What If You Stopped Sleeping
Ahhh. Sleep! You can never have enough of it, it seems. In fact, sometimes it literally feels like you aren't getting enough, but what if you stopped sleeping all togetheré Strangely, science understands relatively little about why we sleep or how it evolved in the first place. After all, laying unconscious and dormant for hours on end while predators lurk hardly seems advantageous or smart. But, we have discovered a few correlations. For example, adults who sleep between 6 to 8 hours a night tend to live longer. Excess of sleep, however can lead to medical problems including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Similarly, chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to aspects of cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and even brain damage.
But what if you stopped sleeping right nowé Well, after your first sleepless night your mesolimbic system becomes stimulated and dopamine runs rampant. And this may actually trigger some extra energy, motivation, positivity, and even sex drive. Sounds appealing, but its a slippery slope. Your brain slowly begins to shut off the regions responsible for planning and evaluating decisions, leading to more impulsive behavior. Once exhaustion sets in, you'll find yourself with slower reaction times reduced perceptual and cognitive functions. After a day or two of no sleep, the body loses its ability to properly metabolize glucose and the immune system stops working as well. In some cases, 3 days of no sleep has lead to hallucinations.
Care about how you looké Studies have shown that direct correlation between sleep deprivation and a person's perceived beauty, that is to say, sleepdeprived individuals appeared less healthy and less attractive than when they were wellrested. The longest scientifically documented case of being awake was 264 hours or 11 days. And while they did develop problems with concentration, perception and irritability, the surprising truth is that they suffered no serious long term health effects. In fact, no individuals under these documented conditions experienced medical, physiological, neurological or psychiatric problems. But there are limited studies, and this doesn't mean permanent damage couldn't be inflicted with more time. Sleep deprivation experiments on rats for example, generally lead to death after about 2 weeks. But, scientists aren't totally sure if there dying from the lack of sleep or from the stress of constantly being woken up. Perhaps you should look at fatal familial insomnia for an answer.
A rare genetic disease of the brain which causes progressively worsening insomnia or sleeplessness leading to hallucinations, dementia and ultimately, death. This disease is only affected around 100 people in the world, but their average survival span was around 18 months. Over time, the lack of sleep becomes worse and the body's organs begin to shut down. So, while a lack of sleep won't necessarily kill you quickly, continual sleep deprivation will have a negative effect on your body. Sleep tight, but not too much! Got a burning question you want answeredé Ask it in the comments or in Facebook and Twitter, and if you can't get enough science in your life, check out the ScienceAlert Facebook page, which is one of the best out there to keep you up to date and entertained with the latest news and breakthroughs. And subscribe to AsapSCIENCE for more weekly science tutorials!
Can You Die From A Lack Of Sleep
This episode of DNews was proudly made possibleby the allnew 2015 Subaru Legacy. It's not just a sedan, it's a Subaru. Howdy snooze buttons, Trace here snoring awayfor DNews! We've talked a lot about sleep, but while scientists have slowly been decodingthe secrets of animal naptime, we still don't know exactly WHY we sleep. We DO know though,that if we neglect it, we're screwed. The world record for sleep deprivation is264 hours of wakefulness, or about 11 days. It was set by a high schooler in the mid1960s.Researchers routinely keep people awake for a eight to ten days with no ill effects. Butthat's not the same. By the way, this is sleep
deprivation. Sleep deprivation is differentfrom insomnia. According to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Insomniais a nightly complaint of an insufficient amount of sleep or not feeling rested afterthe habitual sleep episode, while sleep deprivation is when a person persistently fails to obtainsufficient nocturnal sleep required to support normally alert wakefulness. One happens TOyou, the other you're doing. Both have the same result, though. Not sleeping.When this happens, the human body responds, poorly. To say the least. Physically, thebrain sends out hormones like cortisol the stress hormone and TSH or thyroid stimulatinghormone, which regulates metabolism. Blood
pressure goes up, and your metabolism stopsprocessing glucose correctly creating food cravings for carbs. The overall temperatureof the body will drop, and the immune system slows down. Mentally, this causes problemswith attention and concentration, irritability, depression, fatigue, decreased motivationand if it goes on long enough, can seriously mess up cognitive function altogether. So again, it seems that sleep isn't just alovely retreat from the busy world, but also necessary for life! Without it we can barelysurvive! After a few days of sleep deprivation, people begin to experience forced brain shutdownscalled microsleeps where the human brain
shuts down for just a second and goes intosleep mode. During that time, the brain is asleep, and the person loses motor function;but not for long enough to feel rested. This was happening to the high schooler who setthe 11day world record. In experiments at the University of Chicago,lab technicians kept mice awake for about two weeks before they died of whole body hypermetabolism.In humans, Fatal Familial Insomnia strikes in middle age, and as the name suggests it'sinherited and deadly. When someone in one of the maybe 200 families in the world whohave FFI reaches middle age, they'll be unable to sleep their autosomal systems break downand they eventually die or total organ failure
after six to thirty, sleepless, months. Scientistsare reluctant to say that the lack of sleep is what kills them, as the disease is actuallyrelated to Mad Cow, more than anything else. We probably CAN'T die from a lack of sleepitself, but most scientific studies have found psychological effects like paranoia and hallucinationtake hold and prevent us from learning more about the physical effects. Though sleep studiesHAVE shown purposefully depriving yourself of sleep can increase risks for diabetes,obesity, heart problems, depression, and of course large equipment accidents thanks tomicrosleeps. If you need to recover from a lack of sleep,just sleep! The guy who was awake for 11 days
slept for 14 hours and was pronounced completelynormal. There's no such thing as catching up on sleep, but a true full night of sleepwill do you good, regardless. What's the longest you've ever gone withoutsleepé I went 40 hours on a road trip to watch the last Space Shuttle launch. I was keptawake by Pepper, candy, and extreme geekitude. Did you beat my recordéShare your sleepless nights in the comments and be sure you subscribe for more DNews.And say hello on Twitter too! I'm atTraceDominguez! Thanks for watching.