What a week without sleep does to your body


We live in a world where everyone is busy. The to-do list seems to only grow longer while the days go by quicker. With so many things to do in a limited amount of time, people often prioritize their plans at the expense of sleep. Skipping out on sleep seems relatively harmless. Some people believe “sleep is for the weak,’” but little do they know, the various effects that are caused by not sleeping, can be damaging. Here is what happens to a person’s body when they don’t sleep for a week:

First 24 Hours

Based on Jolanta Orzeł-Gryglewska’s 2010 study, “Consequences of sleep deprivation”, a person’s overall judgment is affected, attention decreases and decision making skills begin to deteriorate. Additionally, memory, hand-eye coordination and hearing are all impaired. The person is also more emotional than he/she usually is. All of these effects tie together to increase the risk of dying from a fatal accident.

At 48 Hours

At the end of the second day, the body starts to shut down for “microsleeps”. As stated in the article “The Scary Things That Happen to You When You Don’t Sleep”, microsleeps are similar to blackouts, but the person experiencing them falls asleep for half a second to nearly 30 seconds. If the person doesn’t remain focused, he/she will oftentimes stumble over their words while speaking.

At 72 Hours

On the third day, having a simple conversation becomes a difficult task. Due to the decrease in perception, concentration and motor skills, an individual is more susceptible to hallucinations and “false memories”. Along with the body’s blood pressure and heart rate, the risk of heart disease and stroke also increase.

At 96 Hours

On day four of no sleep, one may start to develop psychosis and hallucinations. When this happens, the body is physically awake, while the brain tends to shut off, or falls asleep. During the episodes, one will lose contact with reality and develop schizophrenic-like symptoms.

At 120 Hours

During the fifth day without sleep, the body is still suffering physically and mentally. One will most likely experience a reduction in their vision, as well as significantly slowed speech and limb tremors, or involuntary muscle contractions. The substantial decrease in the ability to think, causes the individual to be paranoid and scared.

The next time you think of pulling that all-nighter to play video games or to do homework, just keep in mind the horrors of not sleeping. It plays an important role in keeping humans alive.