What Happens to Your Body on Little Sleep?

ABC News' Dan Childs stayed awake for 50 hours in order to test the effects of sleep deprivation.
3:48 | 11/30/15

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Transcript for What Happens to Your Body on Little Sleep?
J.j. Abrams. Thank you. "Star wars: The force awakens" opens on the 18th. We move on to snooze solutions. What happens when you don't get enough sleep or you don't sleep at all. During our epic live stream event earlier this month, our medical editor staid up 50 hours to see what kind of effect that would have on his mind and body. We are a nalgs running on empty. Up to 70 million Americans are not getting enough sleep every night. Just one night of bad sleep can lead to problems concentrating and accidents like car crashes. So, we wanted to put the human body to an extreme sleep test to find out how it would react. It's quite likely I'll start to lose it a little bit. Reporter: Under the supervision of doctors at Mt. Sinai, Dan Childs stayed awake for 50 hours. We wanted to see the effects on concentration, coordination, and the ability to complete basic tasks. Dan was not allowed a wink of sleep or a sip of caffeine. When you sleep-deprive humans, they eat more. Reporter: Dan craved carbs like cereal and pie. This Lego is for ages 6 to 12. I've gotten lost in the instructions. Reporter: He worked out and found his body was much more awake after exercising. But his low points came in the morning hours. I'm doing anything I can to stay awake. Reporter: After being awake for 50 hours. Dan was disoriented and unable to complete simple tasks. Not to mention utterly exhausted. Probably have a couple of hours left in me and we'll see what happens. Hmm. Dr. Richard Besser is here with more. That was the extreme case. Let's put that out there. That's not the kind of chronic sleep problem most Americans are dealing with. He went through acute sleep deprivation. There are 70 million Americans who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. Getting only five hours of sleep a night. Or having sleep's ne Ya. So the quality of your sleep every night is not enough for your body. What kind of health problems can that lead to? Getting five hours or less a night? As you expect. It's not good. There are a number of health conditions linked to that. Obesity. Heart disease. Kidney disease. High blood pressure. Diabetes, stroke. Your able to fight off infections goes down. We're entering the cold and flu season. Not good at all. Something Dan said and resonated with a lot of us who get not auz mch sleep as we should. We crave carbs. There's a reason? I remember as a resident in the middle of the night, searching the nurse's station for doughnuts. There's been a lot of research. When they do these special Mr iri scans of the brain, the front part involving will power is not getting enough flow. And the area with desire does up. Two hormones, one that makes you hungry, goes up. One that makes you feel full, goes down. It's not just a weak ps. It's our brain. Exactly. Doesn't help. A little bit. Getting the proper amount of sleep. I know what you'll go through. You have to hit this home. Let people know what we need to do. Comes down the routine. Going to bed at the same time helps. Having a routine to settle down to sleep. Don't go from full activity to getting into bed the. These are the things you're saying on the screen. Over and over again. We need to do it. Repetition is the mother of skill.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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