The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

Drug Abuse of the Past Still Urges My Body to Catch Up On Lost Sleep

Although I try to plan to get up early on my free day's, I never succeed. I'll use today as an example: last night I fell asleep around midnight (24.00hr) and had set my 4 alarm clocks around 7.00hr.

At 7 am this morning my alarms went of, and as always.. the urge to sleep was much stronger than the will to get up, I slept until noon.. for 12 hours.

It is weird, I am in my bed and I know that I promised myself to get up at 7 am, but my body is telling me to sleep on.

After awakening I asked my body what is wrong. Why cant I get up? I got several answers, so I went on the internet and looked for confirmation which I found here. I have a sleep dept.

When I was younger I was a party girl. We went from disco to disco and used speed and other drugs to stay awake. I kept my body awake for days in a row, all for about 6 years. I never missed a week of full time partying, meaning I missed out on A LOT of sleep back then.

After I quit the drugs and partying (8 years ago) I started noticing I still needed a lot of sleep and still it seems I am catching up.

On days I have to work, I sleep around 4-6 hours a night, so the days that I am am free I sleep for 12 hrs. Seems I have to be more cautious here as well and make sure I get more sleep on working days.

I take full responsibility for the dept I made when I was younger, I will respect my body's urge to sleep more when I can.

But I am looking forward to the day that I am able to create my day the way I want and not the way my body needs it...

Kevin: Thanks for sharing your story--it's very insightful and raises some interesting points. From what we know about sleep debt, we suspect that it doesn't rollover at exactly 100% through the years. That is, the hours of sleep debt you accumulated in your partying years may not *all* be with you still. It's kind of fuzzy knowledge. There's not too many specifics we know about why this is or how long the sleep debt takes to sort of dissolve on its own, but at least that's an interesting partial bit of good news.

So with that said, it sounds like the nights before your work days could really be the culprit. If your personal sleep need is 7 or 8 hours per 24, and your achieving 4-6 per night for 4 or 5 days a week, your immediate sleep debt is going to be enough to prompt your body to sleep in the extra 4 hours on days it can.

And I know what you mean about not being able to wake despite the intention to and the 4 alarms. If your sleep drive is strong enough--that is, your sleep debt is high enough and your clock-dependent alerting weak enough at that time of the day, the body's need is going to win out. (Either that or you're going to be at risk of falling asleep while driving or in other dangerous situations.)

There's a pretty hilarious music video about this (about the body winning out, not falling asleep at the wheel) at Some of the Stanford students created it last year.

Get that extra rest and you will be able to create the day exactly how you want it, without having to constantly listen to that oppressive sleep debt character!

All the best,

Comments for Drug Abuse of the Past Still Urges My Body to Catch Up On Lost Sleep

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 08, 2011
by: Anonymous

I talked to an old 'party' friend about this, he is unemployed, sober for 5 years and sleeps at least 12 hrs. in a row, each day.

I agree I must sleep more during the week.
Once I manage to do this I will keep you guys informed if I still need to catch up sleep on my free days or not. :-)

thank you for your response, keep up the good work!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to The Effects of Sleep Deprivation.

Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.