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.

Sleep Deprivation Ruined My High School Years

by Joseph

When I was in high school, I wouldn't get lots of sleep. Cramming for tests, hanging out with my girlfriend, even talking with friends. Sleep deprivation caught up with me, and eventually I went down. I started noticing symptoms such as drowsiness during the day, and even hard times waking up in the mornings.

Over my Sophomore year summer vacation though, I slept for around 15 hours every day. Each time I fell asleep it felt really good, maybe even too good. The school year started again, and I was going into my Junior year. I started out great, getting all good grades in classes.

Then, randomly I would start to "space out". Sometimes I would space out for a few minutes, sometimes hours. My body was doing my normal actions for me, and my brain would respond to what was happening around it, but then when I finally came back to reality, I would find myself in places I didn't ever remember going to. I thought it was just me getting tired, but then when I spaced out for a whole 12 hours, I knew it was time I did something about it.

I started researching how to cure this after effect of sleep deprivation but found no results. Although your body reacts to everything the way you normally would, it's really creepy how you can just blink and it's hours later. Sometimes while driving even I will start to space out; when I notice this, I pull over to the side of the road and relax for a bit.

The story didn't end yet though, because when I hit senior year of high school, I started to space out for days on end. I would be sitting in class one day, then the next thing I know it was
maybe three to four days later. Because I was spacing out so much, I decided to stay up as late as possible, eventually I started to space out less and less.

After I graduated high school, I would only space out for a maximum of two to three minutes. I was so happy about this, then realized what I had was a gift. I was able to "speed up" time so to say. I was able to work a whole week of work in what seemed to be only the blink of an eye for me.

I am happy to not be spacing out as much anymore, but it kind of seemed like a good/bad thing. This can start a new theory that sleeping too much can cause problems, and sleeping too little can cause them also. So I would recommend getting around 10-12 hours of sleep daily.

Kevin: Thanks for writing in Joseph. I must say, I've never quite heard of "spacing out" experiences quite as you've described them before. It's quite remarkable what you've said, and yet I don't quite know what to say about it. Have you thought much about how memory systems in your brain may be playing a role in what you experience? I can't imagine going a week without any recollection of events...

One thing I can say though is that we must be careful not to generalize advice based on our own personal experience, especially if that experience is as extreme as your own. Thus, your last statement of recommending 10-12 hours of sleep should really be qualified. Different people living different lifestyles and with different physiological make-ups require different amounts of sleep. That said, your writing is certainly testament to the dangers of living sleep deprived, so thank you for sharing your story.


Comments for Sleep Deprivation Ruined My High School Years

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 06, 2012
Please read NEW
by: Aidan

I'm currently a college student and I have a tendancy to abuse myself sleep wise. I also have a thing that happens to me where if I have a week or more of poor sleep, or at least I think this is the cause since this article and a few others described similar space outs. Well last night I had one for about 5 hours and I ended up coming out of it freaking out because I realized that I had no memory of what I did and one of my poor friends had to deal with me. I am 18 almost 19 and I have suffered from sleep problems most of my life that I can remember. Could this be the possible culprit of the space outs or could it possibly be something else. I am prone to bipolar as well as a few other things but I am not entirely sure that is part of the problem. Thank you please e-mail me at

Aug 10, 2012
Could not get a sleep even 3 hours a week...plz help me NEW
by: Ajay

I am a college student in my pre final year pursuing enggineering. I am very much tensed about my sleep deprivation. I even could not sleep 3 hours a week. This is ruining my college days... I am suffering from regular headaches.. When i go to bed, i could nt make it to sleep and even i get to sleep, it wont last for 15 mins or more.. I am losing my confidence...plz help me out

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.