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What If You Stopped Sleeping? | Whateven
What If You Stopped Sleeping?

By: @ScienceBuzz

Sleep deprived

Meet Charlie

After an 8 hour sleep, we feel refreshed, energized and ready to perform everyday tasks. Our body is working at peak levels and our day begins, but what if we just stopped sleeping after that? What if instead of sleeping, we forced ourselves to stay awake? Is it something we should do? Certainly not.

Charlie is confident to do so. Who’s Charlie? Well Charlie is just an imaginary person we just made up. What he’ll go through isn’t though.


Sun rise

The Start Of The Day

Charlie’s day starts with a cup of coffee and a sandwich. The cup of coffee gives Charlie the boost to combat the day’s workload. An ordinary day to most people, but today Charlie’s coffee crash isn’t an ordinary crash. He’ll have to fight it because he can’t sleep.

Already 5 hours in the day, and Charlie is feeling a bit tired. He can still work, but an afternoon nap sounds pretty nice right now. Charlie is not really mad that he can’t nap. Why? Well after his 8 hour sleep, Charlie produced dopamine.

Dopamine is a chemical produced by the brain that in return causes positivity and will make a person happier. Dopamine is produced by everyone after a goodnight’s sleep. Charlie knows he can combat the day a little further, but not for long.


Lego trashman

Recollection Mode

After 11 hours of no sleep, Charlie’s brain begins to sort all the memories he experienced over the course of the day. This recollection mode uses a good amount of energy and will eventually make Charlie’s muscles weak and limp. The muscles in his eyelids, legs, and arms will all become drained of energy. This is the initial sign of Charlie’s body saying it’s time to sleep!

Fourteen hours in, and Charlie’s brain wants him to turn off the lights. Headaches start to emerge and his eyes look kind of red. The only way to solve this problem is to go to sleep, but let’s take Charlie a bit further with 20 hours of no sleep.


Fried Brain

At this point, Charlie’s brain can’t properly sort the day’s events because it’s too busy powering his alertness. His body begins to go into protection mode. Headaches start to worsen and Charlie’s a mess! After 24 hours of no sleep, it starts to get dangerous. Charlie’s reaction time begins to slow down and he also begins to lose his sense of coordination.

He limps around begging us to let him sleep, but our imaginary friend needs to stay in a little longer for this article. He tries to fight us, but he can’t accurately hit us. He swings and instead hits our small green plant. Charlie trips on his legs, and there you have it. An embarrassing look at how 20 hours of no sleep can look like.


You Start To Hallucinate

Two days pass, and now Charlie is exhausted. Mentally he’s going crazy, physically he can’t move without falling down, and his immune system is also beginning to shut down.

With Charlie’s immune system shut down, he is now vulnerable to any threat. He is now losing control of his arms and legs and his brain is deprived of energy. He may eat a ton of food, but if he doesn’t sleep the food is useless.

Day three begins and Charlie is starting to act crazy. He’s starting to hallucinate and jump around. He is so deprived of energy that his tongue ceases to move. This isn’t coincidence though. The brain needs to cut off communication with this muscle in order to slow down the energy consumption.


Ugly Duckling

It is now the fourth day, and Charlie is looking horrible. His appearance is declining and his health isn’t looking too good. At this point, Charlie is too worn out to do anything. He lays in bed, however, he can’t sense anything. He is unable to function anymore.

Lucky for Charlie, he went to sleep and woke up after 10 hours fine! Sleep deprivation does not do any damage to your body, but it does do some damage at the moment.

After some days without sleep, you can go to sleep and feel normal afterwards. The longest time a person has gone with no sleep is 11 days, but that doesn’t mean you can do it too. A Chinese man tried it and died. Lucky for Charlie, he’s awake and ready to start his day.


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