Insomniacs' Experiences With Sleep Deprivation Hallucinations

Without sleep, we lose our minds.

Eventually, the mind will give out.

The mind plays tricks with no rest.

Seeing things and believing things that aren't there can be quite disturbing.

All you can think sometimes is...

"Is it real?"

Redditor vicke1230 wanted to talk to the sleepless.

So they asked:

"Have you ever not slept for so long that you started hallucinating? What was your experience?"

I love sleep. I can't go without it.

Do sleep...

Tired Good Night GIF by DisneyGiphy

"I was a passenger in a car and looking out the window the shadows from trees would morph and grow and move. It was kinda scary but I enjoyed it. It was like drugs before I did drugs. Don't do drugs. Do sleep."


70 hours or so....

"Yeah, after 70 hours or so. It's pretty disorienting and rational thinking starts to get very slow. The hallucinations are not realistic but are more like gaps in your vision that are shaped like things. Might see a silhouette at a distance or briefly around a corner."

"Very difficult to function in this state. Would not recommend."



"A buddy of mine landed a painting job working inside of a big commercial building and he basically stayed in the place for 6 days straight smoking and painting to meet his deadline and avoid hiring a crew to help him."

"On the 6th day the building caught fire and he ran into the lobby and was pulling people out into the streets and yelling to call 9-1-1. The firemen showed up and couldn’t locate a fire because there was none. He was hallucinating."


At the Library

"During exam week I pulled 3 all-nighters in the library between tests. The library was open 24hr so I'd just stay up all night making note cards then go take an exam during the day. I lived off campus and didn't want to spend the gas money. I'd go to the most isolated area but the library would pretty much be cleared out by midnight."

"I started to see glimpses of people and I thought it was a bunch of students f**king with me but there was no one on that floor. I thought the lights went off at some point and maybe it was a sensor so I started jumping around to reactivate it but obviously, it was lit the whole time."


I hear things...

Fran Healy Reaction GIF by TravisGiphy

"I went roughly 4 days on 5 hours sleep total. I could function fine but I would just constantly hear things like people mumbling right next to me."


I could never function!

From Above

vintage spider GIFGiphy

"Spent a few weeks only getting about 4 hours of sleep a night. My brain started seeing, from the corners of my eyes, black things dropping from the ceiling that looked like giant spiders... I started making sure I got enough sleep."


McChicken meal, please.

"Ex-addict. Was driving home after a 3 day bender. Needed food so drove into a Mcdonald's drive thru. When asked for my order I replied 'McChicken meal, please.' Then they asked me against and I said 'McChicken meal, please.' Then they asked me AGAIN and I was like 'Can't you f**ken hear me? McChicken meal!' and that's when I realized I wasn't actually saying anything, I was just replying in my head."



"Yes I saw shadow creatures and I thought they were out to get me."


"Me too. I had been sleep deprived for weeks (<3 hours a night most nights) and hadn’t slept the night before. I was out a walk with friends and we stopped for a bit and then I started seeing the shadows move. Then they looked like a pile of bodies and then I was convinced that they’d come drag me into the pit."

"OP, get some sleep this experiment isn’t worth it."


"I'm better now"

"I had really bad sleep problems for years.. At one point I went to a party having been awake for 36 hours when arriving. I didn't really hallucinate also because I couldn't sleep, but when I finally did, I got the sleep I needed needed. The problem was mostly falling asleep."

"For me stress and lack of sleep triggers some form of sleep-paralysis and these weird dreams where I'm lying down somewhere and I can't see properly and I can't get up because everything is just so blurry and spinning around. It made me wake up in cold sweats and I remember once waking up and falling back asleep so many times because I was too exhausted to keep my eyes open, that I called my mom crying because I did not know whether I was awake or not.

"I'm better now."


Talk to Me

Worry Reaction GIF by MOODMANGiphy

"No sleep for 4 days straight, it really messes with your head. All sounds heightened to the max and was sure I could hear all my neighbors talking crap about me."


Sleep is so imperative.

Do you have any hallucination stories to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Album and turntable sitting beneath window
Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash

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