Sleep-deprivation and characters

I’ve done it. Notably, I’ve just done it with my current hero, Klias. He’s sleep-deprived in a big way. And still, he handles stressful situations without a hitch. Not a single consequence from his lack of sleep.


I’ve noticed it before in books I’ve read. Characters who haven’t slept in days and they still manage to function better than I do with my eight hours. When I don’t get enough sleep, I get crabby and cranky and grumpy…I’m pretty much miserable to be around. A couple of times, when I’ve had insomnia and I haven’t slept at all for a couple of days, I felt like the walking dead. Barely awake, barely able to function. Surprisingly, I was able to get through the day without killing myself or someone else but it was close.

I thought the less sleep I got, the worse I’d be able to function until, eventually, I’d be an eye-twitching, stuttering mess without the ability to tie my own shoes.

So, why how realistic is it for my character to run around in my story with only a couple of hours of rest and still be able to have a sharp mind and quick reflexes?

Skye Fairwin runs this amazing blog that mixes writing and psychology. I love it! Mostly because I’m nosy but also because I wondered just how realistic I was making Klias. As it turns out, most of us can still function with barely any sleep.

You still doubt? Well, here is the article. It’s truly neat because it has the real consequences of sleep-deprivation. Cool, huh?

Here is the site. Love it!

Now, I better head to my book and fix Klias’ reactions before his eye starts twitching…

12 thoughts on “Sleep-deprivation and characters

  1. I don’t think it’s necessarily unrealisting. I function on very little sleep for weeks and months at a time. Eventually, though, it does start to tell, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I tolerate sleep deprivation less easily. I slept 12 hours in one stretch last weekend, and about 14 hours between 5:30 pm yesterday and 11:30 am today, with a few waking late-nite hours for food and Twitter.

    • Incredible! If I don’t get my 8 hours, I’m a miserable ogre. When I get only 2 or 3, I can barely function–eye-twitching and probably drool to boot! That’s pretty impressive on your side!

      • I can’t get 8 every night if I try without medication. I just lie awake for hours. I’ve stepped up the exercise lately. I’m hoping that will help.

      • I hate not getting enough sleep. It feels awful! I really feel for you. That must be so hard.
        I’m actually going to the doctor next week because I’ve been struggling with not sleeping. Let me know if the exercise helps!

  2. Reblogged this on The Writing Catalog and commented:
    Funny that I just found this today, on a weekend when I’ve been recharging my batteries by spending lots of time in the sun and getting massive amounts of rescue sleep. I left my take on sleep deprivation on the thread. As an insomniac who runs on about 4 hours of sleep for weeks at a time, this is a post I can appreciate.

  3. Pingback: Top posts for May | Taylor Grace

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