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Experiments with Sleep (and its Deprivation)


Meteo Xavier
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I think I tried this once before but didn't get anywhere. I didn't sleep last night because I was more interested finding out my Facebook account is still alive and using it to burn bridges with flames so high they scorched hell and licked heaven. I find it impossible to sleep really easily, so it was easier to just stay up.

But by 3:00 PM, after work, I couldn't take it, so I did what I hate doing and went upstairs for a nap.

Three hours later, I woke up thinking it was April 14th. Literally. My brain had completely forgotten the last 3 weeks and I scrambled to get my business project homework out the door. Think 50 First Dates.

So, and this is an interest project for me, I wonder if anyone else has fits of bizarre activity related to sleep. I'll start off by sharing one more.

I have lived in this apartment for 3 years now. I set up my bedroom from day one and haven't changed it since. Yet, 3-4 times a week, I wake up in the middle of the night and fully believe the posters change at night. Completely different set each time. I can't figure out why I keep doing this.

Anyone else want to share?

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Whenever I'm deprived of sleep and immediately go to bed from finishing up some project I'm working on or writing something (basically from really high mental stimulation while tired to complete rest), I suffer really bad fits of sleep paralysis over and over but can't sleep. I have to get up and walk around for a bit before I can actually fall asleep.

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Do you ever do that thing where your mind is straddling the line between being asleep and being awake.. like, you're awake and moving and somewhat controlling, but you're delusional and there's an idea aching in your head, like what I did last month when it bothered me all night that there are women in this world with hairy anuses?

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I have things like that but I don't get thoughts, I have a semi-dream that involves falling somehow and I wake up spasming.

Weird, eh?

I've gone a week on end with maybe an hour of sleep per night. (That's an average)

Best grades I've ever gotten in school came during that week.

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Lets see:

- I've woken up still seeing an object from the dream lying on the floor but when I went to reach for it went away -- that only happened once. Its possible I was still dreaming when I saw it, but I really thought it was there. I think it was a pirate's gun or something random like that.

- I've had sleep paralysis -- not being able to move for about 30 seconds after waking up. Also the thing where you sleep on a body part and cut off the circulation, and then you can't move it for a minute or two, or you can but it doesn't do what you're trying to make it do. Scary stuff. Luckily, it hasn't happened much.

- As far as deprivation goes, I've stayed up for just over 48 hours, and at that point I might have seemed relatively insane has been talking to anyone, and seeing spots and occasional flash was pretty normal. I could probably break my own record, but I'm not sure I'll ever want to try just because it sucked so badly. Not to mention the 20 hour sleep I had afterward -- felt like I woke up from a coma.

Mostly though, sleeping is one of the best things in life. People who don't sleep much usually claim that its a waste of time, but how can something so pleasant be a waste of time? Not to mention the fact that memories are usually stored better during sleep, and sleep is great for letting your brain sort things out.

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Hmm...this is all very intersting. I'm taking Psychology 101 this quarter and we just covered sleep and dreaming. Since I'm no psychologist and don't plan to be, and since we've only covered the absolute basics, I find it pretty weird that one would forget everything they've stored in their brain due to a day of sleep deprivation. Interesting stuff man.

As for my own experiences...

-I've never actually been able to pull a real, actual "all-nighter" in which I stay awake for 24 hours. I may get to like 10 am, but by then I just end up knocking out.

-Sleep paralysis sucks ass. My mind keeps making me think that I'm moving my hands and arms, but when my eyes open a bit I see they're not moving at all. Then without any recognizable transition I'm in a dream again where I manage to walk around the house and stuff, to "prove" to myself that I'm really awake. Hate it.

-I sleep, but I don't get replenished, which makes me think that I have a sleep disorder. Possibly sleep apnea, because my dad has it. I sleep for a pretty long time, but never feel replenished when I wake up, except at the end of very vivid dreams, which come like once a month :-(

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So far, everybody who has mentioned sleep paralysis has talked about it during their waking stage. That's interesting: I've never experienced it while waking.

And I've never been able to fall asleep through one either. I guess the crushed, not-being-able-to-move, attack of a voice becoming increasingly loud and increasingly quiet accompanied by a slight ringing is too stressful to ignore. Damn fight or flight. Apparently you can easily enter a lucid dreaming state from sleep paralysis because you know you're asleep...... oh well, not for me I guess.

Here's to hoping I didn't derail a thread :?

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One time I passed out in the middle of my living room floor. I kept having this dream where I would wake up and then something crazy would happen. Then I would realize I was in a dream and "wake up" inside another dream. When I finally truly woke up, I couldn't tell if I was in a dream or not and for about half an hour or so I was in this really odd limbo.

I've never had sleep deprivation really do anything to me except I fall asleep and I think that I'm still awake. Then I actually wake up and realize I was asleep. I hate that.

I can't have lucid dreams. As soon as I realize I'm in a dream, I force myself awake.

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You sleep-deprived posters need to take Melatonin supplements. They're better (and much more healthy) than falling asleep drunk!

I've taken them a few times. Good stuff, especially if you like vivid dreams, though I have a feeling adding chemically synthesized melatonin to your brain isn't exactly healthy though. Still far better than any other sleeping drug though.

Also good for having nice dreams is a sleep playlist of good music turned down just enough so you can barely hear it. Nostalgic songs work wonders. Also a lot of Oblivion and Chrono Cross music is excellent sleeping music.

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Mostly though, sleeping is one of the best things in life. People who don't sleep much usually claim that its a waste of time, but how can something so pleasant be a waste of time? Not to mention the fact that memories are usually stored better during sleep, and sleep is great for letting your brain sort things out.

Sleep is not pleasant. Which leads to my wierd sleep problems.

1. Pavlovian nightmare response. It tends to take me a long and uncomfortable time to fall asleep and once I AM asleep it means seeing, and vividly feeling, everything from lovecraftian horrors to Unpleasant Memories. I'll automatically try to avoid going to sleep until I'm SURE that I'll be falling under very quickly and just being done with it.

2. It seems my body is utterly convinced that the day is ~28 hours long instead of 24 and i'm in a different timezone. I naturally tend to go to sleep around 5am and get up around 1-2pm and then the schedule slowly rotates around the clock because I'll try to be awake and sleep longer than 24 hour cycles.

3. Wonky sleep appetites. If I get up at noon to 2pm I'm fine until I go to sleep around 4-6am, if I try to get up at ANY normal daytime time and stay awake during daylight I'll be falling down tired from almost 2-4pm until sundown.

Overall I'd say that No1 is the biggest problem because if I didn't utterly despise the possibility of dreaming so much I'd probably be more willing to deal with the other two.

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2 and 3 applies to me as well seeing as my default state is awake, and I generally don't sleep unless I make a conscious effort. However, exercise has helped a lot with that, though my sleep patterns are little too random to pin down. Might help you as well.

Dreams should generally be good, so maybe you're tricking your mind with pessimism or bad expectations. Or maybe you need a sleep playlist, lol.

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More than three full days with no sleep? Not even sketchy semiconscious half-sleep?

I'm pretty sure you'd die. Literally.

Nah, I've done it, 3 full days without sleep. The last day I felt I was going to become insane because I couldn't focus on anything, the real world was getting distorted as it was getting mixed with crazy thoughts that I think were dreams I was having while actually being awake. Scary but interesting.

I go for 2 days without sleep sometimes, specially when I have a trip with my friends to somewhere fairly far. Mostly because we spend the night before drinking and leave in the morning.

When I go for long periods of time without sleeping and then try to sleep it can go in 2 different ways but it's always the same. Either I go to sleep and fall like a brick and don't wake up till 12-16 hours later, or I have problems sleeping with sleep paralysis, nightmares, etc.

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Actually around 10 or 11 days an average person would be dead without sleep.

Heck the longest any person had gone without sleep was 14 days and 13 hours as it was held as a Guiness World Record before they decided to back away from it for health reasons...

There was also a contest called Touch the Truck where the last person touching the truck would win it; the winner stayed awake for 81 hours 43 minutes and 31 seconds. That's a little over three days...

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- I've had sleep paralysis -- not being able to move for about 30 seconds after waking up.

I've had that shit happening to me all the time when I was in college, except it was scary as hell, because I couldn't even breathe either.

Anyway, I usually sleep only 3 nights a week. So I confirm: it's very possible...

Just don't push your luck if you have any kind of heavy physical activities planned at some point. ;-)

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I've taken them a few times. Good stuff, especially if you like vivid dreams, though I have a feeling adding chemically synthesized melatonin to your brain isn't exactly healthy though.

As my Neurologist said, it's safer than taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Now, that's not so bad, is it?

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Man, if I wasn't busy up my ass, I could fill this whole topic with stories.

Here's a good one, just before I got out of high school I weird, twisting episode as I was trying to sleep. Its hard to describe, mostly like an hour of melting, flashing lights, shadows moving around, trying to fit inside my skin, reshaping muscles, doors closing and chairs appearing. All kinda just stirring together into a godless swirl of nonsense.

When I woke up the next morning at 6:00 AM, my dad was just finishing telling my brothers that "Y'know what [Meteo] did last night? He came into my room at like 3:00 in the morning to tell me little Squaresoft employees put a bomb in his room."

Totally true story.

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