For many of us, including myself, we often feel there are not enough hours in the day to complete all of our tasks. Even if we wake up early, and get to bed late, we still experience stress. Sleeping is something you normally should be spending half of your life doing, but there are many consequences for not getting enough sleep, or staying up all night. Ultimately, if we as humans were to stop sleeping, right now, it would result in death within a few months. Even if you sleep just a little bit less on a regular basis, you put yourself at an increased risk of depression, diabetes, cancer, brain disorders, and not to mention, a shorter life expectancy.
So what exactly happens to our bodies when we pull “all-nighters”? First, your mesolimbic system will be stimulated and will begin to produce dopamine. With your body producing dopamine, you will feel like you have more energy, a better outlook on things, and an increase in sex drive, and many others.
Things do not stay positive for long! Shortly after, your brain starts to turn off the regions that are used for future planning and decision-making. Being awake for 24 hours is similar to being drunk. Your perception and your reaction speed starts to slow down, and you are now mentally and physically exhausted. Driving is dangerous and should not be done when you haven’t gone to bed.
During day two of no sleep, your body would start to shut down more important physical functions. It would start to lose the ability to metabolize glucose, which results in less energy. You might start looking a bit pale and start to feel ill. Your immune system starts to become suppressed, resulting in an increased change of contracting a cold, or the flu.
Sleep puts our body in an anabolic state, where we produce testosterone and growth hormones to help us build muscle, burn fat, heal wounds, and fight off illness. During the second day of no sleep, you will quickly develop blood shot eyes, and an increase in fine lines and wrinkles on your face. Beauty sleep actually is a real thing!
During day three of not sleeping, it is very common to experience hallucinations. They can be visual or auditory and usually contains all kinds of strange imagery that you would experience in dreams just before waking up. The brain is being starved of REM sleep at this point. REM sleep is important to our health and well being.