What would happen if you didn’t sleep? – Claudia Aguirre

By Brian Lemay 76 comments

In 1965, 17-year-old high school student,
Randy Gardner stayed awake for 264 hours. That’s 11 days to see how
he’d cope without sleep. On the second day,
his eyes stopped focusing. Next, he lost the ability
to identify objects by touch. By day three, Gardner was moody
and uncoordinated. At the end of the experiment,
he was struggling to concentrate, had trouble with short-term memory, became paranoid, and started hallucinating. Although Gardner recovered without
long-term psychological or physical damage, for others, losing shuteye can result
in hormonal imbalance, illness, and, in extreme cases, death. We’re only beginning to understand
why we sleep to begin with, but we do know it’s essential. Adults need seven to eight hours
of sleep a night, and adolescents need about ten. We grow sleepy due to signals
from our body telling our brain we are tired, and signals from the environment
telling us it’s dark outside. The rise in sleep-inducing chemicals, like adenosine and melatonin, send us into a light doze
that grows deeper, making our breathing
and heart rate slow down and our muscles relax. This non-REM sleep is when DNA is repaired and our bodies replenish themselves
for the day ahead. In the United States, it’s estimated that 30% of adults
and 66% of adolescents are regularly sleep-deprived. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience. Staying awake can cause
serious bodily harm. When we lose sleep, learning, memory, mood, and reaction time are affected. Sleeplessness may also cause inflammation, halluciations, high blood pressure, and it’s even been linked
to diabetes and obesity. In 2014, a devoted soccer fan died after staying awake for 48 hours
to watch the World Cup. While his untimely death
was due to a stroke, studies show that chronically sleeping
fewer than six hours a night increases stroke risk
by four and half times compared to those getting a consistent
seven to eight hours of shuteye. For a handful of people on the planet who
carry a rare inherited genetic mutation, sleeplessness is a daily reality. This condition,
known as Fatal Familial Insomnia, places the body in a nightmarish
state of wakefulness, forbidding it from entering
the sanctuary of sleep. Within months or years, this progressively worsening condition
leads to dementia and death. How can sleep deprivation
cause such immense suffering? Scientists think the answer lies
with the accumulation of waste prducts in the brain. During our waking hours, our cells are busy using up
our day’s energy sources, which get broken down
into various byproducts, including adenosine. As adenosine builds up, it increases the urge to sleep,
also known as sleep pressure. In fact, caffeine works by blocking
adenosine’s receptor pathways. Other waste products
also build up in the brain, and if they’re not cleared away,
they collectively overload the brain and are thought to lead to the many
negative symptoms of sleep deprivation. So, what’s happening in our brain
when we sleep to prevent this? Scientists found something called
the glymphatic system, a clean-up mechanism
that removes this buildup and is much more active when we’re asleep. It works by using cerebrospinal fluid
to flush away toxic byproducts that accumulate between cells. Lymphatic vessels,
which serve as pathways for immune cells, have recently been discovered
in the brain, and they may also play a role in clearing
out the brain’s daily waste products. While scientists continue exploring
the restorative mechanisms behind sleep, we can be sure that slipping
into slumber is a necessity if we want to maintain our health
and our sanity.


Aurora Lung

Aug 8, 2019, 3:02 am Reply

TED-Ed: Adolescents need 10 hours of sleep.

Global School System: Lol wut

sama MH

Aug 8, 2019, 10:19 am Reply

I only sleep 4 hours everyday because i have to wake up for work in early morning that's why i always feel tired, angry and nervous 😔

Vincent Buckley

Aug 8, 2019, 10:50 pm Reply

Great you made me paranoid


Aug 8, 2019, 11:58 pm Reply

Adolescents: Need 10 hours of sleep

Education System: NO

phoenix does gaming 101 420

Aug 8, 2019, 7:00 am Reply

Who else is watching at 4 am?

you stupid

Aug 8, 2019, 8:17 am Reply

Vid : sleepin is super important
Me at 3 am :


Aug 8, 2019, 5:36 pm Reply

Here I am at 3am watching this.

Im motivated to go to sleep.


Aug 8, 2019, 8:54 pm Reply

one word: SCHOOL

Huhhhclara 24

Aug 8, 2019, 2:11 am Reply

me watching this trying to fall sleep :
video : sleep deprivation
ms : “ couldn’t be me “


Aug 8, 2019, 7:29 pm Reply

Gonna show this to everyone that’s like ‘Ha I geT 3 HouRS eVERy nIGHt aND SomeTImES I DonT EveN SLEep’

Yeah, okay
Explain your functioning brain and the bags that are not under your eyes


Aug 8, 2019, 4:09 pm Reply

What would happen if I ONLY SLEEP ?

guadalupe gutierrez

Aug 8, 2019, 2:16 am Reply

I stay awake till 6:30 am lol

Sharath S R

Aug 8, 2019, 2:11 am Reply

Even also my father sleep up to 9 o clock he got heart attack and pacemaker implanted, ohooo what a funny joke


Aug 8, 2019, 7:26 am Reply

Watching this at 3:30 AM

matt miller

Aug 8, 2019, 9:08 am Reply

I stayed awake for 3 days in a row I didn't start seeing stuff but I did hear things

Koushik Kotagiri

Aug 8, 2019, 9:45 pm Reply

Youtube recommended me this at 3:15 AM 🤣

Noor Ahmed

Aug 8, 2019, 2:39 am Reply

Uh oh (。ŏ﹏ŏ) 😂

Al Diablo

Sep 9, 2019, 2:32 am Reply

I barely sleep i feel like my brain is broken..

Pocholo Catoto

Sep 9, 2019, 1:09 pm Reply

you would be attacked by phantoms


Sep 9, 2019, 5:01 am Reply

“less than 6 hours of sleep increases stroke risk 4.5 times”
me at 2 am knowing i have to wake up at 7: “hmmm interesting”

Dongjoo Hwang

Sep 9, 2019, 5:48 am Reply

Whatever this fusion jazz song is, it's good

Colin Richardson

Sep 9, 2019, 8:30 pm Reply

https://youtu.be/91wX0NRjJqg thank me later

Madihah Zulkifli

Sep 9, 2019, 9:36 pm Reply

the irony, i saved this video to my watching playlist months ago and am watching it when i just had 3 hours of sleep :/


Sep 9, 2019, 11:36 pm Reply



Sep 9, 2019, 11:41 pm Reply

i’m lucky to get 3 hours a night no bs. it’s like that everyday. ima die of a stroke i guess

minus 9us

Sep 9, 2019, 8:33 am Reply

i know that noone believes it, but i sleep an hour a week. sometimes less. and its even more interesting that i have narcolepsy and cataplexy. i feel superhuman, the lack of fatigue and ability to function has been suprising. i disagree with many of the "facts" and some cultures see sleeping as apon waking, they rename the person, and consider the waking person as a fresh spirit. like when u sleep, each imdividual wakes as a reborn soul. thomas edison, jp steinmetz, thomas jefferson, elon musk, frank zappa…. the most brilliant minds were product of very little sleep. ive made breakthroughs and discoveries that the common person would not be able to even contemplate or imagine, and the surrounding enviornment through the eyes of someone who rarely sleeps reveals itself as a different realm with scensory perception. causes many realizations and potentials that ordinary society would roll eyes at. the meaning of life and its construction and location, realized by someone in actuality is only mocked and judged as insanity when communicated with honest report of present perception. lets pretend i havent figured it all out, and everything is fine. maybe i could sleep at night. maybe id never sleep again…. neither one can be unseen or unlearned, forgetting about what all this means is unlikely. good luck to the world, maybe im my way out the door. maybe noones brave enough to find the door. i found it. and the implications are astounding. i figured it all out. what where when why and how. and who we are is more important that what we have been told. just so yall know. ¥∆¥

Arturo Diaz

Sep 9, 2019, 5:32 pm Reply

im dead

Y Knot

Sep 9, 2019, 3:08 pm Reply

TBH the advert was perfect for the video

Melissa Gonzalez

Sep 9, 2019, 11:33 pm Reply

Im trying to sleep at least 7 hours, but my work as a teacher doesn't let me. I can't have all my work done in school so I have to take work to my house, prepare my lessons, tests, worksheets, etc. I just sleep 4 to 5 hours everyday.

Elyse Twichell

Sep 9, 2019, 8:55 pm Reply

My sleep doctor thinks I have narcolepsy and I have to go get a different kind of sleep study.

bonelia kissoth

Sep 9, 2019, 10:55 pm Reply

I thought 6-7 hours was a lot… I thought I've been getting great sleep!


Sep 9, 2019, 10:19 pm Reply



Sep 9, 2019, 9:24 pm Reply

Ok, i know im not the only insomniac here who is awake watching this at 4am, and scared to have a stroke? No? Just me? Ok the…

I don’t play tf2 But I love the game

Sep 9, 2019, 9:12 pm Reply

No wonder I go insane sometimes and have a bad memory and terrible focus, I’ve only had two full nights of sleep my entire life

Blue Faygo

Sep 9, 2019, 4:27 am Reply

Navy SEALs be like. Piece a cake. 6 days a week of continously physical work and also 200 miles of jogging etc. And that soccer player died on 2 days of just watching TV the world cup.

Eshika Essain

Sep 9, 2019, 6:18 am Reply

1:25 ReM (RM) and DNA only ARMY'S will undersrand 😘

Anda Oup

Sep 9, 2019, 8:36 am Reply

I get around 2-3 hours of sleep everyday

My record since I was 12 is maybe around 4 hours(summer break)

Lyrical Content

Sep 9, 2019, 5:01 pm Reply

And becuz I'm in 10th class we start our classes from morning 8 to evening 5:30 and for other classes 9 to 4

BenLikesVideoGames – Gaming and Memes

Sep 9, 2019, 1:22 am Reply

Whatever pain may haunt us, take solace in the fact that we have something in common.
But no, seriously, I barely manage 7 hours.

Janae Fuller

Sep 9, 2019, 5:08 am Reply

I got a nectar mattrass commercial

Dark Soul

Oct 10, 2019, 8:47 pm Reply

When younger I still studying, I still remember spending 3 sleepless nights and sleeping only on the 4th one… it was always to finish reading a book … and I did never fall ill … was always sharp, and got a super memory.
Now, I'm older, work routine made me loose my reading hunger and I go to bed everyday for a minimum of 4 hours when it's not my usual 6 or 8 hours … I'm always tired by the morning, hate going to work, and forget even people's names …
Why? Because I hate my life, my job is just meant to make ends meet, and nobody matters really …
It has nothing to do with sleep, I lost the will to enjoy life.
Personally, till now, when I spend 3 to 4 days sleepless on something I like, I still feel great and never get irritated or tired … The the only thing that screws my day is when I sleep for 8 h knowing that the 16 remaining ones of the day were nothing but time waste, i.e. a part of my life I lost for absolutely nothing!
This whole theory of sleep deprivation I keep hearing makes no sense for me!

Fazbear’s Crew

Oct 10, 2019, 7:32 am Reply

So I read online that it says that we don't fully understand why our brain will hallucinate when sleep deprived. What if your brain is just to exausted to not know between reality and what your Makin up in your head. for example you haven't slept for 48 hours and so your friend is at a store you start thinking well he might steal something. your brain will flip that around to what you see. Simply stating that your brain can't tell what is real. Your brain gets mixed up. How do we know what's a actually real and what is not when sleep deprived. Like I said your brain is too tired to know the difference.

Crimson Dino

Oct 10, 2019, 12:03 pm Reply



Oct 10, 2019, 3:32 pm Reply

I've experienced what feels like slight temporary blackouts from sleep deprivation. I'll think a thought or do a simple action and once I've done it, it's gone. I don't remember what I did or said. It's kinda scary.

panda banana

Oct 10, 2019, 6:07 am Reply

There are so many people defending the school systems lmao. like are you blind? here's a little glimpse of my schedule:
wake up at 5, leave for school at 6:30, get home by 3:20 (on Tuesdays by 4, because of piano lessons).
do homework until 8-9 pm. about this: There are distractions, yes, but they're not electronics. There's a lot of noise in the house. A bunny and dog to attend to. Whatever my parents or siblings need me for.
Eating also takes about 1-2 hours. Then getting ready to sleep. I also have braces so it takes a little while longer to clean them out. Then my talking to friends because having a social life is also important. Then trying to sleep by midnight because that's the only personal time I get.
On Wednesdays, I have youth group (I'm Christian). Saturdays are somehow always busy- cleaning, again, out with friends, getting ahead on homework, and catching up on sleep. Sundays I have church until 2, since I also have to eat. Then it's back to school after that. And the cycle repeats, endlessly.

Kylee Aloisi

Oct 10, 2019, 12:27 am Reply

Adolescences need 10 hours of sleep each night

Schools : 3, take it or leave it

Mohamed Ameri

Oct 10, 2019, 3:54 pm Reply

Assuming 8-4 school time, that’s 8 hours off the day, 10 hrs of sleep, that adds to 18 hours, you’re left with 6 hrs for studying, socializing, working “if yoy do”, doing homeworks, doing projects, commuting, eating, etc.. wow..


Oct 10, 2019, 6:11 am Reply

I'm going to die

Spectral Dragon

Oct 10, 2019, 11:22 pm Reply

October 2019?!
Looks like the people who create YouTube algorithms need some sleep😂

The Scarlet Wizard

Oct 10, 2019, 11:42 pm Reply

Hmm I curious how long will I last without sleep with depression

Krishna Bhurtel

Oct 10, 2019, 2:22 pm Reply

I am a teenager and due to my school I only get rarely 5 hour of sleep. May god help those to understand that teenagers need 10 hours of sleep.

Cody Vector

Oct 10, 2019, 12:49 am Reply

I never felt like I could get enough sleep when I was a teen. Sleep deprivation is probably the most underrated health problem in the modern world

Grace Jordan

Oct 10, 2019, 2:32 am Reply

me: okay i'm going to die anyway maybe i should go to sleep now
the clothes drier: C R A C K L E Y S M A C K L E Y

Dr. Claudia Aguirre

Oct 10, 2019, 8:10 pm Reply

Me: Let's get kids to sleep more
YouTube: How about a mattress ad?


Oct 10, 2019, 9:01 pm Reply

If you people are actually in bed by 2 already i admire you.

Golden Human

Oct 10, 2019, 10:25 am Reply

Hay look I may be sleep deprived but I'm an insomniac I just can't help myself! Alright?

Monte 260

Oct 10, 2019, 8:35 pm Reply

You know schools, this isn't very cash money of you


Nov 11, 2019, 1:19 am Reply

Get enough sleep today!

Chase Howie

Nov 11, 2019, 4:06 pm Reply

What about the people who work for emergency services and are on call 24/7 and never able to get more than 6 hours of sleep I’m also 18

i am the tea of life

Nov 11, 2019, 11:22 pm Reply

I once didn’t sleep for 38 hours, it made nothing much happen but sometimes I see things from the corner of my eye and my visionary’s foggy

Jeon Jungkook

Nov 11, 2019, 9:16 am Reply

I watched this before I was gonna test what 4 days with no sleep would do to me.. now I’m kinda scared I’m gonna die. I mean usually that wouldn’t be a problem lol BUT I NEED TO SEE BTS’S COMEBACK BEFORE I FRICKEN DIE

Still wanna do it tho.. I mean I usually only get 3-5 hours of sleep anyways.. but.. I wanna do it

Parker Davis

Nov 11, 2019, 9:04 am Reply

video: "depriving yourself of sleep is very harmfull" , Me: writing an essay about this video at 3am for english

Kelsey Star

Nov 11, 2019, 1:21 pm Reply

Me when i havent slept yet and it’s 8am

Zer0Rebel 4

Nov 11, 2019, 2:18 am Reply

I have FFI, and The longest I've been awake without any rest has probably been 5 days. Multiple times mind you, ive done this. It hurts, and i will tell everyone here: please try to sleep 8 hours a night! You dont want to end up having a mental breakdown where you literally rob a 7/11 at 2 am on the 4th day of staying awake

Nutty guy 36

Nov 11, 2019, 4:01 am Reply

Ironically I watch at 11pm


Nov 11, 2019, 3:43 pm Reply

For those of you who want the answer without having to watch the whole video: you die

Glenda’s World

Nov 11, 2019, 8:36 pm Reply

I just pulled an all-nighter for an exam I had. I did feel terrible but I think I was COMPLETELY worth it.


Nov 11, 2019, 8:52 am Reply

I'm leaving… i feel attacked

Dimply TPR

Nov 11, 2019, 6:29 pm Reply

"students need 10 hours of sleep"
schools: Yesn't

Ethan Alcantar

Nov 11, 2019, 9:27 am Reply

Me: watching this at 2:30 A.M.

Jack on a Mac

Nov 11, 2019, 4:32 am Reply

Maintaining sanity is already out of the question.

Joelle Diones

Nov 11, 2019, 11:59 pm Reply

Adolescence: “We need 10 hours of sleep!”
School: *Not Listening*


Nov 11, 2019, 7:06 pm Reply

they say sleep is for the weak, i say sleep is for the WEEK


Nov 11, 2019, 5:10 pm Reply

1:09pm right now where I live and I only slept like 3 hours last night and I work tonight at 9. Time for me to go to bed so I can stay awake tonight for my shift. Lol.


Nov 11, 2019, 6:42 pm Reply

Well this week is my last day of high school, then i can sleep for 10 hours

Crazy Fangirl_right?

Nov 11, 2019, 11:00 am Reply

Teacher and Ted Ed: Adolescents need 10 hours of sleep…

Students: laughs in homework

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