Life Goes On…

Sleep Deprivation!!
August 2, 2006, 3:04 pm
Filed under: Life in general, Whole New Education

Syet sa OA kong takot on not getting enough sleep. There I go researching on the effects of lack of sleep on our brains. 🙂

Here are my findings from


“The effects of full sleep deprivation in humans beyond eleven days have not been explored due to the health risks involved. Presumably, irreversible damage will soon follow, then death. This has been demonstrated in lab rats which died after being prevented from sleeping for two weeks. It is also evidenced by a very rare human brain disease called Fatal Familial Insomnia, where an adult individual slowly loses the ability to sleep, and the victims experience all of the above symptoms gradually over a few months. This disease eventually leads to dementia, permanent personality changes, motor paralysis, and ultimately death.

Apparently, lack of sleep causes all of these adverse effects because it causes brain damage. During a normal day, the brain is slightly damaged by the body’s metabolism, and by free radicals. When one is asleep, the brain engages a repair center which slowly mends the tiny injuries, restoring the brain to its full potential. During the deepest phase of sleep, called REM, it is believed that the repair center itself is repaired. But the longer that sleep is prevented, the more damage one’s brain accrues, and the more sleep one will require to repair it. Too much damage, and it becomes irreparable.

turns out that if one actively prevents sleep for a prolonged period of time, which some people have tried, severe side effects pile on rapidly. All symptoms increase in severity as new ones appear:

  • After missing one night of sleep, expect fatigue, reduced attention span and problems with short-term memory.
  • After missing 2 to 3 nights, one will also suffer poor coordination, muscle twitches, marked loss of concentration, impaired judgment, blurred vision, nausea, and slurring of speech. Often one will experience episodes of microsleep (briefly sleeping for a few seconds at a time, without being aware of it).
  • At about 4 to 5 days without sleep, expect extreme irritability, hallucinations, and delusional episodes.
  • After about 6 to 8 missed nights, add slowed speech, tremors in limb extremities, memory lapse, confusion concerning one’s own identity, unusual behavior, and paranoia to the list.
  • After 9 to 11 nights without sleep, fragmented thinking occurs (beginning sentences without completing them), and prolonged episodes of unresponsive “conscious stupor.”

Getting too little sleep in general can prevent the brain from being restored to 100% effectiveness, and can keep an individual at a perpetually reduced potential. As a consequence, the brain must work harder to accomplish the same amount of work, which is detrimental to efficiency. The brain also uses sleep as a time to sort, process, and catalog all of the information it has absorbed throughout the waking period, which is why memory is adversely effected by lack of sleep. Creativity also suffers because the brain builds creative associations from memories while slumbering. As if that weren’t enough, the immune system will be weakened by insufficient sleep.”


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