Sleep is one health requirement that we all tend to neglect, whether we’re busy working or partying.
While some amount of sleep deprivation is unavoidable when you have tight deadlines or have too much packed into your day, regular sleep deprivation can have more far reaching consequences.
Sleep deprivation has a similar effect to having high blood alcohol levels, which means that it affects attention, productivity, and also turns you into a safety hazard.
Here’s how inadequate sleep affects your body.
What Happens To Your Body When You Don’t Sleep For 18–24 Hours
“Studies show that accuracy levels after 17 to 19 hours of sleep deprivation are worse than those for individuals with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent!”
– Your attention starts to suffer and there is an increase in response time. This means that you will take more time to perform simple tasks and your work is also more likely to be full of errors.
– Tasks that require quick reflexes and high levels of accuracy will suffer significantly, as cognitive function is impaired. A studypublished in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that individuals who had gone without sleep for 17 to 19 hours took twice as much time as others on performance tests, while accuracy levels were even worse than those with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent!
What Happens To Your Body When You Don’t Sleep For 48 Hours
“Sleep deprivation for 48 hours increases heart rate and blood pressure, making you susceptible to stroke and heart disease”
– Going without sleep for 48 hours weakens your immune response, making you more vulnerable to infections. Researchers at Cerrahpasa Medical School, Istanbul, found that there is a drop in white blood cells that fight off infections when you go without sleep for 48 hours. Fortunately, this can be quickly remedied by getting adequate sleep.
– Your risk of stroke and heart disease rises, as sleep deprivation for 48 hours causes elevated blood pressure and heart rate. Increased presence of inflammatory markers in the blood stream, further increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
– To compensate for the lack of sleep, your body starts to ‘shut down’, just as a computer hibernates. This is called microsleep and lasts for up to thirty seconds at a time. During these spells you have no consciousness and will awaken feeling a bit disoriented each time. While this may not seem very threatening, it can be fatal and may even endanger others if you are driving or operating heavy machinery.
What Happens To Your Body When You Don’t Sleep For 72 Hours
“After 72 hours of sleep deprivation cognitive function suffers and you may suffer hallucinations, develop false memories, and experience phantom pains”
– Higher mental processes that affect motivation, concentration, and perception start to suffer as your brain struggles to cope with sleep deprivation for as much as 72 hours. Hallucinations are not uncommon and your mind may also play tricks on you, creating false memories.
– Sensory perception suffers and this means that your vision, smell, and sense of touch get adversely affected.
– Physiological symptoms of sleep deprivation also start to set in at this point, with body aches and inexplicable pain.
Getting inadequate sleep on a regular basis also impairs your quality of life, as you become more vulnerable to chronic and lifestyle diseases.
So, the next time you decide to sacrifice your sleep, ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk.
March 23, 2018