Man Dies After Going 11 Days Without Sleep: What Are The Health Risks Of Sleep Deprivation?

Man Dies After Going 11 Days Without Sleep: What Are The Risks Of Deprivation?

Going 11 days without sleep likely cost a Chinese man his life earlier this week, as he attempted to watch every game in the European Championship, TIME reported.

The Telegraph reported that the 26-year-old, who was given the false name Jiang Xiaoshan by the Sanxiang Metropolis newspaper in China, was healthy before he started his soccer-watching marathon.

"Jiang was in good health. But staying up through the night and not sleeping enough weakened his immune system and he drank and smoked while watching the football, triggering his condition," Liu Zhiling, a doctor from the People's Hospital ER, told the Sanxiang Metropolis, as reported by The Telegraph.

TIME reported that the was found dead in his sleep. Because of the time difference between Europe and China, soccer matches didn't begin until the middle of the night, between 1 and 3 a.m.

In closely-watched experiments, people have been able to stay awake for eight to 10 days straight, Scientific American reported. They didn't suffer any serious health effects, although they did have severe problems with concentration, perception and the like the longer they were awake.

According to Scientific American, the longest a human is able to stay awake for is 264 hours, which is 11 days. The first time the record was set was by a 17-year-old named Randy Gardner in 1965; however, Discovery Fit & Health reported on a 42-year-old man named Tony Wright who claimed to have broken that record in 2007.

And Slate explained how even after just 24 hours of no sleep, detrimental changes in the body are already starting to occur -- like rising levels of stress hormone, which bumps up blood pressure levels.

And after one to two days of no sleep, the body decreases its ability to properly metabolize glucose, the immune system stops working as well and the body's internal temperature begins to sink, Slate reported.

Even though there isn't a wealth of knowledge in humans to prove why exactly going without sleep for days can be deadly, research in animals has suggested it can be fatal. A study in rats showed that going without sleep for two weeks led to death, Scientific American reported.

So moral of the story is -- catch your recommended amount of ZZs (about 10 to 11 hours a night for kids, 8.5 to 9.25 for teens and seven to nine for adults, according to the Sleep Foundation). And remember that even if you don't go a day or days without sleep, not getting enough each night can lead to a number of health risks, such as diabetes, obesity, heart problems, depression, and even car accidents.

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