[Mp3] What would happen if you didn’t sleep

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In 1965, 17-year-old high school student Randy Gardner stayed awake 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 3, Gardner was moody and uncoordinated. At the end of the experiment, he was struggling to concentrate, had troubles with short-term memory, became paranoid and started hallucinating.

 

Although Gardner recovered without long-term psychological or physical damages, 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 is essential.

 

Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night and adolescents need about 10. We grow sleepy to the 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 to a light doze that grows deeper, making our breathing and heart rates slow down and our muscles relax.

 

This non-REM sleep is when DNA is repaired and the bodies replenish themselves for the day ahead. In 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 harms. When we lose sleep, learning, memory, mood and reaction time are affected. Sleeplessness may also cause inflammation, hallucinations, 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 6 hours a night increases stroke risk by 4.5 times compared to those getting consistent 7-8 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 Familiar Insomnia, places the body in the 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 causes such immense suffering? Scientists think the answer lies with the accumulation of waste products in the brain. During our waking hours, our cells are busy using up our day’s energy sources, which get broken down in various by-products 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 many negative symptoms of sleep deprivation.

 

So what’s happening in our brain when we sleep to prevent this? Scientist 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 by-products 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 our brain’s daily waste products.

 

While scientists continue exploring the restorative mechanisms behind sleep, we can be sure that slipping in slumber is a necessity if we want to maintain our health and our sanity.

 

WORD BANK:

moody /ˈmuː.di/ (adj): ủ rũ, tâm trạng

uncoordinated /ˌʌn.kəʊˈɔː.dɪn.eɪ.tɪd/ (adj): mất khả năng kết hợp các chi giác

struggle to do sth /ˈstrʌɡ.əl/ [B2] (v): vật lộn để làm gì

paranoid /ˈpær.ən.ɔɪd/ (adj): hoang tưởng

hallucinate /həˈluː.sɪ.neɪt/ (v): gặp phải ảo giác

hallucination /həˌluː.sɪˈneɪ.ʃən/ (n): ảo giác

shuteye /ˈʃʌt.aɪ/ (n): việc ngủ

hormonal imbalance /hɔːˈməʊ.nəl ˌɪmˈbæl.əns/ (n): mất cân bằng nội tiết

doze /dəʊz/ (n): cơn buồn ngủ

replenish /rɪˈplen.ɪʃ/ (v): tái tạo, phục hồi

sleep-deprived (adj): thiếu ngủ

inflammation /ˌɪn.fləˈmeɪ.ʃən/ (n): viêm nhiễm

diabetes /ˌdaɪ.əˈbiː.tiːz/ (n): tiểu đường

obesity /əʊˈbiː.sə.ti/ [C1] (n): béo phì

devoted /dɪˈvəʊ.tɪd/ [B2] (adj): cống hiến, cuồng nhiệt, trung thành

untimely /ʌnˈtaɪm.li/ (adj): không đúng thời điểm, đột ngột

inherit /ɪnˈher.ɪt/ [C2] (v): di truyền

mutation /mjuːˈteɪ.ʃən/ (n): đột biến

insomnia /ɪnˈsɒm.ni.ə/ [C2] (n): chứng mất ngủ

nightmarish /ˈnaɪt.meə.rɪʃ/ (adj): cực kỳ đáng sợ

sanctuary /ˈsæŋk·tʃuˌer·i/ (n): khu bảo tồn, thánh đường

progressively /prəˈɡres.ɪv.li/ (adv): ngày càng, dần dần

dementia /dɪˈmen.ʃə/ (n): mất trí nhớ

deprivation /ˌdep.rɪˈveɪ.ʃən/ [C2] (n): sự mất đi, sự thiếu hụt

immense /ɪˈmens/ [C1] (adj): to lớn

accumulation /əˌkjuː.mjəˈleɪ.ʃən/ [C2] (n): sự tích tụ

urge sb to do sth /ɜːdʒ/ [C2] (v): thôi thúc ai làm gì

receptor /rɪˈsep.tər/ (n): thụ thể

collectively /kəˈlek.tɪv.li/ (adv): cùng nhau

mechanism /ˈmek.ə.nɪ.zəm/ [C1] (n): cơ chế

buildup /ˈbɪldˌʌp/ (n): sự tích tụ

cerebrospinal fluid /ˌser.ɪ.brəʊˈspaɪ.nəl ˈfluː.ɪd/ (n): dịch não tủy

accumulate /əˈkjuː.mjə.leɪt/ [C2] (v): tích lũy

immune /ɪˈmjuːn/ (adj): thuộc về miễn dịch

restorative mechanism /rɪˈstɒr.ə.tɪv ˈmek.ə.nɪ.zəm/ (n): cơ chế phục hồi

sanity /ˈsæn.ə.ti/ (n): sự tỉnh táo


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