In the United States, it’s estimated that 30 percent of adults and 66 percent of adolescents are regularly sleep-deprived. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience: staying awake can cause serious bodily harm. Claudia Aguirre shows what happens to your body and brain when you skip sleep.








Link to this TED Talk: What Would Happen If You Didn’t Sleep?


  • moody – (of a person) given to unpredictable changes of mood, especially sudden bouts of gloominess or sullenness
  • adolescent – (of a young person) in the process of developing from a child into an adult
  • to induce sth – bring about or give rise to
  • to doze – sleep lightly
  • to replenish – restore (a stock or supply) to a former level or condition
  • inflammation – a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection
  • obesity – the state of being grossly fat or overweight
  • stroke – a sudden disabling attack or loss of consciousness caused by an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain
  • insomnia – habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep
  • by-product – an incidental or secondary product made in the manufacture or synthesis of something else
  • slumber – sleep
  • sanity – the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner; sound mental health

Watch and listen

Answer the questions below.

  • What did Randy Garner do in 1965? (00:00)
  • What happened to him? (00:20)
  • What are some possible effects of lack of sleep? (00:40)
  • How much sleep do we need every night? (01:00)
  • What happens during non-REM sleep? (01:25)
  • How many Americans are sleep deprived? (01:35)
  • What possible fatal consequences can sleeplessness have? (01:50)
  • How does the brain accumulate waste? (02:50)
  • How is this waste cleaned up? (03:35)


Practice Makes Perfect


Fill in the blanks with the correct preposition. Go to TED to find out more.


Studies show that chronically sleeping fewer than six hours a night increases stroke risk 6.____ four and half times compared to those getting a consistent seven to eight hours of shuteye. This condition, known as Fatal Familial Insomnia, places the body 7.____ a nightmarish state of wakefulness, forbidding it 8.____ entering the sanctuary of sleep. Within months or years, this progressively worsening condition leads 9.____ dementia and death.



  1. IN 2. FROM 3. IN 4. INTO 5. DOWN 6. BY 7. IN 8. FROM 9. TO


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