All-nighters are familiar with the feeling similar to drunkenness due to sleep deprivation. The thinking process is the first to suffer the consequences.

Woman with sleep disorder
Chronic sleep deprivation that goes on for days could result in death.

( — April 16, 2017) — It is common knowledge that lack of sleep affects the thinking process and motoric functions. But there are scientists who dedicated their lives to explore the effects of sleep deprivation.

According to Joseph Ojile, M.D., a member of the National Sleep Foundation Board of Directors and founder of Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis, after going 17 hours without sleep, the first victim is the mind, a consequence similar to alcohol intoxication.

“The first thing that goes is your ability to think,” Ojile said. “We know at 17 hours, you’re at .08% blood alcohol level,” he said, the legal standard for drunk driving. “At 24 hours, you’re at 0.1%,” he added.

The level of no-sleep-drunkenness pretty much depends on the activity while awake and the level of tiredness. It also depends whether it is the mind or body tiredness or a combination of the two. But the first problem that appears after lack of a sleep is the lack of rationality when it comes to decision making.

 “Here’s the worst part about the lack of judgement,” Ojile said. “The person is unaware of their impairment. How scary is that? ‘I’m fine, I’ll just drive home. I’ll do my work at the nuclear plant, no problem. Or fly the plane, no problem.’”

Scientists reveal that sleep deprivation causes not only cognitive and motor function issues, but also opens the door to various diseases. According to scientists, continual sleeping disorder leads to a slower immune system response and therefore, could lead to various diseases.

Chronic sleep deprivation that goes on for days could result in death.

Our brain has some “fuses” that shut down the system if it is found to be in danger. The mechanism works through trance-like micro-sleeps which occur unconsciously and last for 15-30 seconds. But, if for some reason this mechanism fails, the result is a life threatening situation. That’s why sleep deprivation is one of the most efficient torture methods, still practiced in armies around the world, including the U.S.

“It could range in people, but it could be a week or two weeks,” Ojile said. “If you want to kill someone eventually, you just keep them up.”

If you think that a cup of coffee can simply boost you up and make you fit to drive, think twice. Ojile and his team calculated that it takes at least an hour for caffeine to kick in, so you are better off taking a break.