Have you ever pulled an all-nighter? How did you feel the next day?
Were you tired? Was it challenging to focus on specific tasks? Did it make you crave time in bed?
Most people experience sleep deprivation at some point in their lives.
Not getting enough sleep once in a while doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the impact of sleep deprivation is intense. The effects can linger long after you finally get some rest.
During extreme circumstances of sleep deprivation, you can even create life-threatening symptoms.
Chronic poor sleep increases the risk of experiencing a severe medical condition, such as heart disease, diabetes, or obesity.
If you manage to stay up for 72 hours (that’s 3 days!), then here is what happens to your body.
72 Hours Without Sleep: Hallucinations and More
If you stay awake for three consecutive days without getting any sleep, then significant cognitive deficits are in your future. You will experience issues with concentration, perception, and motivation.
People struggle with other higher mental processes after 72 sleepless hours as well. Even a simple conversation can feel like an impossible task.
This time is when the mind becomes the septa bull to hallucinations. You might see someone standing in the shadows, but that person turns out to be a branch upon closer inspection.
You will also start to experience stronger symptoms of sleep deprivation that occurred over the past days too. Disorientation, microsleep, and even blackouts are possible.
Why Do These Symptoms Occur?
You begin to experience these negative symptoms when you don’t receive the sleep you need because the body starts shutting down. It tries to get the rest it needs to help you accomplish your goals.
Microsleep is the most dangerous symptom of them all. Your body compensates for the lack of sleep by shutting itself down involuntarily. You might find yourself sleeping for a second or a minute, then startle yourself awake while experiencing an episode of disorientation.
You are not consciously aware of what is happening when your body shuts down like this. That is why driving while experiencing sleep deprivation is dangerous. You could literally fall asleep behind the wheel and not know what was happening.
It Only Takes 24 Hours for Symptoms to Begin
Sleep deprivation of 24 hours is enough to experience the physical symptoms of not getting enough rest.
The consequences of not getting any sleep for just a day create physical symptoms which are similar to someone who has a blood-alcohol content of 0.10.
That means your judgment is affected by this condition. You may experience lapses in memory. There is a deterioration in your decision-making abilities. Some people even experience a decline in their hand-eye coordination.
The only way to find relief from these symptoms is to get some sleep.
Most people will see a reduction in these symptoms after one full night of rest. The concerns typically disappear after 2-3 nights of consistent sleep.
Not all instances of sleep deprivation are voluntary. If you require caffeine to start your day, feel tired while driving, or have restless arms and legs at night, you may need to speak with a sleep specialist about your health.
By treating these symptoms, you can improve the rest you get each night.