Juni (giveyoulife) wrote in little_details,

Timeline of Physical Effects of Chronic Sleep Issues

Setting: The novel is set in an original fantasy world, circa mid 18th century or so.

Searched: "insomnia", "chronic insomnia", "effects of long term insomnia", "physical effects of insomnia", this Newsweek article

I'm basically attempting to cobble together a timeline of physical effects that my main character will suffer thanks to long-term sleep issues. The source amounts to a curse, so there are no medical or emotional issues keeping her from sleeping properly. She does sleep every night- when it starts, she just feels less rested but is getting more than 7 hours of sleep. As it progresses, she starts waking earlier and earlier, until she's only getting maybe four hours of sleep a night. I want this progression to take several years, if that's not completely unreasonable.

I know that physical symptoms of inadequate sleep include memory issues, difficulty concentrating, hallucinations, depression, muscle fatigue and irritability, but I'm having trouble figuring out how quickly these symptoms would manifest. If my MC was accustomed to 8 hours of sleep and spent six months only getting 7, would she experience symptoms initially and then begin to adapt to less sleep, and then have a recurrence of symptoms when her sleep reduced to 7 hours? At what point would her body stop adapting to diminished sleep and just compound the symptoms? What sorts of things would she be hallucinating, and how little sleep in a night does a person need to start having hallucinations?

I'm not sure if it matters, but the MC is a physically fit and active woman somewhere between 18 and 22- I haven't settled on an age just yet. She also deals with significant stress, as she is a pirate in increasingly law enforcement-infested waters.

Thanks in advance! I really appreciate the help.
Tags: 1700s (no decades given), ~medicine: historical, ~medicine: illnesses (misc)

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