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Can Sleep Deprivation Kill You

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Causes Of Breathing Stopping During Sleep

How lack of sleep can kill you

Sleep-related breathing disturbances are fairly common. The most familiar one to most people is snoring. The characteristic sound is caused by vibration in the tissues of your upper airway while you breathe.

It is also possible for you to completely stop breathing for a while. These breathing pauses are called sleep apnea, from the Greek for no breath. By definition, apnea events last at least 10 seconds, but they can stretch on for several minutes.

The most common cause of apnea is the sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea . OSA occurs when the tissues of the upper airwaythe tongue, soft palate, and uvulacollapse into the throat and block the normal airflow.

Your body may still make an effort to breathe, with the chest and abdomen moving, but the air can’t get past the obstruction. As a result, airflow through your nose and mouth is reduced or cut off during these periods.

Other potential causes of disturbed breathing during sleep are less common. They include:

Tired People Have A Harder Time Controlling Their Impulses Potentially Leading To Unhealthy Behaviour And Weight Gain

People who don’t get enough sleep have a harder time resisting high-calorie foods, more cravings for unhealthy meals, and difficulty controlling their impulses. Researchers think hormonal imbalances that result from sleep deprivation are responsible for this, since those imbalances are linked to a high body mass index and obesity.

Regardless of your body’s clock, a lack of sleep will cause your physical and mental health to suffer. Supplied

What Are The Consequences Of Oversleeping

Excessive sleeping can be just as detrimental to your physical health as not sleeping at all. Sleep apnea, narcolepsy, depression, anxiety disorders, illness, and medications can all cause over-sleeping. Your motivation, energy, and enthusiasm can almost vanish from over-sleeping. Your personal relationships and ability to work can suffer.

Learn how to get more deep sleep, here.

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Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes Rises When People Are Over

Being awake when your body wants you to be asleep messes with your metabolism, which in turn increases your risk for insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.

Several studies in adults have found a strong association though not a cause-effect relationship between regular sleep loss and the risk of developing diabetes. More sleep may also help reduce diabetes risk for adolescents, according to researchers.

Are You Ready To Improve Your Sleeping Habits

Can Sleep Deprivation Kill You? The Grave Consequences Of Sleep Loss

While sleep may be low on our priority list, its crucial to leading a healthy work life. Skipping sleep to make time for more work may seem more advantageous to you at the moment, but at the end of the day, sacrificing sleep impacts your mental, physical, and overall health.

As a society, we are sleep deprived so much so that losing only one hour of sleep when Daylight Saving Time rolls around increases our drowsy driving accident rates by 7%. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research reports sleep-related accidents and disorders which impact work productivity cost the American economy between $100 and $150 billion annually.

Sleep deprivation kills, and our failure to recognize the impact of a sleepless night continues to baffle researchers as humans are the only mammal that actively puts off rest.

We hope this article has given you a greater insight into what happens when youre entering your 24th hour without sleep. To get better rest and improve your bedtime habits, we have curated a list of sleep tips for industrial workers.

Interested in learning more about data-driven fatigue management?

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What Is Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is insufficient sleep initially causing fatigue, and in ongoing cases potentially resulting in poor health. It may be chronic , or acute .

Whilst sleep-deprivation is a serious issue with many negative consequences, there is a period in most adults lives when it is very common to experience the problem, ie. during the early years of parenting. As if you didnt already know that

Read: Respectful Sleep Training to Help Your Little One Sleep Better

What Happens To Your Body Without Sleep

If you only get a few hours of sleep or if you don’t get any sleep for several days, severe symptoms can developincluding hallucinations and psychosis.

After a few days without sleep, you are unlikely to diebut you will have trouble staying awake. You may fall asleep no matter what you are doing, even if that sleep isn’t as restful as your body needs.

However, severe, chronic sleep deprivation may actually lead to death. This can occur in extremely uncommon disorders such as fatal familial insomnia or sporadic fatal insomnia. These conditions make it physically impossible for a person to get enough sleep. This eventually leads to death.

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Summary Of The Cognitive Theories Of Sleep Deprivation

There are two general theories. One is that our functioning is not impaired most of the time when we are sleep deprived, but that short burst of near-sleep like activity in the brain leads to decreased performance. The idea here is that we sporadically come close to falling asleep, which leads to a loss of functioning.

The other theory is that the increased sleep related activity in the brain leads to general cognitive instability. This would be something like the notion that when we dont get enough sleep, our waking brain activity more closely resembles sleep, in essence we are partially asleep. Both theories predict failures when it comes to performance, especially as the time on task increases. More on the neuroscience later!

Eleven Days Without Sleep

Sleep deprivation can put your brain to sleep

The short-term consequences of sleeplessness came to light in 1964 in a now-famous event in which American high school student Randy Gardner kept himself awake for 11 days and 25 minutes.

When he finally slept, he did so for just 14 hours and 40 minutes, then woke up naturally, stayed awake for 24 hours and then slept a normal eight hours.

“This kid showed that you can stay awake a long time and it’s not fatal,” Dr Marshall says.

“I mean, I’m not recommending it â he was a special case and he had experts supervising him â but it’s not fatal he just slept for 14 hours.”

However, Dr Marshall points out that the effect of Randy’s experiment on his health was not examined in any detail.

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How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need

Everyone feels better after a good nights rest. But now, thanks to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, you can aim for a targeted sleep number tailored to your age.

The foundation based its report on two years of research andbreaks it down into nine age-specific categories, with a slight range thatallows for individual preference:

  • Older adults, 65+ years: 7 to 8 hours.
  • Adults, 26 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • Young adults, 18 to 25 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • Teenagers, 14 to 17 years: 8 to 10 hours.
  • School-age children, 6 to 13 years: 9 to 11 hours.
  • Preschool children, 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours.
  • Toddlers, 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours.
  • Infants, 4 to 11 months: 12 to 15 hours.
  • Newborns, 0 to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours.

Dr. Walia says theres evidence that genetic, behavioral and environmental factors help determine how much sleep an individual needs for their best health and daily performance.

But a minimum of seven hours of sleep is a step in the rightdirection to improve your health, she says.

Being Sleepy Makes It Harder To Learn And Disrupts Short

Sleepiness has long been a problem for students. Delaying school start times an hour for middle-school kids has been found to significantly increase standardized test scores, and it may have an even bigger effect on teens, who naturally tend to be night owls.

But it’s not just kids sleep deprivation also wrecks adults’ short-term memory. Several studies have found that sleep-deprived adults have more difficulty remembering words they’ve learned and have a harder time improving newly learned skills.

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Confusing Causes Of Death

Rechtschaffens experimental successes should have finally enabled scientists to see how insufficient sleep kills, which might have led to bigger insights into what makes sleep so indispensable. But when the researchers performed autopsies on the animals, what they found mostly just added to the confusion. There were few consistent differences between the control rats and those that died from lack of sleep, and no sign of what had killed them. The deprived rats were thin and had enlarged adrenal glands, but that was about it. No anatomical cause of death was identified, the researchers concluded.

Observations of the animals behavior showed something more interesting. Animals sleep-deprived under these carefully controlled conditions would increase their food intake two and three times normal amounts, and lose weight, said Carol Everson, a professor of medicine and neurobiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin who was one of Rechtschaffens graduate students. We did all sorts of metabolic studies to try to find out if there was an impairment we could detect.

There was a strong feeling in the sleep field, however, that answers about sleeps most basic functions would be found in the brain. John Allan Hobson, a prominent Harvard Medical School sleep researcher, had just published a paper in Nature with the title Sleep is of the brain, by the brain and for the brain. As Shaw recalled, This captured the zeitgeist of the entire sleep community.

Sleepy People Are More Easily Distracted

Can Sleep Deprivation Kill You? The Grave Consequences Of Sleep Loss

“Attention tasks appear to be particularly sensitive to sleep loss,” researchers noted.

If you want to stay alert and attentive, sleep is a requirement. Otherwise, you enter “an unstable state that fluctuates within seconds and that cannot be characterized as either fully awake or asleep,” researchers said. In that state, your ability to pay attention is variable at best.

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Sleep Deprivation Effects On The Brain

Sleep deprivation means getting an insufficient amount of sleep. The average adult requires between seven to nine hours per night for optimal functioning.1 Sleep is beneficial to both the functioning of our brains and bodies. Conversely, sleep deprivation or non-restorative sleep can have a myriad of negative effects, particularly on our cognitive functioning. Lack of sleep effects can include memory and judgment impairment, mood swings, and sleep deprivation headaches. Other common signs of sleep deprivation may be clumsiness, and weight gain or weight loss. Chronic partial or total sleep deprivation can seriously impact your physical and mental health.

Disrupted Sleep Cycles Lead To More Inflammation Which Could Worsen Asthma Arthritis And Cardiovascular Disease

Our sleep cycle or body clock doesn’t just determine when we’re tired or awake it also affects the function of every cell in our body. Researchers have started to figure out how disruptions in sleep schedules prevent cells from fighting inflammation, which could explain why tired people often have many problems from inflammatory conditions, including asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.

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How Lack Of Sleep Can Kill You

Sleep deprivation increases your chances of accidents, including car crashes.

Yes, you just read that sleep deprivation can’t kill you, except in the case of the rare genetic disease FFI. Although it’s true there’s no hard evidence that people die directly from sleep deprivation, people can die from events related to sleep deprivation.

Lack of sleep can kill you indirectly by increasing your overall morbidity risk, says Dr. Shelby Harris, licensed psychologist, board-certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist and neurology professor. Medically, chronic sleep inadequacy can increase morbidity in a number of ways, she says, including:

  • Impaired immune functioning
  • Weight gain, which increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure
  • Increased risk of depression, which increases the risk of suicide
  • Psychosis, which may lead to self-harm

Complete and partial sleep deprivation also heavily affect your risk of accidents, falls and injuries. For example, operating heavy machinery becomes extremely dangerous when you’re running on little to no sleep.

Sleep deprivation may also increase your chances of dying from an underlying health issue that already exists. For example, people have died during video gaming marathons which, on the surface, seems due to sleep deprivation. However, autopsies reveal the true cause is likely a combination of exhaustion and heart failure, heart attack or stroke.

Do You Need Sleep To Live

Sleep Debt can kill you! The importance of proper sleep

Sleep is an essential component of a healthy body and mind. When you sleep, your body recharges itself, memories are cataloged and stored, hormones are regulated, and your mind is reset. You always feel better about things after a good nights sleep. Good quality sleep is as essential to a healthy immune system as fresh air and a healthy diet.

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Relation Between Sleep And Alzheimers:

Our brain built up includes cleansing of a protein called beta-amyloid, which can only proceed during our sleeping period. This protein connects with Alzheimerâs disease so that sleeplessness can enhance the chances of this disease.

NIH passed out the statement that if one is not having enough sleep, then it can lead to cause an increase in the protein. This increase in the protein results in amyloid plague causing Alzheimer.

Also, this increased protein leads to the diminished neuron firing and puts the brain at more considerable risk.

How Long Does It Take To Die From Lack Of Sleep

There have been some sleep experiments where people have stayed awake for hundreds of hours. They suffered hallucinations, anger issues, and confusion. There are other rare cases where people have inexplicably been unable to sleep and died after 6 months of no sleep. This rare disease is Fatal Familial Insomnia .

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Tiredness Is Associated With Bad Decision

Planning to make some changes to your portfolio? You might want to make sure you’re well-rested.

“A single night of sleep deprivation evoked a strategy shift during risky decision making such that healthy human volunteers moved from defending against losses to seeking increased gains,” researchers said.

Other researchers have found that severe sleep deprivation impairs people’s ability to follow preestablished procedures for making a “go” or “no-go” decision, something that researchers say contributed to the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, the Chernobyl meltdown, and the Exxon Valdez disaster.

How Long Can Humans Stay Awake

Can Sleep Deprivation Kill You? The Grave Consequences Of Sleep Loss

For most healthy adults, 7-9 hours of sleep per night is recommended to maintain good health. Although, the majority of American adults would say they survive on much less. There are records of people going hundreds of hours without sleep. In 1965 a 17-year old Randy Gardner stayed awake for 11 days for a science fair experiment.

Some sleep deprivation experiments take place in a lab under controlled conditions. Others forgo sleep in an attempt to make their way into the Guinness World Records, and some to raise money for their favorite charity.

In 1959, radio presenter Peter Tripp set out on a 201 hour broadcast from a glass booth in Times Square. He was monitored by doctors, scientists, and an intrigued public. By day 3, Peter was hallucinating spiders in his shoes and cursing at everyone around him until the experiment was over.

His loved ones said the experiment changed his character from the man they knew, he got divorced, lost his job, and traveled around America as a salesman. Chances of dying in your sleep may be minimal but your life may take a dramatic turn like Peters if you stay awake for 201 hours.

Learn more about sleep deprivation, here.

You can survive longer without food than you can survive without sleep

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Tiredness Makes It Hard To Speak Normally

Severe sleep deprivation seems to affect your ability to carry on a conversation much like having too much to drink.

“Volunteers kept awake for 36 hours showed a tendency to use word repetitions and clichés they spoke monotonously, slowly, and indistinctly,” one study noted. “They were not able to properly express and verbalize their thoughts.”

% Of People Driving On Your Morning Commute Have Had Less Than 4 Hours Of Sleep

Many of us have worked in jobs where it felt like sleep deprivation was one of the requirements but rarely, if ever, did getting drunk make the job description.

If someone were to announce a new drug that would decrease your chance of contracting almost every known auto-immune disease, lower your risk for cancer, make you more attractive, smarter, healthier, better able to control cravings, and just make you a generally happier person who wouldnt jump on that?

Matthew Walker, Sleep Scientist, says,

Every disease that is killing us in developed nations has causal and significant links to a lack of sleep.

Experts have proven that 8-9 hours of good quality sleep is the answer we are looking for and yet less than 20% of Americans are taking advantage of this free wonder drug.

Lack of sleep among US workers alone costs the economy almost $411 billion a year. Thats 2.28 percent of the countrys GDP. Sleep deprivation also increases the risk of death by 13 percent and leads to the US losing 1.2 million working days a year.

It looks like even age does not guarantee wisdom in this area. The breakdown for respondents across all age groups, from 25-34 all the way through to those over 65 answered the same way, with the majority getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night.

That means that less than 20% of the population is getting a full 8 hours of sleep.

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