The Stages of Sleep Deprivation

The Stages of Sleep Deprivation


The stages of sleep deprivation as told by someone currently sleep deprived.

There is little time to sleep in the beginning of a new semester, you are getting used to new professors and a new schedule as well as trying to have a social life and catch up with all of your friends you’ve been away from. Throw in sorority recruitment on top of that and there is a guarantee of sleep deprivation. Everyone experiences sleep deprivation differently, but the list that follows are the stages I have personally experienced this as well as what I have seen some of my sorority sisters go through in the past week or so.

1. You are tired, want to sleep but cant. You have a hard time keeping your eyes open as you yawn and search for the closest coffee shop. Your body craves sleep but you do your best to fight it with a semi-constant intake of caffeine.

2. The laughing stage, usually experienced with other over-tired friends. You will laugh at anything and everything. This is the kind of laughter that once it starts it is close to impossible to make it stop. You are convinced that you and any of your other sleep deprived friends will all have a six pack after laughing uncontrollably together for such a long period of time.

3. The crying stage. You begin to cry in the middle of normal conversations, your friends start to question if you are okay. You reassure them that you are and that you have no idea why there are tears flowing from your eyes as you are not sad in any way.

4. Delirious, there isn't much to say about this stage as people now know why you can barely function. Deliriousness is the most obvious form of sleep deprivation, people don’t make much sense and have a hard time preforming every day tasks and holding simple conversations. This stage can also be a combination of the laughing and crying stages as you often find yourself both laughing and crying for no reason.

5. Pure exhaustion. You can no longer function properly as you go about your life. Your personality is nonexistent and when people address you directly it is best to just look back at them silently because you know that if you open your mouth to have a conversation they will understand about as much as if you were speaking a foreign language.

6. The crash. There is not much to say about the inevitable crash. You are about to experience one of the best sleeps of your life. You pass out hard and you pass out fast and there is little that can be done to wake you up.

For as much as most college students value sleep it seems to be the first thing we are willing to give up when we get overwhelmed with school or when we want to stretch ourselves thin between a social life, school, and work. Sleep deprivation is as inevitable in your college career as the final crash after multiple sleepless nights.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Thinking About Death, And How It Enriches Life

"I don't know if there's really any salvation, but if we accept death, maybe we can just live."


What is your greatest fear? It is a question my friend Luis asked me a couple months ago, and one that we constantly deal with and think about.

I wasn't sure what it was at the time, but I knew what it wasn't. I don't fear dying as much as some people I do, as much as I probably should. I fear more perpetuating cycles of violence and abuse I have seen in my life, much greater than I do fear death. But this article is about death, and how thinking about it in the face or absence of our fears actually enriches our lives.

I don't want to die, but I do occasionally do think about whether the world would be a better place without me. It's a nagging thought, one I have thought much especially recently, that I have tried to put away as unreasonable. But death is undeniably on the forefront of my mind, now more than ever, in a way that perhaps concerns the people around me. Memento mori is a tattoo I have on my left abdomen: remember that you have to die. And by remembering I have to die, I try to make the most out of life and impart the most impact on others in this life.

But I argue that it's not a bad thing to think about death all the time, because there is a fine distinction between death and wanting to die. I know the protocol for suicidal ideation and making sure someone is safe, but thoughts of death have gone back a long time to the ancient Stoics. William Irvine, a philosophy professor at Wright State University, once wrote that "the Stoics had the insight that the prospect of death can actually make our lives much happier than they would otherwise be."

Irvine argues that instead of neglecting the things we fear and the worst things possible that can happen in our lives, he, like the Stoics, often imagine the worst case scenarios. Paradoxically, that is how we attain happiness, and one the greatest fears in much of our society is death, that we or the people we love are going to die. Happiness lies in much in gratitude, and death inspires gratitude. Stoics pride themselves in this gratitude of knowing and thinking about death, and living with the awareness that

Human societies throughout all of history have invented methods to cope with our awareness of mortality. There is even a theory in social psychology called terror-management theory, in which all human thinking and behavior can be attributed to a fear of death. "Death anxiety" drives people to believe in their self-worth and self-esteem and believe that they are meaningful to the world. Inherently, we feel the deep need to make our marks on the world before we die, so we can manage the terror of living life insignificantly. People do what they do to curb their fear of dying.

Terror-management theory also deals with the sensation of immortality: we do things that immortalize our names and actions. All religion that also guarantees the promise of immortality, in the idea of afterlives, reincarnation, of heaven. But since not everyone is religious, and because for many people, the afterlives can be so distant and far-off, people strive for symbolic immortality. Through family who will carry on the name, or work that will carry on legacy, in the words of The Atlantic's Julie Beck, "people cling more intensely to the institutions they're part of, and the worldviews they hold."

Of course, everyone likes to distract themselves from thoughts of death. I know I do. We do things to extend our longevity, such as eating healthier. But these actions only distract us so much: death is always prominent in our unconscious and subconscious minds. People feel most driven to defend their worldviews and cultures in the face of it. In a terror-management study in the book The Worm at the Core, judges were asked how much they would set bail for alleged prostitutes. The standard bail was listed at $50, but judges who were asked to think about death right before setting bail put the bail nine times higher.

"The results show that the judges who thought about their own mortality reacted by trying to do the right thing...they held the law more vigorously than their colleagues who were not reminded of death," author Sheldon Solomon writes.

It seems, then, from these data that thinking about death is not actually a good thing: we stick more closely to our own worldviews and put others down. But that is not the only way people search for symbolic immortality - it is only one of the ways. According to Beck, "looming mortality can also lead people to help others, donate to charity, and want to invest in caring families and relationships." After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011, there were increases in love, hope, gratitude, and spirituality. Unfortunately, fear of Arabs and Muslims also increased significantly after the attacks.

It can be said then that thoughts of death intensifies and reinforces worldviews we already hold. Empathetic people are more likely to forgive others after a reminder that they have to die. Fundamentally religious people are more compassionate after a reminder of death when their values are depicted in a religious context, so values like kindness, empathy, hope, and compassion can be cultivated if we manage the terror of death in a suitable way.

Steven Heine, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), says that death is a threat to our understandings of the world and how our assumptions about it works. When faced with mortality, we turn to other things to make sense of life. Death is not solvable, and something we can never resolve. But is that a bad thing? Think about if life were to never end - wouldn't it eventually lose meaning? The scarcity principle explains this phenomenon: the less we have of something, the more we value it.

But we don't live like life is finite. We don't live every day like it's our last. Laura King, a psychology professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, says that "everybody always says life is too short, but it's really long. It's really,really long. Old people who know they are going to die soon live more in the present and forgive more.

I am speaking in paradoxes, and in many traditions, but E.M. Foster perhaps puts it best: "I don't know if there's really any salvation, but if we accept death, maybe we can just live."

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