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What causes these problems sleeping after an all-nighter?


After pulling an all-nighter, I find that I fall asleep quite quickly, however, after roughly 2 hours, I always wake up, drenched in sweat, extremely confused (and anxious), and with a fast heart rate. I will briefly describe all three symptoms in more detail:

1. I wake up so sweaty that I have to change my blouse, which is completely wet. The bed sheets are also completely wet from sweating.

2. The confusion manifests itself as a sense of anxiety, combined with a rapid movement of thought and an inability to identify a rational cause to it. I feel a sense of impending doom associated with something I was working on during the all-nighter: For example, if during the all-nighter I've worked on a boat design, then I may have the sense of impending doom associated with the irrational idea that the boat is too heavy. (Don't ask too heavy for what, as there is no answer, it's entirely irrational). As I am used to feelings of anxiety, I remain quite calm while this happens - nevertheless, my mind seems to have an impetus of its own, and just continues to associate the sense of impending doom with the irrational idea. Also thoughts seem to move without sense around the irrational idea - all the while I understand that this is irrational, and yet my mind still does it.

3. The tachycardia is typically around 130bpm when I first measure it, immediately upon getting out of bed, but quickly falls to around 110. Then it fluctuates between 95-110 for 30-50mins or so before returning to my normal 75-85. The fluctuations are quite large, for example it would fall to 90 in 15-20 seconds, and then in another 20 seconds it would increase to 110, and then repeats. It's associated with breathing - especially when I breathe in, the heart seems to start beating much faster. This is associated with an oxygen saturation of 96-98% (measured through pulse oximetry), with an average of 97% most probably. In terms of blood pressure, it is between 135/80-155/95. I've done a series of ECGs in the past, all normal (the ECGs weren't done when these events happened though). Only thing I noticed that could be abnormal was what is a slightly low QT -> around 332 uncorrected, 379 corrected at heart rate 78, or around 322 uncorrected, at heart rate 96. As my heart rate is generally not low enough, especially when I've done my ECGs, it is unclear whether my QT would prolong sufficiently with a reduction in heart rate. Other than these incidents after all-nighters, and a blood pressure which is towards the high side generally (140/80), I've had no problems with my heart.

After the symptoms calm down (roughly 40mins), then I can go back to sleep. I go back to sleep, but find it troubling to fall asleep now. My mind keeps racing through what seems to be incoherent thoughts, and I have vivid and absurd dreams regarding those thoughts. Most of the time, after falling asleep again, I would wake up after another 1hr or so, with similar symptoms outlined in 1-3 but of much lower intensity at least one more time. After the symptoms calm down again, which takes less time the second time around, I again find the same difficulty falling asleep, the same vivid dreams and incoherent thoughts racing through my mind, even though I feel extremely tired. After some time, I can fall asleep, but it's never a deep sleep, and it's relatively light.

So my question is, what causes these symptoms, are they benign, and is it common to experience similar symptoms after an all-nighter? Is this due to stress from not sleeping? Thanks!

PS: These all-nighters are associated with moderate consumption of alcohol OR caffeine (never both though). I am 22 year old, and otherwise perfectly healthy; have suffered of anxiety in the past, but nowadays, it rarely troubles me.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
It's sleep deprivation. Try to get some more sleep and only pull all-nighters when you absolutely need to. Look up the symptoms for more information.
Avatar universal
Sleep deprivation can cause due to some kind of Stress and depression, poor lifestyle, diet etc. It can be treated well after getting its real cause, so you need to contact a good therapist.
Avatar universal
Alcohol and others thing deplete the body of vitamins and minerals.

You may be low in Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and magnesium.
How is your iron/ferritin?

You need to stay hydrated. Lots and lots of water.

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