No sleep (causes, symptoms, and treatment)

In this article, we will discuss the situation of no sleep. We will be examining the stages of sleep deprivation, causes of sleep deprivation, symptoms, and how to deal with sleep deprivation. In the end, we will be also answering questions related to sleep deprivation and sleep disorder. 

No sleep

A state of no sleep can be harmful to both your physical, mental, and emotional health. It reduces your ability to function mentally in an efficient and wholesome way. It ends up making you feel like a zombie once you lose a night or more of sleep. Even a slight disruption in our normal sleeping hours can cause us to be irritable, exhausted, and moody the next day. 

It slows down our ability to think clearly and rationally. 

What exactly is sleep deprivation?

Sleep deprivation refers to the situation where an individual is deprived of their required hours of sleep, essential for restoring the energy and a well-functioning body for the next day. It is when you don’t get the sleep you need and leaves you feeling groggy and moody. When it crosses a certain limit, sleep deprivation can become a persistent problem that will eventually disrupt your other functions of the body and mind. 

Sleep deprivation or no sleep is directly proportional to your decreased inability to think and feel clear. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to physical and mental health issues that are serious and long-lasting, in most cases.

The average amount of sleep needed for adults ranges from seven to nine hours and for children it crosses more than nine hours. If a disruption occurs in this range of time, continuously, it might get problematic in the future. You can also be sleep deprived if your sleep was disturbed and if you suffer from any kind of sleep disorder such as sleep-walking. 

Thus sleep deprivation takes booths quantity and quality into consideration.

Types of sleep deprivation 

Lack of sleep, sleep deprivation, or insufficient sleep can be categorized into the following:

Acute sleep deprivation

Acute sleep deprivation lasts for a few days ranging from one to two or three days. During this period, the person experiences a significant reduction in their amount of sleep. 

Chronic sleep deprivation

Chronic sleep deprivation lasts longer than acute sleep deprivation. It is much harmful and detrimental to one’s overall health and is also known as insufficient sleep syndrome. This kind of sleep deprivation could last for three months or longer. 

Chronic sleep deficiency or insufficient sleep

Chronic sleep deficiency or insufficient sleep describes a state of continuous and pervasive sleep deprivation as well as poor quality of sleep due to sleep fragmentation or other disruptions. 

Causal factors of sleep deprivation

The causal factors of sleep deprivation vary widely from one person to another. It depends on the intensity of the sleep deprivation and personal factors that determine the sleep hygiene of the individual. Therefore the factors are multi-dimensional and differ in their period as well.

Poor sleep hygiene, work stress, unhealthy lifestyle choices, sleep disorders, and medical complications can contribute to sleep deprivation. In most cases, it occurs due to voluntary choices that lead to a reduction in quality sleep time. When you intentionally disrupt your sleep schedule to indulge in any activity or due to any other reasons, it is bound to become a habit over time and lead to a state of sleep deprivation. 

Work stress and commitments is another nagging factor that makes people stay up all night and not get enough sleep. People who are working in multiple jobs or hold positions involving huge workload find it difficult to strike a balance between work-life and the management of their health. This causes trouble after a point of time. Shift workers also face this problem on a higher intensity. 

Other causal factors that lead to sleep deprivation are sleep disorders or medical illnesses. For instance, sleepwalking leads to multiple disruptions in the sleeping period and hinders both the quality and quantity of sleep. Other mental and health difficulties such as severe anxiety disorder, depression, or general pain also make sleeping a tedious affair. 

Signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation

The signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation are as follows:

  • Slowed and blurred thinking
  • Lack of attention and proper concentration
  • Worsened memory
  • Poor or risk-involved decision making
  • Frequent exhaustion of mind and body
  • Mood disruptions
  • Increased irritability 
  • Increased anxious thoughts and emotions
  • Increased dependency on harmful substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.

After-effects of sleep deprivation

Heart diseases

There are strong associations between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular problems. Lack of sleep can lead to heart diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. 


Lack of good sleep will affect the body’s ability to regulate the amount of blood sugar which increases the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes. 


When people don’t get enough sleep, they tend to eat more calories and carbohydrates which is why poor sleep is tied to obesity and the inability to maintain a healthy weight bar. Several other problems exist concerning weight management due to sleep deprivation.


Sleep deprivation also causes problems in the immune system of an individual. Lack of good sleep will adversely affect the functioning of your immune system which includes a proper response to vaccines. 

Hormonal abnormalities

Sleep is an essential component for the appropriate production and regulation of hormones in the body. Thus, lack of sleep leads to hormonal abnormalities and dysfunctions in the body.

Mental health disturbances

Good sleep and mental health are strongly related to one another. It helps in the proper mental functioning of the individual. Sleep deprivation leads to the development of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. 

Coping strategies

  • Take short and mindful naps. Do not let distractions come in the way and enjoy some good sleep. 
  • Practice healthy habits that help you to maintain good sleep hygiene. Brush your teeth, make your bed, and keep yourself clean before you go to bed.
  • Sleep tablets and over-the-counter aids are helpful for occasional sleepless nights. Be careful not to create a dependency on them as you could develop a tolerance to them. 
  • You could use specially made breathing devices such as CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) to help you breathe better during your sleeping hours. 


In this article, we discussed: no sleep. We discussed the nature of sleep deprivation, the causes, symptoms, consequences, and treatment for sleep deprivation. 

If you’ve enjoyed the ”No sleep (causes, symptoms, and treatment)” mentioned above, I would recommend you to take a look at ‘‘Sleep deprivation meme” too.

FAQs: No sleep

Why the lack of sleep is bad for your health?

Lack of sleep has several side effects that can harm your physical as well as mental well-being. You tend to feel grumpy and moody throughout the day, affecting your daily functioning to a large extent. Persistent lack of sleep puts you at risk of developing serious and harmful medical conditions such as heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes. Sleep deprivation also leads to a reduction in your life expectancy. 

All of us require at least eight hours of undisturbed and good-quality sleep to function properly, the next morning. Generally, if you are someone who wakes up tired and waits eagerly for a chance to nap, it indicates an evident lack of good sleep. Lack of sleep also leads to a short temper and lack of proper focus on things to be done during the day.

The mental side-effects of lack of sleep are more serious. It leads to the fogging of the brain, you’ll start to feel anxious and nervous about trivial things, there will be an inability to make quick decisions, and your risk of being prone to accidents, both at home and outside increases. 

What do twenty-four hours of no sleep does to your body?

If you go without sleep for a day, it is similar to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent. This amount is higher than the limit that is acceptable legally for driving on roads. Staying awake for twenty-four hours can lead to the development of a series of symptoms that will affect you adversely, both mentally and physically. These symptoms are as follows:

Short temper and tantrums
Increased risk of stress-related disorders.
Decreased alertness
Impaired concentration
Fogging of brain
Reduced coordination
Excessive cravings
Puffy eyes
Dark under-eye circles

If the amount of time exceeds twenty-four hours, the intensity of the symptoms will increase and you might also experience episodes of micro-sleeps where you fall asleep for a short span, without your conscious effort. This happens because the body needs sleep urgently. 

How long can you go without sleep?

The longest recorded time without sleep is 264 hours. This is equal to eleven continuous days. It is unclear as to how long can humans go without sleep. However, the symptoms of sleep deprivation start to show up pretty soon and after three to four sleepless nights, you can start to hallucinate. Pervasive and conscious sleep deprivation cal lead to the following symptoms:

Cognitive impairments

Extreme lack of sleep can even lead to instances of death.

Is it hard to stay up twenty-four hours?

It is extremely hard to stay up for twenty-four hours. When you stay awake for twenty-four hours or more, it leads to an impairment of your cognitive skills. It messes up with your body and mind’s ability to work efficiently and quickly. It leaves your body tired, tensed, and incapable of involving in any kind of physical activity. It also has a negative impact o your ability to concentrate and focus on your work. 

Lack of sleep for twenty-four hours also affects your hand-eye coordination and your ability to think critically and analytically. You will be more distracted, frustrated, and your performance level will drop. It takes a bad toll on your emotional well-being as well. You will not be able to accurately process your emotions or act upon them in a calm and composed way. 

Is two hours of sleep better than no sleep? 

Yes. surely, two hours of quality sleep is far better than no sleep at all. These two hours of sleep will help you regain some energy for the next day morning and you will feel less sleepy and tired the next day when compared to no sleep at all. 

Sleep is essential for your body to repair tissues, replenish hormones, and for efficient working of long-term and short-term memory. It is also required for the stable maintenance of your mood. Hence, any amount of sleep is way better than deciding to not sleep at all.

Should I just stay up if I can’t sleep?

I f you find it difficult to sleep, while in bed, get out of your bedroom for about thirty minutes and come back once you start feeling drowsy.  It is easier to fall asleep when you are feeling sleepy and tired of staying awake. You’ll tend to fall asleep more quickly.


Sleep Disorders and Problems