario, and he was convinced, after presenting me with a gift of traditional sweet grass (I visited him after one of his diabetic problems caused some health issues, in the local hospital), after many years of observation, (as am I) that much work needs to be done in treating and studying mental health issues by FIRST approaching these dietary issues, examining diet and intake, and working in a "complementary alternative medicine environment" (thank you, Dr. Richard Cheong, for both your sensitivity, your kindness, and your clear intelligence, with respect TO this respectful approach, which has proven, time and time again, to address issues in a meaningful, and culturally-sensitive manner, without a preponderance of both experimentation and overprescribing of prescription drugs as the first approach) with the larger medical community - including sensitive and truly responsive medical practitioners - including herbal dietary technicians, and traditional healers.
God Bless you in your brave journey, and I hope that you are able to find healing people who will listen to you, first and foremost, and consider your own efforts, as they look for ways to help you - whatever approach it takes for success to be achieved. That is why they call it "the medical practice". Like every human being, no solution is ever quite the same, the next time......

Serendip Visitormark yaun's picture

also schizo-affective

thank you so much for your article. if this remedy is as successful as you say it is , your article may be the most imortant one ive ever read. My mental illness "ride" began in 1989 and has been quite a trip. I was an aspiring athelete at college and had a paranoid manic breakdown that sent me to a psychiatric hospital. The doctors diagnosed me as manic-depressive incorrectly and put me on lithium. What a horror, I gained 90 pounds over the next year because of the lithium and a forgetful "blocking out" of memory of my athletic fervor.(running 10 miles a day). i also injured my foot prior 2 hospitalization ,from running 10 miles in high top basketball shoes because I couldnt find my running shoes. An inexperienced physician was convinced I had :bone cancer". What an idiot. I ran from him. The next 23 years involved many psychiatrists and different labels. finally 5 years ago they settled on me being pshizo affective and ive been failing ever since on abilify, neurontin and resperidol! 23 years of delusions of grandeur, voices in my head , 6 or 7 hospitalizations(hell)., negative attitude and poor lifestyle choices, low self esteem leading to bottom of the barrel girlfriend involvements when i can play "fur elise" perfectly for memory on the piano,and shoot a basketball like a professional ball-player, read and write french poetry, and bowl a 200 game. even kick ass on jeopardy.

Serendip Visitor&#039;s mom's picture


:) ok bobby

Serendip Visitorjuan j gonzalez's picture

can.t sleep

I can't sleep I been at the doctor many times ,they gimme some medicine but that don't help, I even have one of those machines to provide with air but don't seen to help what can I do please help I don't wanna go insane..,,,

Jasleen Dhillon's picture

I'm recently studying in

I'm recently studying in tenth standard and I am having a keen interest in knowing more and more about sleep deprivation after I've seen the movie ''A NIGHTMARE ON THE ELM STREET '' . I saw it in 2010 and it pushed me to know more . Its great to study about all this from other people's real life experiences. Thanks for such webpages !!!

winnie's picture

lack of sleep

I am a 42 year old woman has has had chronic insomnia for about eleven years now. It started when I had a small problem and had to be in court the following day. I was so worried about this case that I went all night without sleeping, even after the case was dismissed I never got my sleep back. I go days without having any sleep at all, I had to quit my job because I just could not function at work. My husband has taken the responsibility of providing all these years. Right now My brain is not getting any rest at all and am constantly feeling like my brain is going to pop open any minute. At night my head feel so heavy that I can hardly move my head from one side to another. I constantly feel like the is water in my head and I hear this sound like broken bottle in my head. I am so worried about what this is doing to my overall health that this leaves me sad all day. I have tried over the counter sleep medications and even prescript medications that one worked for the first or two nights and then stopped. I have made up my mind that I am not got to take any medication again until I am able to see a doctor when I am able to get health insurance. If anybody has any advise or feel the same way please contact me.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I am 42 and Ive being going thru the same thing for quite some, I just went see an accupunture Dr today I will let you know if it works

Hollywood132's picture

people are smart

I just spent a couple hours reading all of these and i have to say they all sound pretty good.

Jen needs better sleep's picture

The negative effects of sleep deprivation, get better sleep

I think the best way to get better sleep is to practice good sleep hygiene (sleep habits) is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. So far, it's helping me feel more rested, giving me better focus and energy. I still have a long way to go, but it's helpful.

OMG I NEED SOME HELP!!!! LOL's picture

i have a reaserch project.

so i have this project that i did on sleep deprivation and the affects and everything. so far i have alot done. but i was wondering if there is anything that you all find to be extremly important in this paper because i found a lot of good stuff but i dont know what is the best. i take alot of pride in my work and i hope that you people are kind enough to help me out. thank you to all the people that are willing to comment on this. :)

Serendip Visitor's picture


Very scholarly article and well cited, I see written for a bio 202 class? Kudos to the author, but the comments on here, I'm sorry, if you really have sleep deprivation that badly you should be seeing a doctor about it, instead of asking people on some common forum. Sure, it's actually amusing reading some of the "experiences" on here; but come ON, people addicted to drugs and alcohol sharing their stories because they can't sleep? Kick the mental health issues for with addiction services and/or counselling. (probably not the best people to be taking advice from, just a thought) Also, to the alcoholic who "quit 4 days ago" and can't sleep...your body is going into what us medical professionals like to call the DTs. Does anyone on here know that quitting a serious alcohol addiction stone cold can kill you? Hard street drugs you might hallucinate with and get some shakes, but withdrawal is not considered medically life threatening. Perhaps some of you should check out your local health clinics and sort your shit out. The comments on here are just too much!!

holroydmike116's picture


I went through several intensive courses while in the Army that involved ed sleep deprivation. We learned that sleep can be somewhat controlled by biofeedback and practice. Although I sometimes do have sleep problems theft are quite easily resolvable if a person is of sound mind and I'd willing.