Can you stay without sleep?
Sleep is a vital part of every living being’s life. In our fast-paced daily lives and this world of hardcore competitions, we often neglect sleep or take it for granted. Thinking that if we sleep less we can work a little more and in turn earn and achieve more. But that adversely affects your health in the long run. Sleep deprivation over a long period is like slow poison killing you slowly and silently. Before diving into the effects of sleep deprivation, let’s look at the reasons behind having a good night’s sleep.
Why do people need to sleep?
The science or the mechanism behind the phenomenon of sleep in nature is still unclear but there have been studies that show the effects sleep has on human minds.
Keeping your brain active
Sleep is necessary to keep your brain active. Although when you sleep your brain remains very active and it goes through several stages of rest and helps in removing accumulated toxins. Lack of sleep will effectively hinder your brain functions.
While you sleep your brain becomes more alert and clearer making it easier for you to learn, solve problems and make decisions.
Checking your emotions: A good night’s sleep is directly proportional to your mood and well being. If you do not get a good night’s sleep you will be irritable and will not get along with others as well.
Keeping diseases at bay: Sleep helps in improving your immune system which in turn helps you stay healthy. If the immune system is working well then your body will be able to fight off viruses easily. Not just viruses but also keep your heart, kidney and other organs functioning properly.
Keep obesity in check: Weight-related struggles are very real these days. Millions of people all over the world fight hard to keep their weight in check. Sleep also has an impact on your weight. Lack of sleep affects the appetite-regulating hormones as a result sleep deprived people are likely to become overweight.
Coming back to the question of how long you can go without sleep, scientists have been doing their research and while at it back in 1964, a person named Randy Gardner stayed awake for 265 hours. Randy did this as a part of the science fair and he is the only documented case. There have many others who stayed awake longer than Randy. In 1977, Maureen Weston went 449 hours without sleep. While the experiment was going on Gardner faced disorientation, irritability and other sorts of problems. After the experiment ended, he got back to his regular sleep schedule soon. But, Gardner developed insomnia after several years, which could have been an effect of the experiment. The Guinness Book of World Records stopped encouraging sleep deprivation experiments knowing the adversities of it.
How long you can survive without sleeping?
Sleep deprivation causes health problems but death due to the direct result of it has not been reported. Even if you stay awake for 24 hours, its effects can be felt. You will have trouble concentrating on work or studies. You will be irritated and will be prone to mood swings. Situations get worsen as you get more sleep deprived. If you stay without sleep for over three days you will start getting disoriented. Hallucinations are also a result of long hours of sleep deprivation. It makes you feel detached from reality.
The human body functions to sleep so it is hard for you to stay awake for long hours no matter how much you try. According to research sleep deprivation for a long time is not possible as the human body is built to take micro sleep to cope with the lack of sleep. Frequent micro sleeps disrupt your regular sleep schedule thereby causing other health problems and also leading to mood swings. This is somewhat your brain taking charge forcefully. When you do not sleep for a long time your brain forces you to fall asleep which results in you having the small doze-offs.
Lack of sleep will not only harm the person who is not sleeping but also those around him. For example, if he is someone who operates heavy types of machinery or is in health service lack of sleep will lead lack of concentration and a state of confusion as well. This will result in them making a wrong decision or wrong choice that might cost them the life of others.
As mentioned before, sleep deprivation can cause health issues but it does not straight away lead to someone’s death. There are two stages of sleep deprivation. Acute sleep deprivation and chronic sleep deprivation.
Acute sleep deprivation and its side effects
Acute sleep deprivation is when you go without sleep for a few days it does not have a significant effect on your health but still it does not go unchecked though. It can still make you feel disoriented and the following can also be caused due to acute sleep deprivation.
● Impaired decision making
● Impaired judgement
● Slow reaction time
Chronic Sleep Deprivation and its side effects
When you go without sleep for a long period of time that leads to chronic sleep deprivation. That can cause serious health issues. This can be fatal too. A few of the severe health problems are listed below:
● Weak immune system
● Heart problems/heart attack
● Severe Anxiety
How can you get a good night’s sleep?
Invest in good bedding. A good mattress and pillow can do wonders that are beyond your thinking. Meditation and yoga help in solving a lot of sleep-related issues. It helps in keeping your mind calm and peaceful which ultimately results in a good night’s sleep. Do not opt for sedatives or any kind of alcohol for going to sleep. Eat light and healthy before going to bed. Set a time for dinner and try to maintain that. This will also help you to have a proper sleep schedule and cycle. Limit the intake of caffeine. Keep your phone away for a considerable amount of time before going to bed. Maintain a healthy lifestyle including a healthy sleep schedule to have a healthy and happy life.