Sleep deprivation: understanding it's symptoms and stages.

Sleep deprivation: understanding it's symptoms and stages.

We have all had a sleepless night every now and again. We are human beings, each with our own set of problems and worries and losing sleep is bound to happen to all of us every now and again.

What if it happens to you a lot more "now" than "again"? This is commonly called sleep deprivation and it can be a serious issue if ignored.

Here are some of the symptoms that you can expect to deal with if you are suffering from sleep deprivation:

  • drowsiness
  • lack of focus
  • anger/irritability
  • stress
  • hallucinations
  • slowed reaction time


Now let's take a look at the different stages of sleep deprivation:

STAGE 1: 24 hours of no sleep

  • While it is unlikely that this stage will cause you any severe problems, you will feel some side effects. Lack of sleep for 24 hours or more is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.1%. That's higher than your province's legal limit.

STAGE 2: 36 hours of no sleep

  • After 36 hours, things will get significantly worse. Drowsiness and impaired concentration will get worse. Your appetite will increase and you will have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

STAGE 3: 48 hours of no sleep

  • Along with all of the symptoms already mentioned, if you go two full days without sleep, you may experience short periods of unintentional 'microsleep'. When this happens, you doze off for a few seconds and your brain falls into a state similarly to that of when you are sleeping. Symptoms of microsleep include; irritability, confusion and a decline to your entire immune system.

STAGE 4: 72 hours of no sleep

  • Again, after three full days with no sleep, all of the aformentioned symptoms will be there, but you will also have to deal with possible hallucinations and disoriented thinking. You will experience a worsening mood and higher cholesterol levels, and your urge to sleep will become extreemly intense.

STAGE 5: 96+ hours of no sleep

  • This stage can be very dangerous! The longer time that we go without sleep, the more psychotic symptoms we begin to develop. After going this long without sleep, your perception of reality is likely to be disoriented.
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