How It Feels To Experience A Microsleep

Living with narcolepsy is like living with an extra, constant shadow by your feet, not just as a medical condition, but as a relentless companion in my life. It's more than just feeling tired; it's a profound experience that challenges every aspect of my daily existence. Yet it has also opened my eyes to the depth of human resilience and the silent power of sleep.

The reality for me

Imagine yourself going an entire day without sleep. Sounds manageable, right? But as the hours tick by, your world begins to dim slowly. It's like watching a vibrant painting lose its color, everything fades into a monochrome haze.

That's the reality for me, not just after one sleepless night, but every single day of my life.

Microsleep episodes (MSEs) are very short fragments of sleep that last seconds and can be potentially dangerous, since the brain is essentially forcing you to sleep (regardless of what you're doing).1

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Sleep deprivation

The journey into sleep deprivation deepens with each passing day. Forty-eight hours without sleep might be unthinkable for most, but imagine facing the effects of sleepless 48 hours daily. Can you begin to imagine the physical toll this takes on the human body?

After 48 hours without sleep, any normal body may begin to feel heavy, thoughts may become sluggish, and emotions can swing. This isn't just about battling tiredness; it's a constant fight to keep your head above water, to stay present in a world that seems to slip through your fingers like sand. By the time you hit the 72-hour mark, reality starts to warp. Hallucinations, a rare but real aspect of severe sleep deprivation, can become part of daytime experiences.2

There's a thin line between the dream world and wakefulness, a line that often blurs and can leave you questioning what's real and what's not. It's a stark reminder of the critical role sleep plays in our lives, not just for physical health but for maintaining our grip on reality.

What I wish people understood about narcolepsy

This article isn't just an exploration of sleep deprivation; it's a glimpse into the life of those of us living with narcolepsy. The comparison between our daily experience and prolonged sleep deprivation can be startling for some.

It's a call to action, a plea for understanding and empathy toward those of us navigating this challenging path. Our struggles with sleep aren't just medical issues; they're battles for our well-being, our sanity, and our place in the world. Through sharing this article, I hope to shed light on the silent echoes of sleep deprivation that resonate through the lives of those of us living with narcolepsy. It’s a constant repetition of these exhausting episodes various times a day.

Hopefully one day, people will be able to comprehend the seriousness of this condition and realize that there is a major difference between feeling tired and being chronically exhausted.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.