Question: 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.

Answer: 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.

Thanks for your question and good luck,
Kevin