View Full Version : Chronic Sleep deprivation?

01-13-2011, 03:13 PM
I've been looking online for a while to find an answer to these questions, but everything seems to be very vague. So i was wondering if anyone here would know anything about chronic sleep deprivation?

So right now my characters are being slipped drugs to keep them awake. They are getting into irrational fights with each other, can barely eat due to exhaustion, and are already seeing hallucinations.

My first question is that after 6 days without sleep how server would these hallucinations be? A shadow out the corner of the eye, or hearing and seeing things that weren't there?

Now I know the longest any person has stayed awake is 11 days. But for someone under a lot of physical stress and awake for say 8-9 days, would there brain just shut down on them and force them to sleep? I know about micro-sleeps but what happens at that 10-11 day mark do you just black out because your body in unable to stay awake any longer?

Even under such drugs that would help a person stay awake such as high levels of ADHD medication for someone without ADHD would the person still suffer micro-sleeps and how long before the drug no longer has any real effect on keeping the person awake?

Thanks for reading and any information you have would be greatly appreciated!!

01-13-2011, 05:40 PM
I think you can't go so exactly, like "what happens at the 10-11 days mark", since sleep deprivation effects depend on age, person, food, stress, drugs and other circumstances.

Here's how the Randy Garden (http://web.bvu.edu/faculty/ferguson/Course_Material/polysomnographs/Sleep%20Deprivation%20Data/sleep_deprivation_effects.htm), a 17 old year student, has described his sleep deprivation symptoms from day two to eleven. He mentions his first hallucinations at day four, and "more hallucinations" at day five.

Robert Mcdonald has not slept for 453 hours (nearly 19 days).

01-13-2011, 05:49 PM
The longest I've gone without sleep is just a hair away from 50 hours.

I had some...interesting...experiences.

Drachen Jager
01-13-2011, 09:32 PM
I was one week with 2-3 hours a night followed by 72 hours straight with only a two hour nap and a fifteen minute stretch where I fell asleep standing up. My thinking was pretty hazy but when adrenaline kicked in I was pretty quick on my feet. The time I fell asleep standing up I was on guard at a gate and an officer drove up in a jeep, when he demanded to know why I was so slow I quickly replied that I had trouble finding the flashlight (we had to flash a code sequence to any vehicle and they would repeat the sequence).

The first night in a real bed I was sleepwalking and talking to my roommates though I can't remember what I said or did (they told me but I've forgotten).

01-14-2011, 02:26 AM
I once went four days without sleep, and another three on limited (two to four hours each cycle) for a total of a week with massive sleep deprevation. It was severely unpleasant.

I'm sure others' miles vary, but for me the hallucinations were quite severe and ranged from what you'd classically think of as a hallucination (items superimposed into reality) to something very peculiar--the mind actively removing objects from my vision. In other words, things that were there were, in effect, not rendered in my mind.

The other thing worth noting is that in my experience, which is pretty significant on the sleep loss front, you eat more, not less. Your body can overcome pretty considerable fatigue through increased calories, and there's an old SF axiom that with sufficient rations a soldier can carry on indefinitely (within reason, of course).

01-15-2011, 10:39 AM
Thanks for the information everyone. I've been a couple of days without sleep my longest probably about a week with only a few short naps. (I'm a chem major in college) thing was i never saw hallucinations. I would get panicky for no reason and when i was in my apartment late at night alone in the living room irrational stupid fears would pop into my head but i never actually saw anything. I guess everyone is different though.

01-19-2011, 05:33 PM
I've stayed awake maybe a couple of days at a time and would see vague things kind of out of the corner of my eye, shadows and sparks.

01-19-2011, 06:05 PM
I got paranoid and saw smoke rising from lots of things. Normal things like a person walking by the side of the road scared me; I wondered if they were real for a second before they registered, and that was frightening.

These are from 3 days. Exams and waiting tables during other schools' graduation parties (required to work them).

01-22-2011, 05:40 AM
When I was 16, my roommate and I decided on a particularly exciting Friday the 13th that we didn't want the day to end. So we made a bet on who could stay up the longest. With the help of Mini-thins, we both made it for seven days.

For me, the fatigue was the worst on the third day. I was yawning nearly uncontrollably and going in and out of micro-sleeps. By day four, I was sort of too tired to sleep, if that makes any sense.

I was able to keep up with my normal routine. I worked on the King Kong attraction at Universal Orlando. I drove back and forth to work, did my job, and spent the nights hanging out with friends. I had to spiel at work, and a few times I caught my spiel derailing into nonsense...probably a bit of a micro-sleep.

I never really had hallucinations exactly, but things started looking weird around day three. Sort of fuzzy around the edges, and colors were a bit brighter than usual. Friends told me later that I seemed agitated and edgy, both crankier and more hyper than usual (but some of that could have been the effects of the Mini-thins).

When it had been seven days to the hour, almost to the minute, roomie and I looked at each other. I don't remember who said it first, but we agreed to call it a draw. We giggled, hugged each other, and passed out. Like, literally both fell over onto her bed (we shared a room, and I suddenly couldn't make it to my bed), and were out before we hit the pillows. I slept for the next 24 hours, getting up only for water and bathroom. I couldn't stay awake long enough to eat. Neither of us had any ill effects beyond being tired and sort of draggy for another couple of days.