Sleep Deprivation?

When does someone experiences complete sleep deprivation?
Complete sleep deprivation happens when a person stays awake more than 16 or 17 hours. When we experience this situation, first we feel tired, then as time goes by without sleep, we feel exhausted. Most of us have experienced this, so we know and recognize these consequences. However, the consequences of sleep deprivation on a person’s ability to function are not so clear. These consequences are perceived as we have more difficulty doing things that are usually easy to do, there is less accuracy in hand-eye coordination and the speed of her reactions is much slower.
When complete sleep deprivation continues for long periods of time, the person will be in a really bad shape. When the time a person stays awake goes to 2 or 3 days, she will find it very hard to do things that require her full attention, she will have temper issues and she will have an overall bad mood, she will likely find herself tense and even depressed.
The most dangerous things that can happen to a sleep deprived person is sudden micro-sleeps, and automatic responses.


  • Sudden micro-sleeps can last from a few seconds to 15 seconds, they take place while doing an activity that should be done fully awake. During micro-sleeps her brain is not receptive to the environment so she will not respond to things that happen around her.
  • Automatic responses happen when the person is awake and doing some routine activity, like driving, but she does not respond to what is happening around her. These can last minutes and are potentially very dangerous, depending on the activity that is being performed.

Most of us can say that when we have experienced complete sleep deprivation we still manage to have our productive hours at school or at work. Why? Because of the intervention of our circadian clock: The circadian clock may help us function in an acceptable way in the morning hours and in the evening time. But at the time when our internal clock generates a drive for sleep, which happens  around the afternoon and late at night, we might fall asleep in the middle of an activity or task!!!

What happens when a person gets some sleep, but not enough sleep? like when we accumulate our sleep debt? This is known as partial sleep deprivation