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  • How long does sleep debt take to go away?

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    Old 05-01-2004, 10:50 PM   #1
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    How long does sleep debt take to go away?

    Here is my "story" if you will. I?m a 26 year old male with no known health problems. It all started around the last week of February. I have been working swing shift (3:30-11:30) for about 3 years now with occasional days and mids (1130-730) thrown in which never gave me problems aside from being a little tired on days. The problem started when I went to midshift around mid to late february. I was trying to get onto the schedule and so I stayed up until around 5:00a.m. on the first friday night before starting mids. I had a busy day and was up since around 9:30 or 10:00a.m. I went to the ocean at around 1a.m. to collect some food for my fish (which turned out to be in some pretty nasty water) and was home around 4a.m. I went to sleep at 5:00 after drinking a cup of hot tea with sugar in it. This is where the fun begins. I awoke about 45 minutes later in a state of total panic, I had no idea what was going on, I felt totally numb and my heart was pounding so fast I really thought I couldn't take it and my head felt like there was some sort of strange electric currents going through the back of it. After about 15 minutes or so after I got up and walked around trying to calm down I felt really cold and just layed in bed shivering for a while before I finally fell asleep.It was probably the single most frightening thing I've ever experienced. Does anyone know what this was or had a similar experience? Could it be due to the caffeine and sugar combined with alot of activity through the day throwing my blood sugar into a tailspin?
    Anyway that was just the start. I felt really strange the next couple of days, couldn't get much more than 3 to 4 hours of sleep every day becasue I was on mids and had a 2 month old at the time. My wife was really good about trying to let me sleep but nothing helped until I covered the windows with foil a few weeks ago. The lack of sleep made me into a walking zombie and driving to and from work was becoming the scariest part of every day. I felt anxious and started throwing up quite a bit and having diarrhea (sorry guys if that's TMI) for a couple of weeks before I finally went to the emergency room because I couldn't eat and could barely walk or function. They said it could be a stomach virus, parasites or the result of too much stress as I also was having to adapt to a new schedule as well as take on a couple of new programs at work. They did a check for parasites that came back negative. At that point my boss let me go back to swings for a week and then put me back on mids the following sunday night ;-( The symptoms started to go away a little on swings but came back on strong once I went back to midshift. I really can't describe the feelings, it was almost like I wasn't really sure if I was awake half of the time which was very unsettling. Again has anybody been through this type of thing? Also it's been about a 3 weeks since I've been back on swingshift and while I do feel considerably better, I still don't feel 100% or quite like I did before that night in February. Does anyone know how long the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation take to fully go away? I have gone and had my thyroid and blood sugar checked along with the other usual blood tests. Everything came back normal. Please any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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    Old 05-02-2004, 10:42 AM   #2
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    Re: How long does sleep debt take to go away?

    I have you had panic attacks before this or anxiety? I was on swing for about 2 years (4-2am) and moved to days/wknds (6-6pm). I had a very hard adapting to the schedule. I have always been a swing shift type of person since a child. So this was a very hard transition for me. I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety time to time. So this could be a combination of things. Now if I sleep too much in the day my body reacts really panicky. Like I had a lost sense of reality! The day will be really *****. Do you get like that as well? I also sometimes wake up in a panic attack in the middle of night or sometimes while getting really tired I feel numb and have a hard time breathing. I know most of this is probably my anxiety and narcolepsy. If those things sound familiar to you maybe you should try a counselor to see if that would help. Even though switching shifts might not feel like it would be a big deal to you as a thought or even to your body. Sometimes it affects you subconsciously without knowing it!

    Old 05-02-2004, 08:42 PM   #3
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    Re: How long does sleep debt take to go away?

    I've never had a panic attack before. Do you think that's what happened the one night? I figured it was a big shot of adrenaline or some other chemical getting whacked out. I don't think it was a subconscious reaction to changing shifts because I actually volunteered to take it. I do know that after not getting sleep for a couple of weeks I lost about about 6 or 7 pounds because I couldn't eat anything. Maybe I'm still trying to get over that too.
    So you said you get panicky when you don't get enough sleep, have you done anything that has helped out with that? It sounds kind of familiar but not exactly the same. Thanks for the response, it is greatly appreciated!

    Last edited by ssublime1; 05-02-2004 at 09:17 PM.

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