What Happens to You When You Don’t Sleep for Days
After 1 Day…❘After 36 Hours…❘After 2 Days…❘After 3 Days…❘Why People Can’t Sleep
All-night study sessions, important business deals, new babies — most people will experience a taste of sleep deprivation at some point in life. While the occasional lack of sleep may not seem like a big deal, the impact of sleep deprivation can be intense and its effects can linger. In extreme circumstances, sleep deprivation can ultimately lead to death.
“As a society, as families and individuals, we have not yet fully appreciated the importance of sleep,” says Terry Cralle, RN, a certified clinical sleep educator in Fairfax, Virginia. “Sleep, along with diet and exercise, constitutes the very foundation of good health.” In fact, she says, the three are so interconnected that each needs to be a priority.
Chronic poor sleep puts us at increased risk for serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. During sleep, our bodies secrete hormones that help control appetite, metabolism, and glucose processing. Poor sleep can lead to an increase in the body’s production of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. In addition, skimping on sleep seems to throw other body hormones out of whack. Less insulin is released after you eat, and this along with the increased cortisol may lead to too much glucose in the bloodstream and thus an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
But how much sleep do I really need? Everyone is different, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. (1) And contrary to popular belief, sleeping an extra hour or two on the weekends can not make up for the lost sleep you may be experiencing over the course of a busy week. It could also throw off your internal body clock and possibly lead to Sunday night insomnia. Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule is the best way to regulate the body’s clock.
While pulling an all-nighter (or longer) might seem like a feat worth celebrating, here’s a look at what you’re putting your body through.