What would happen if you didn’t sleep? – Claudia Aguirre

What would happen if you didn’t sleep? – Claudia Aguirre


In 1965, 17-year-old high school student,
Randy Gardner stayed awake for 264 hours. That’s 11 days to see how
he’d cope without sleep. On the second day,
his eyes stopped focusing. Next, he lost the ability
to identify objects by touch. By day three, Gardner was moody
and uncoordinated. At the end of the experiment,
he was struggling to concentrate, had trouble with short-term memory, became paranoid, and started hallucinating. Although Gardner recovered without
long-term psychological or physical damage, for others, losing shuteye can result
in hormonal imbalance, illness, and, in extreme cases, death. We’re only beginning to understand
why we sleep to begin with, but we do know it’s essential. Adults need seven to eight hours
of sleep a night, and adolescents need about ten. We grow sleepy due to signals
from our body telling our brain we are tired, and signals from the environment
telling us it’s dark outside. The rise in sleep-inducing chemicals, like adenosine and melatonin, send us into a light doze
that grows deeper, making our breathing
and heart rate slow down and our muscles relax. This non-REM sleep is when DNA is repaired and our bodies replenish themselves
for the day ahead. In the United States, it’s estimated that 30% of adults
and 66% of adolescents are regularly sleep-deprived. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience. Staying awake can cause
serious bodily harm. When we lose sleep, learning, memory, mood, and reaction time are affected. Sleeplessness may also cause inflammation, halluciations, high blood pressure, and it’s even been linked
to diabetes and obesity. In 2014, a devoted soccer fan died after staying awake for 48 hours
to watch the World Cup. While his untimely death
was due to a stroke, studies show that chronically sleeping
fewer than six hours a night increases stroke risk
by four and half times compared to those getting a consistent
seven to eight hours of shuteye. For a handful of people on the planet who
carry a rare inherited genetic mutation, sleeplessness is a daily reality. This condition,
known as Fatal Familial Insomnia, places the body in a nightmarish
state of wakefulness, forbidding it from entering
the sanctuary of sleep. Within months or years, this progressively worsening condition
leads to dementia and death. How can sleep deprivation
cause such immense suffering? Scientists think the answer lies
with the accumulation of waste prducts in the brain. During our waking hours, our cells are busy using up
our day’s energy sources, which get broken down
into various byproducts, including adenosine. As adenosine builds up, it increases the urge to sleep,
also known as sleep pressure. In fact, caffeine works by blocking
adenosine’s receptor pathways. Other waste products
also build up in the brain, and if they’re not cleared away,
they collectively overload the brain and are thought to lead to the many
negative symptoms of sleep deprivation. So, what’s happening in our brain
when we sleep to prevent this? Scientists found something called
the glymphatic system, a clean-up mechanism
that removes this buildup and is much more active when we’re asleep. It works by using cerebrospinal fluid
to flush away toxic byproducts that accumulate between cells. Lymphatic vessels,
which serve as pathways for immune cells, have recently been discovered
in the brain, and they may also play a role in clearing
out the brain’s daily waste products. While scientists continue exploring
the restorative mechanisms behind sleep, we can be sure that slipping
into slumber is a necessity if we want to maintain our health
and our sanity.

100 Comments

  1. Teacher: "Hey student, why did you come to school looking tired today?" Also Teacher: HERES YOUR 5000 WORD ESSAY ABOUT THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE HERESYOURENGLISHMATHWRITINGSOCIALSTUDIESMOREMATHMOREMOREMOREMORE

  2. 3:40 For the rest of my life I shall forever think that a blue flame comes to get rid of wastes in my brain. I want to sleep just to make sure he's happy.

  3. The ONE THING teachers didn’t learn

    Edit: Teachers barely get sleep too. So, ONE OF THE MANY THINGS THE DISTRICTS DONT KNOW

  4. Longest stretch I've been without sleep was 38 days straight thanks to being extremely strung out on meth. I now have permanent schitzoaffective disorder and have to take medication. Sleep deprivation causes your brain to dream while it's awake. This caused severe paranoia, hallucinations and incoherent speech. When I'd finally collapsed in my bedroom I slept for almost 8 days straight. Upon awakening it felt like I was dead. Went to the hospital and got help. I've been clean now for several years, but it's affects still linger on.

  5. What if a person working hours is odd and then have to come back home after 4:30am or 5am and then they can't sleep for 7-8hours. They struggle to sleep and hardly get 6-7 hrs sleep

  6. I think this video was recommended for all of us who have a high watch time in a day which makes our sleep time less than 10 hours. One of the few times youtube cared more about my health than anyone else . xD

  7. Me staying up 2 days straight: I mean I don't feel that bad
    My brain: ahhHhHHhHHhHHHjHHjjhhHHJJHHhHHHHHHhHHHHhhhJhJJjJJjjjhhhhhhhhhHhhJHHhHH

  8. I'm just looking at all the people in the comments who dont sleep, is it weird that this makes me feel less alone when I'm trying to sleep?

  9. I stop sleeping at night for some reason and only slept for 3 hours usually in the morning, which made me start to lose focus and I could barely walk without nearly fainting.

  10. Ive stayed awake for about 2 or 3 days before, all that happened was i got more sleepy every day and got more hungry regulary, i can stay awake for a long time i just go to bed, but i dont go to sleep i just stay awake, it doesnt affect me unless im awake for more than about 4 days, the thing that makes me sleep, staying awake so long that i just go to sleep

  11. Oh god.. I only slept 11 hours out of 3 days. 2 days I didn’t sleep. Im okay because im put of medication that keeps me awake. Kind of seeing things.

  12. all im saying is, if im getting thrown into something that requires me to take 7-8 different classes with hw coming in, clubs, sports, work, alone time, chores, etc., DO NOT expect me to get that 10 hour sleep im supposed to be getting. cause i swear im getting half of that or less.

  13. lol when your teachers expect you to finish hours of homework and then ask why you’re not focusing on class 😴😴😴

  14. Teacher: begin to talk about math and science stuff
    The whole class: Zzzzzzz
    Me: You're doing the right choice by saving our lives. Just let us sleep in peace

  15. I only sleep 4 hours everyday because i have to wake up for work in early morning that's why i always feel tired, angry and nervous 😔

  16. Gonna show this to everyone that’s like ‘Ha I geT 3 HouRS eVERy nIGHt aND SomeTImES I DonT EveN SLEep’

    Yeah, okay
    Explain your functioning brain and the bags that are not under your eyes

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