ABC News staffer tests sleep deprivation effects by staying up 50 straight hours

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015
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Liz Cho has the details.

NEW YORK -- Most people feel sluggish when they don't get enough sleep, but just how real is the impact of sleep on your body? One man wanted to put that question to the test, so he stayed up for 50 hours.

Experts say as many as 70 million Americans are not getting enough sleep every night, and just one instance can lead lead to problems concentrating and, more seriously, accidents like car crashes.

So ABC News took to putting the human body to an extreme sleep test to find out how it would react. Under the supervision of doctors at Mount Sinai Center for Sleep Medicine, medical editor Dan Childs stayed awake for 50 hours.

He wanted to find out first-hand the effects of sleep deprivation on things like concentration, coordination and the ability to complete basic tasks.

The rules were simple. Childs was not allowed a wink of sleep or a sip of caffeine. He craved carbs like cereal and pie and forced himself to be active to stay awake.

He worked out and found that his body was much more awake after exercising, but his low points came in the morning hours.

At the 50-hour mark, Childs was disoriented and unable to complete simple tasks.

Doctors advise that no one at home try this on their own, and we remind you that proper supervision was on hand at all times.