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Can Sleep Deprivation Cause Hallucinations?

A lot of people suffer from sleep deprivation at certain points in their lives. However, most people do not take sleep deprivation seriously, and they do not take steps or ways on how to manage and treat sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is when a person complains of getting a disturbed sleep pattern 2 to 3 times per week, while insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders where a person does not get enough sleep every single night. Being sleep deprived puts a person at risk of not being able to function at its best during daylight hours, which can have negative effects to a person’s quality of life. Aside from not being able to function well, sleep deprivation can also cause people to hallucinate.

Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Visual Hallucinations


Hallucinations are a perception in the absence of a stimulus. It involves perceiving or sensing things while a person is conscious and awake that appears to be present and real, in the absence of external stimuli which have qualities of a real perception. Hallucinations are only created by a person’s mind. There are many different types of hallucinations according to which senses are affected, such as:

  • Visual Hallucination – a type of hallucination in which a person sees things which are not present.
  • Auditory Hallucination – hearing things without physical stimuli.
  • Command Hallucination – hearing things in a form of commands.
  • Olfactory Hallucination – smelling scents and odors that are not physically present.
  • Tactile Hallucination – feeling pressure on the skin or organs without physical stimuli.
  •  Gustatory Hallucination – perceiving certain tastes in the mouth without physical stimulus.
  • General Somatic Hallucination – a person feels his or her body being mutilated.

Hallucination and Sleep Deprivation:

Many people who suffered from extreme sleep deprivation have reported to experience visual hallucinations. Beginning to see things that are not actually present is one common symptom of sleep deprivation. Visual hallucinations will depend on how long a person has been suffering from sleep deprivation. At around 80% of normal people who are sleep deprived may experience visual hallucinations. Visual hallucinations are only experienced by sleep deprived people. Auditory hallucinations and other types of hallucinations are not present in sleep deprivation.

How to Prevent Visual Hallucinations:

In order to prevent hallucinations from happening, getting enough hours of sleep every single night is the best management. Getting enough amounts of sleep does not only prevent hallucinations from occurring, it can also have positive effects on the overall wellbeing of a person.


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