What happens if you don’t sleep for days ?

Everybody experiences sleep deprivation at some point, due to their lifestyle and work factors, willingly or unwillingly.

One can survive for how many days without sleep is still unclear but some studies show that one can survive for around 11 days without sleep but it will effect (Mental, physical and emotional) health of the individual very badly and worse.

Our brain highly depends on proper sleep. Sleep helps us to perform better at work or home. It is our brain which helps us in performing daily tasks, making decisions, (One, on average, takes 50,000 decisions in one day) and our thinking processes. It also controls our body functions through the nervous system.

Some people face lack of sleep occasionally and it’s alright, as its effect may be or may not be intense or linger on. But on the other hand if you are habitual of not sleeping enough, you may have severe consequences on health immediately like reduced reaction time, drowsiness, deterioration in decision making ability, inability to concentrate, hearing may also be reduced, slurred speech, slowed thinking etc, or in due time like obesity, heart diseases, diabetes etc.

Medical View:

When our body secretes anything inside our body, it is called a hormone. In our sleep time our body secretes those hormones which help in controlling metabolism process, appetite, Glucose processing etc.If you are sleepless for a certain period of time, it leads to increased production of cortisol, which is also known as “Stress Hormone”. Not only increased production of some hormones, there is a decreased production of some hormones, which lead to some other medical problems or diseases.

When you are not sleeping and struggling to be alert and not going to sleep, your brain may go offline for seconds at some times.

Actually after 18 to 20 hours without any type of sleep, you may suffer short term memory loss, problem in hand and eye coordination,  judgment problem, and irritability is most likely in.

We are normally cognitively impaired after 24 hours without any sleep.

After 24 hours of no sleep may results in :

  1. Drowsiness
  2. Irritability
  3. Anger
  4. Reduced Alertness
  5. Unable to concentrate
  6. Fatigue and tremors
  7. Puffy eyes etc.

After two days of no sleep time, you may experience the following

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Foggy memory
  • Impaired thinking
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoric people

In 36 hours, you will experience worse or intense symptoms of sleeplessness and you will have an overwhelming urge to sleep. It will be harder to stay awake after more than 4 days of lack of sleep.

1 to 2 hours sleep, even a 20 minutes nap refreshes you and minimizes and or reduce the grogginess and irritability.

You can reduce the most of the sleepless symptoms by just taking a nap of around 30 minute  in around 4 hours.

You can avoid sleep disruption by just avoiding:

  • Heavy meals
  • Fatty or fried food
  • Very spicy food
  • Acidic food
  • Lot of food drinks

To restore some of the energy to work, you need

  • A glass of water
  • Yoga or stretching the body can halp
  • Water splash on the face
  • Get something to eat.
  • No or less coffee/Tea

Sex can help you sleep faster and better quality sleep.

Studies and Medical Data suggests that Middle aged and older adults may worsens their cognitive functions, when you get

  • Too much sleep, or
  • Too little sleep

7 to 9 hours sleep is recommended by most of the medical professionals and medical organizations. 

Following is the sleep pattern for different age groups

  • 1 to 6 years 11 to 15 hours
  • 7 to 18 years 8 to 12 hours
  • More than 18 years 7 to 9 hours

(This is a general public recommendation but may vary from individual to individual)

If you don’t get enough sleep, my recommendation is consult a doctor.

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