What Happens When We Don’t Sleep?

Top Funniest Sleep Memes: Take Your Portion of Good Laugh - Terry Cralle

What’s something that we all have in common, well we sleep. I’ll admit it, some of us get more than others, but at the end of the day our favorite activity is more than willing to greet us with open arms when we’ve had enough. We already know that sleep is crucial for memory formation, specifically long term memory consolidation. Since we already know that we might ask the question, “what happens if we don’t sleep?”

Before we jump into that, lets briefly discuss what we already know. The Calcium/cAMP/MAPK/CRE pathway is necessary for memory consolidation.  The MAPK pathway is especially important in the hippocampus where long term memory is formed. REM seems to increase the activity of the pathway listed above.

Now lets look at what happens when we don’t sleep, or more specifically when we are sleep deprived. We can’t really look at what happens when we don’t sleep at all because we would die without sleeping eventually.

  1. You get sick much easier when you don’t sleep, your immune system is weakened leading to more illness.
  2. Not sleep is very bad for your heart. You are at higher risks for heart disease and strokes.
  3. Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk for developing cancer.
  4. It is hard to think straight, we’ve all dealt with this one. When you’re tired all you can think about is sleep and not doing that homework that’s due tomorrow.
  5. Your memory is impacted and you cannot recall things. This one we’ve already talked about so it shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone.
  6. This one might sound strange, but just bear with me. Sex drive is negatively impacted by a lack of sleep. Not sleeping lowers testosterone and other sex hormones by up to 15%.
  7. You are more likely to gain weight… sad
  8. Risk for diabetes goes up
  9. Rates of accidents goes up, this goes along with lack of focus/thinking straight.
  10. Your skin quality goes down; fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin color, looseness of skin, etc.

If those things don’t sound bad enough, here’s a couple more shown in the figure below. Some of these things are repeats that we talked about already but some are new.

Its hard to get enough sleep when we live in a world that prioritizes productivity and working long hours. There never seems to be enough time in our day to do everything that we need to. But take this into consideration, don’t sleep just because its good for you, although that is a pretty good reason to do just that. Sleep because it will make you far better at doing those things in your day to day life that you never seem to have enough time to do. You’ll be more productive, have better quality work, and be much happier doing so. Although you might not feel like you have the time to sleep, it will be better for you in the long run if you close your eyes and get some rest.

79 Brilliant Sleep Memes

Lets diverge a little bit into some serious material, I might be reaching here but stick with me.

“Being awake for at least 18 hours is the same as someone having¬† blood alcohol content of 0.05%”-the CDC

“Being awake for 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of 0.10%”- the CDC

Why do I include these two quotes from the CDC? Simple, get some sleep or your essentially drunk, we all disagree with drunk driving and doing important things while under the influence. But we should also have a similar mindset when it comes to doing things while being tired, its the same thing. I suppose the moral of the story is you could either drink a strawberry daiquiri or stay awake for 18+ hours, which is worse? Should we allow people who are that tired to drive and do other crucial things in our daily life, or should sleep deprivation be equivalent to being drunk? For example, surgeons work extremely long shifts and they are performing potentially dangerous procedures on their patient. Their shifts can be 12-28 hours long, that’s more than enough to have a BAC above the legal range. Our society needs to accept sleep rather than demonize those of us who just want to perform at our best. Don’t let your surgeon be Patrick, although he seems like a nice guy he’s not entirely in the right mindset for surgery. 25 Witty No Sleep Memes For Insomniacs - SayingImages.com

References

https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/drowsy_driving.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-lose-sleep#accidentprone

https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-sleep-deprivation-3015161

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