How Long Can You Go Without Sleep (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 11 Days

A good night’s sleep is extremely important to your health. In fact, it is equally important to eat well and exercise. Unfortunately, there are many things that can interfere with natural sleep. Many people nowadays sleep less than before and the quality of their sleep is also deteriorating.

Sleep is also important for several aspects of brain function, this includes awareness, focus, productivity, and productivity. They are all negatively affected by lack of sleep. A good example of this is the study of therapists. Another study found that sleep can negatively affect certain aspects of brain function to the same extent as it is of binge drinking.

How Long Can You Go Without Sleep?

After two sleepless nights, most people find it difficult to stay awake. They may have light sleep that can last up to 30 seconds. In these “micro-dreams,” the brain is in a state of sleep. Microsleep occurs unintentionally that is after a short nap, you may feel confused or disoriented.

Staying awake even for 48 hours also compromises the immune system. Inflammatory markers that help your body prevent and fight disease begin to circulate at higher levels. Several studies from reliable sources have shown that natural killer known as NK activity is reduced by lack of sleep these NK cells respond to immediate threats to your health, such as viruses or bacteria.

Three days without sleep severely limits thinking ability, especially executive functions such as multitasking, remembering details, and attention. This degree of sleep deprivation can make it difficult to perform simple tasks. Emotions are also affected. People with this level of sleep deprivation can easily become irritable and they can be depressed, anxious, or paranoid.

Research has also shown that sleep deprivation makes it difficult to process other people’s emotions. In one study, participants who were awake for 30 hours had difficulty distinguishing between happy and angry facial expressions. Finally, a few days of sleep deprivation can dramatically change cognition.

Summary:

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AgeHours of sleep needed
0-5 Years10-13 hours
6-13 Years9-11 hours
14-18 Years8-10 hours
18 above7-8 hours

Why Can You Go Without Sleep For So Long?

24-hour insomnia is not uncommon. A person can skip the night to go to work, prepare for an exam, or take care of a sick child. While sleeping through the night can be annoying, it won’t have much of an impact on one’s overall health. However, one night’s sleep deprivation still affects a person’s body.

Studies have compared 24-hour waking hours with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent. This exceeds the legal limit for driving in most states.

Some of the effects of 24-hour sleep deprivation include sleepiness, irritability, impaired decision making, impaired judgment, cognitive impairment, memory loss, impaired vision, and hearing, impaired eye-eye coordination increased muscle tension, tremors,
increased risk of accidents or near misses

Symptoms of 24-hour sleep deprivation usually resolve after you get a good night’s sleep. After 72 hours of sleep deprivation, most people experience an overwhelming need for sleep. It becomes hard for many people and they cannot stay awake on their own.

People may have hallucinations that occur when they see something that is not there. Hence, Illusions are common too. An illusion is a misinterpretation of something real.

For example, if a person sees a sign and starts to think it is a person. Lack of sleep can change both your taste and the type of food you want. Research from a credible source shows that sleep deprivation is associated with increased food cravings more than weight gain.

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Conclusion

It is unclear how long humans can live without sleep. It is clear that serious symptoms can manifest after as little as 36 to 48 hours, including decreased thinking ability, poor decision making, and speech problems.

Going for an all-nighter every two months probably won’t cause serious damage. If they happen more often, on purpose or not, one should talk to a doctor. If a person needs to stay awake, his doctor will advise him on how to do it in the most health-conscious manner. If not, his doctor can correct the cause of his symptoms and help him return to his sleep pattern.

References:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00937141
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/07853890.2015.1074271
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