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The Five Stages of Sleep Deprivation

The Five Stages of Sleep Deprivation

By Contributor

Willow 908 is an expert on insomnia, narcolepsy, and errrvrything in between!—Sparkitors

As high school and college students, I'm sure you're all familiar with exhausting all-nighters, endless cram sessions, 3-hour naps, and the overwhelming desire to NEVER GET OUT OF BED. So, for your reading pleasure, I've put together a little list of the 5 stages of sleep deprivation—so that you'll be able to identify where on the sleep spectrum you're at.

1. “I’m sleepy for the first time in three months.”

Example: You’ve just been rudely awakened by your alarm clock after a long and satisfying summer of 8-10 hours of sleep each night. It doesn’t really matter that you stayed up late last night, since you “just know” that you’ll get plenty of sleep tonight. You’re sure that your body “needs to get into a routine,” and then you won’t feel sleepy in the mornings. Life and friends are exciting, so you jump quickly out of bed to get dressed.

Daytime prognosis: After 5 minutes out of bed, you feel great. Sleep is for the weak, anyway.

2. “Oh, my warm bed.”

Example: You are a month or two into the semester. Once again, you wake up right on schedule, but when you stick your toe out of bed this morning, you notice how much warmer your bed is than the surrounding air. You rub your eyes, put on something snuggly so you can pretend you’re still in bed, and walk carefully to the bathroom to get ready for school.

Daytime prognosis: After a comforting shower that takes longer than you intended (and possibly proves that humans can sleep standing up), you feel ready to go.

3. “Please let me sleep in.”

Example: You are hovering between October and November. Your alarm goes off at six as usual, but you pretend not to hear it just to get the extra time it takes for your mom to walk in with a bucket of ice. You beg for five more minutes once she gets you to admit you’re awake, but she makes you get up anyway. You trudge moodily to get ready for another day of studying, tripping over every dent in the floor.

Daytime prognosis: You’ll be fine, but it will take a bit of effort. By the time the cold air outside hits your face, you are ready to begin your day without any serious mental deficiencies. This is getting ridiculous—sleep is one of your RIGHTS, and if the teachers don’t start respecting that, you might have to sue someone.

4. “Give me sleep or give me death!”

Example: You can’t believe that Thanksgiving break was so short. You actually don’t hear the alarm go off, and your mother is almost forced to use her bucket of ice. However, when she finally gets you awake, the dark circles under your eyes cause her to spring away, shouting questions about how the vampire got you. After you explain that the vampire was actually an AP essay, she tells you to go back to sleep, for once. When your five minutes are up, she has to shake you awake. You shuffle to the bathroom, clutching everything in sight in a sad attempt to keep yourself standing.

Daytime prognosis: You aren’t going to stay awake for all of school today, no matter how much coffee you drink. Spanish has been nap-time for weeks, and more important classes are going that way, too. You are in a constant state of mental, social, and emotional breakdown. You cry when you see someone smile, your favorite song comes on the radio, or when your teacher tells you that you’re number two in the class instead of number one.

5. “The world is made of beautiful rainbows!”

Example: It’s less than two weeks until finals. You get up easily because you’ve reached the point where your brain can’t distinguish this level of tiredness from the daytime level. Yourmom advises you to drop out of school, but you don’t know what she’s talking about. You crawl to the bathroom, falling over multiple times along the way, and once there, you forget what you came to do.

Daytime prognosis: You can’t get over how wonderful the whole world is, especially since many rainbows have appeared at your school overnight. You are probably operating on half a deck here, but that doesn’t—WAS THAT A UNICORN?!!

What stage are you at? We're at a hard 5. In fact, our eyes aren't even open right now—we're just THAT GOOD AT TYPING.

Related post: Are You Sleep-Deprived? Are You Sleeping Right Now? Is This ALL A DREAM?!

Topics: School, Life
Tags: sleep, high school, studying, sleeping, all-nighters, sleeping in, sleep-deprivation, exhaustion, cram sessions

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