Fatal Insomnia: When Sleeplessness Kills

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

The effects of sleep deprivation can be seen after one night. "When we look at cognition and performance vigilance tests, chronic sleep deprivation of over a period of just a week, those individuals perform as poorly as someone who is acutely sleep deprived over just a single night," Bornemann said.

And studies show a lack of sleep can affect more than just mental acuity.

"An individual who has sleep deprived themselves for one, just one single night, is as impaired as somebody who is legally intoxicated," he said. "If a truck driver is sleep deprived, well, now we're not just talking an individual safety concern, we're talking about a significant risk to the general public."

The results of "Nightline's" not-completely scientific experiment showed that our bodies require sleep in order to function.

"At some point, the body is going to take sleep and it will do so if given the opportunity," Bornemann said. "And if you don't give it the opportunity, it will take it at times for which you're working or for which you're awake."

CLICK HERE for simple steps people can take to get a better night's sleep.

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