Artist Illustrates Sleep Disorders As GIFs

While many of us have likely experienced some form of a sleep disorder, this is probably the first time many of us will be seeing said sleep disorders illustrated by GIF — and alas, the Internet has blessed us with such a (gorgeous, horrifying) gift. If you've ever crossed paths with something like sleep paralysis, restless leg syndrome, or sleep walking, you know that it's some of the scariest stuff you can have happen to you, and a lot of the time, you won't even know what's going on at first. (Yikes.) As someone who has experienced sleep paralysis myself, I can tell you, it's a pretty terrifying ordeal, but with the help of the good 'ol Internet, we're helping one another by sharing our stories, and in some cases, our art.

Petra Švajgner is one such hero. Petra is an artist who makes artfully-crafted GIFs, and in this particular series, called "parasomnias," she illustrates what it's like to have a sleeping disorder, or experience varying states of consciousness and unconsciousness. She claims that she chose five unusual but interesting phenomena associated with sleeping and took it to the small screen to digitize what so many people experience in the quiet of their own homes. Her work was done in collaboration with Maja Poljanc, whose illustrations were involved in the creation of the gifs. As she says, they are "products of imagination and involuntary actions of individuals who find themselves in these weird situations that they are usually not aware of."

The project was done for her photography class. Petra is a first year graphic design student at the Academy of fine arts and design in Ljubljana. (She is pursuing her Master's degree.) Check out a few of the illustrations below, and keep your eyes keen: there are such tiny and intricate movements within the images, it can sometimes be hard to see the whole picture unless you look closely enough (meta, huh?).

Sleep Paralysis

As someone who has actually experienced this, it's not too far a stretch. Sleep paralysis is when you are consciously awake but your body is still asleep. Yep — terrifying.


Most people have experienced insomnia now and again, and I think we could all agree that these creepy "clock eyes" sum it up pretty well.

REM Sleep

You've probably never thought of deep sleep as being leeched down to your bed while your eyes move back and forth rapidly, but alas, here we are.

Sleep Eating

Midnight snackers, this one's for you.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Anybody who has struggled with RLS is probably cringing just looking at this one. It's when you experience very uncomfortable ticking, twitching and tension in your legs when you sit or lay down. Though, this is probably the first time it's been imagined as the result of spiders crawling on your legs. Good luck ever sleeping again!

Images: Petra Švajgner/Maja Poljanc(4)