The human body needs sleep to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What happens if you push the edge of sleep deprivation and avoid any sleep for as long as humanely possible? AsapSCIENCE investigates.
Are you sleeping enough? Sleep deprivation affects millions of people every day. This condition can cause cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and brain damage. Imagine what your body would do without three days of sleep. The first sleepless night is easy because your brain releases a chemical called dopamine. This chemical can give you energy, motivation, and a high sex drive. However, your brain will begin to shut down its functions that help with planning, so impulsive behavior kicks in. After 24 hours of no sleep, your body has slower reaction times and perception and cognition functions decrease. Two days without sleep leaves your body unable to metabolize glucose and the immune system beings to dwindle. On the third day, hallucinations set in. The longest scientifically documented case of being awake was 11 days. Although the person developed problems like irritability, there were no long term health effects. This doesn’t mean you can go through extreme sleep deprivation with no permanent health effects. There are limited studies in this field.