What Happens When You Don't Sleep

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Are you getting enough sleep? Well, you better be, or you might be in for it.

What happens if we don’t sleep?
We’re gonna find out and we’re starting right now! It’s generally accepted that humans should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night in order to maintain a healthy body and brain function but studies have shown that most of the population isn’t getting anywhere close to that. After just 24 hours of no sleep the mesolimbic pathway, which is the area of the brain that controls pleasure and reward, is highly stimulated for a short time. This will cause you to feel a sense of euphoria and optimism.

This is caused by the hormone dopamine which courses through your veins after a sleepless night. This dopamine surge will eventually cause the areas of the brain that are responsible for planning to shut down and because of this, if you’re tired as you probably already know, you’re more likely to make bad decisions and you should also know that this is a strategy when it comes to the times that they air infomercials.

That’s right, we know you’re tired! Now is the time to buy! Even longer than 24 hours without sleep and other parts of your body start to react. Your blood pressure will shoot up in your body will release different hormones to try to compensate. This will make you erratic, unpredictable, and unable to form memories. The areas under your eyes will also darken significantly, also known as having bags under your eyes.

This is caused by the tiny muscles that control your eye movements becoming tired. Extra blood is rushed to these muscles to try to keep them active which makes the skin look bruised. If you continue to avoid sleep for up to 72 hours you can completely lose control of your emotions and you can even lose the ability to communicate because many of the areas of your brain that are not dedicated to keeping you alive simply stop working and at this time you can expect to have a really difficult time communicating and most likely you’re gonna see some pretty good hallucinations. It’s like my face is melting. People who are highly sleep-deprived also experienced the phenomenon known as microsleeps.

Microsleep is periods of time between one and 30 seconds where a person goes from the state of wakefulness to sleep rapidly. To them, it will feel like a brief loss of focus and they won’t even realize that they’re sleeping. You might even experience this once or twice when you're trying to take a long drive and you should have gotten a lot more sleep before you got behind the wheel.

It’s not known exactly how long a person can go without sleep but what is known is that if you don’t sleep eventually you will die because of the effects that the lack of sleep has on your body and your brain. With that said there is something called fatal familial insomnia which is basically a disease that results in the complete inability to sleep, so at the very least just hope that you don’t end up with that.

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