7 Days Without Sleep: The Alarming Side Effects

7 Days Without Sleep! Every second is desperately important. Read this article to learn how to get quality sleep and determine what happens if you don’t sleep for a week.

A recent study found that sleep deprivation causes1 a spike in blood pressure and higher stress levels and can even lead to death. But the effects of sleep deprivation don’t stop there. Sleep-deprived people are at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease 2and getting sick. If you’re worried about the health risks of sleep deprivation, you should know that sleep is essential.

So how can you make sure you get enough sleep and avoid some of the dangers of sleep deprivation? Let’s find out.

7 days without sleep
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels Copyrights 2020

You probably know this, but sleeping is essential for your health. Lack of sleep can cause many health problems in the long run. But what is the point of not sleeping when you can die from lack of sleep?

There’s no guarantee that these people will have better lives because of it, but it gives them a chance to try it out. Here are some things you should know about sleep deprivation experiments.3

1. What happens When You Don’t Sleep?

Sleep is an integral part of life. The body and mind need to rest and recuperate to function optimally. Sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases4 and other issues.

1.1. We Adjust to Sleep Deprivation

You stay up all night due to stress, travel, illness, or medication. People who work multiple jobs or work overtime may not have enough time to get enough sleep. For others, the real problem is that they don’t get enough sleep.

Since it can be hard to understand (actually, spending a whole night or losing about an hour of sleep in a week looks very different), we tend to adjust to sleep deprivation very quickly, so you may not feel exhausted.

1.2. Drowsiness

Even if you don’t feel tired after countless hours of being awake, your body still needs sleep. Everyone knows that just one night of sleep deprivation can make you tired and irritable the next day. For some people, even skipping a few hours of sleep can cause a host of problems, from an increased risk of diabetes and obesity5 to depression and drowsiness while driving.

1.3. Mood Swings

People can only think about things in fixed ways. Sleep deprivation is well documented, with symptoms such as irritability, longer time to make decisions, and cognitive stiffness. Even after one night without enough rest, we may feel sleepy during the day with slow thoughts, lack of energy, and irritable mood.

7 days without sleep
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1.4. Chronic Sleep Deprivation

Sleeping less than 7-9 hours each night can lead to chronic sleep deprivation6 that affects every area of ​​your life. “sleep deprivation” refers to sleeping less than needed, seven to nine hours per night for adults.

  • What happens after 36 hours without sleep? Staying awake for just 36 hours can have profound effects on your body.
  • What happens after 48 hours of no sleep? Insomnia. After two nights of insomnia, most people find it challenging to stay awake. However, after 48 hours without sleep or two days, you’ll begin to experience microsleep (if you haven’t already), decreased insulin, and some forms of ataxia, such as slurred speech.
  • During the first 72 hours without sleep, the researchers observed hallucinations, memory loss, sensitivity to light, and increased intensity of previous symptoms, such as emotional moodiness. 

Even if you are not awake for several days, not meeting the need for sleep will still lead to sleep deprivation, divided into short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic). Understanding sleep deprivation, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, will help you sleep better.

If your sleepless nights are chronic, they can lead to more severe problems such as hallucinations, mood swings, and an increased risk of depression, asthma attacks, strokes, heart disease, and mental illness.

2. The Health Problems Associated with Sleep Deprivation

The health problems associated with sleep deprivation are severe and can be life-threatening. Not getting enough sleep can lead to several health issues, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and depression.

2.1. Obesity and Stress

The most common health problem associated with sleep deprivation is obesity. Lack of sleep can cause a lack of motivation, resulting in poor work performance and the inability to be successful. Lack of productivity at home can also cause stress and unhappiness.

2.2. Hypertension and Heart disease

7 days without sleep
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, adults should get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Adults should stay awake for 17 hours to meet CDC sleep guidelines. According to the American Heart Association, adults who sleep 6 hours or less are at an increased risk of developing chronic hypertension and coronary heart disease.

2.3. Can Provoke Some Mental Disorders

Below we explain why you can’t get more out of your day with less sleep and how the unwanted side effects of insomnia start to pile up almost immediately. You probably would like to sleep less and have more time to stay awake but lack of sleep has some significant consequences.

Assuming your lack of sleep isn’t a fatal neurodegenerative variant (which is probable), here’s what you can expect if you stay awake longer. A few hours of lost sleep per week is enough to show your concentration and mood levels.

Shift workers who have to work all night may also have difficulty getting sleep. Lack of sleep can directly affect a person’s well-being during waking hours. Cortisol, often known as the stress hormone, is produced more frequently when people don’t get enough sleep. A disturbed sleep pattern or a complete lack of sleep can affect the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, which, in turn, can provoke some mental disorders.

3. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation Shown by Researchers

Sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep; it can be acute or chronic, meaning that a person can suffer from sleep deprivation for a single night or a prolonged period.

Sleep deprivation is a circadian rhythm disorder and can be caused by several factors such as stress, sleep disorders, certain medications, and travel across time zones.

7 days without sleep
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash Copyrights 2019

It is most commonly found in people suffering from certain mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, dementia, and schizophrenia and in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Research shows that lack of sleep can quadruple your risk of catching the flu or cold.

3.1. Michel Jouvet and a 27-Year-Old Man

Michel Jouvet and colleagues from Lyon, France, studied a 27-year-old man with the disease and found that he had barely slept for months.

Your body wasn’t designed for a 24-hour lifestyle, and studies show a cognitive decline, health issues, and even strangers are less likely to bond with people who are sleep deprived.

3.2. William Dement and a 17-Year-Old Teenager

Lack of sleep can even lead to paranoia and hallucinations. A Stanford sleep researcher named William Dement monitored 17-year-old Randy Gardner. After 11 days without sleep, the researcher took Gardner to the hospital, where the researchers placed a device on his head. Electrodes were used to monitor his brain waves when he first dreamed.

Although 17-year-old Randy Gardner now gets about six hours of sleep a night, he still feels the effects of sleep deprivation. He spent most of those 14 hours in REM sleep, and over the next few nights, he continued to spend more time than usual in REM sleep. Read more on Randy Gardner, here.

What Happens To Your Body And Brain If You Don't Get Sleep | The Human Body

Drowsy driving is a significant cause of accidents and can cause severe injury or death. Sleep deprivation can also lead to a higher risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

4. An End Note

We hope you enjoyed our article about sleep deprivation. We discussed how sleep deprivation could lead to many diseases and even death in this post. We hope this article helps you understand the consequences of sleep deprivation and how it can affect you.

5. Frequently Asked Questions 

5.1. What are the signs of sleep deprivation?

Drowsiness, lack of energy, less concentration, obesity, and irritability are some common signs of sleep deprivation.

5.2. How many hours of sleep deprivation is bad?

After 48 hours or two days without sleep, you’ll begin to experience a lack of cognitive performance, such as microsleep, decreased insulin, and some forms of ataxia (slurred speech).

5.3. How do you fix sleep deprivation?

By sleeping! Make time for sleep, set a routine, and avoid caffeine. Follow remedies that help in sleep, for example, warm baths, exercises, and more. Also, you can seek professional help for sleep deprivation.

5.4. Why am I so tired but can’t sleep?

It can be a sign of circadian rhythm disorder in which your body’s internal clock is out of sync and can’t tell your brain when is the time to sleep.

Read more from us here.

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  1. Pilkington, Stephanie. “Causes and consequences of sleep deprivation in hospitalised patients.” Nursing Standard 27.49 (2013). ↩︎
  2. Hebert, Liesi E., et al. “Is the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease greater for women than for men?.” American journal of epidemiology 153.2 (2001): 132-136. ↩︎
  3. Wehr, Thomas A., et al. “48-hour sleep-wake cycles in manic-depressive illness: naturalistic observations and sleep deprivation experiments.” Archives of general psychiatry 39.5 (1982): 559-565. ↩︎
  4. Field, Alison E., et al. “Impact of overweight on the risk of developing common chronic diseases during a 10-year period.” Archives of internal medicine 161.13 (2001): 1581-1586. ↩︎
  5. Mokdad, Ali H., et al. “Prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and obesity-related health risk factors, 2001.” Jama 289.1 (2003): 76-79. ↩︎
  6. Reynolds, A. C., & Banks, S. (2010). Total sleep deprivation, chronic sleep restriction and sleep disruption. Progress in brain research185, 91-103. ↩︎

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