How dangerous are the effects of sleep deprivation? In some cases, it might be deadly.
One Chinese soccer fan died from a stroke after watching World Cup games for 48 hours straight, the International Business Times reported. Shortly after Uruguay’s loss to Costa Rica on June 14, the 39-year-old man was taken to the hospital, where doctors discovered a brain hemorrhage.
While news reports did not explain exactly how the man's stroke might have been affected by his extreme sleep deprivation, past research has shown an association between chronically not getting enough sleep and increased stroke risk. A 2012 study showed people sleeping fewer than six hours a night had a 4.5 times increased risk of stroke symptoms, compared with people getting seven to eight hours of shut-eye nightly.
Due to the 11-hour time difference between China and Brazil, where the games are being held this year, Chinese fans had to stay up all night to catch the intense matchup, which ended at around 3 a.m. in China.
This isn’t the only death potentially linked with sleep deprivation during this World Cup -- just last week, a 25-year-old man was found dead in his home in China shortly after the Spain v. Netherlands game, according to The New York Daily News. Though the man's exact cause of death was not revealed, Eurosport reported sleep deprivation may have played a part.
In fact, since the World Cup kicked off, hospitals in Shanghai have seen an increase in patients with signs of fatigue, the International Business Times reported.
Although we know that exhaustion can make you groggy and unfocused, prolonged lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems -- even for those of us who aren’t pulling all-nighters to catch the latest soccer match. Multiple studies have shown how sleep loss affects health, including increased risk of stroke, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, decreased immune system, negative brain effects and decreased sperm count.