How long could this sleepless “forever” last? Could you even be productive without recharging every night? When would your friends start telling you to get some rest? And what exactly would happen to your body?
How often have you needed just a few more hours to finish a project, to get ready for a date, or to enjoy your day off? If you took sleep out of your daily routine, you’d have all 24 hours of the day to do everything you never had time for. What have you got to lose? In 1964, an American student set the new documented record for staying awake without any stimulants.
He didn’t sleep for 11 days. Midterms must’ve been really stressful back in those days. But you, YOU can do better than that, right? Sure! What’s a few yawns and some minor tiredness if it meant you’d never have to waste anymore time lying in bed for no good reason? Or is there a good reason behind why we sleep?
Turns out, there are plenty of good reasons to sleep. “The average person spends one third of their life lying in bed, eyes shut, snoring away. Sounds like a waste of valuable time. But not for your body.” While you sleep, your body releases hormones and repairs tissues, replacing your old cells with the new ones.
If you worked out that day, you need a good sleep to let your muscles grow and your fat burn. So what happens if you don’t sleep? Not much at first. After just 24 hours you’d feel completely fine. In fact, you’d feel better than “fine”. That’s because sleeplessness stimulates the mesolimbic pathway in your brain.
This pathway would release dopamine – and you’d feel happy and full of energy. But don’t be fooled by all that happiness – it’s not going to last long. Soon after reaching the 24-hour mark, all your reactions would slow down. Your brain would start to forget what you were doing.
Outwardly, you’d appear to be drunk. Wait, where were we? Right, now what about two days without sleep? At that point your body would start shutting down. It would stop metabolizing glucose properly, leaving you with no energy supply. You’d start looking very pale – like a character from the Middle Ages.
Your eyes would turn red, and then more bad news, your wrinkles would become more visible. On day three, that’s when the real fun begins. Hallucinations. Starved of REM sleep, your brain would bring all your dreams…and nightmares to life. “At around the 72-hour mark you’d start breaking down your own protein – your muscles.
Remember we said you’d lack enough glucose to give your brain the energy to function? ” You’d get some of it from the amino acids released by your body’s proteins. So say goodbye to all that muscle mass you worked so hard to build up. Otherwise, your body would keep using up all the energy sources it could find – glucose leftovers, your muscles, fat, tissue…
After about two weeks, your immune system would be so weak, you could die from the common flu. Eventually, three weeks after your last sleep, you’d probably die from a heart attack. If you’ve got a little extra muscle or fat on your body, you could stay alive just a little bit longer, but we don’t recommend that anyone try this at home anyway. So grab yourself a pillow, and take a siesta.
If it seems like you’re always tired, make sure you’re getting the prescribed 6-8 hours of sleep per night..