People have some essential survival needs and if one of them is not met, then a person’s life will be in danger. We all know that we can not live without food, water, sleep, oxygen and shelter for a long time. Some of these can live without a month or two, but others (such as oxygen) can not live for more than several minutes. We know that with training, people can extend these limits, but you should never try to experiment with any of them.
Checking how long you can survive without water, sleeping or eating is not a game and should not be treated as such! You can damage the vital organs and this can even cause irreversible damage.
Even so, it is important to have a general idea of how long you can live without food and water if you are in the desert and probably in a critical situation. While you are prepared with this information, you could apply that knowledge successfully and survive difficult times. In general, here is how much time, on average, you can survive without:
- Food – 1-2 months
- Water – 3-7 days
- Sleeping – 11 days maximum
How long can you live without eating?
If you are deprived of nutrition, you can still survive long enough so that you can find a way to feed yourself. It may be several months before your body can not stand on its own in its storage of fat. There were strikes, when people participated in hunger strikes and the majority managed to live up to 70 days without eating. Most of them died before the strike ended.
Anyway, this is a general number and generally the period varies greatly from one person to another. There are several factors that determine how long a particular individual can survive without food such as weight, genetic predisposition, etc. Another very important factor to increase your chances of living more than the average time without food is hydration. The better hydrated you are, the longer you can survive without food or nutrition.
A very popular example of this is Gandhi, who (while on a hunger strike for the independence of his country) survived 21 days while simply drinking enough water. It is known that water cleanses the body of toxins and removes plaques from the liver and arteries.
During starvation, the body has to sustain itself only in terms of the reserves of nutrients it has. For example, for a body to successfully eliminate toxins from the liver, it needs a sufficient amount of certain nutrients. By using them, the liver can break down toxins and neutralize them. They pass through the body without damaging it.
If you die of hunger for days and weeks, and do not drink enough water, then these toxins will not only break down much more, but also, the liver will not be able to eliminate them without the presence of enough water. the body. Water helps metabolism and the elimination of toxins. It is known that people who undergo rigorous diets and during longer periods of starvation have developed irreversible diseases, due to the inability of the liver to process toxins. If the body is healthy in general and has stored enough nutrients, it can handle the detoxification process well.
This is the reason why dehydration can shorten the individual’s survival while starving. The first stages of starvation begin in the metabolic state of the body. The body begins to use its own deposits of fat, which burn to produce energy so that the body continues to have enough strength to search for food (in evolutionary terms).
After a few days (2-3 days), another process will begin: this is the stage of the ketone. This means that the body will begin to burn fat reserves in the liver. If there is fat in other organs, the body will also use them. These fatty acids of the liver are called ketones.
The next stage may begin to actually damage the body. If the individual is still hungry and all the fat reserves are completely depleted, the body will turn to itself. The body will literally start to eat alone, using tissues from the intestinal walls, muscles and other organs.
The longer this process is prolonged, without interrupting starvation, the fewer the chances of repairing these damages. They can be permanent if the person dies of hunger for more than 3 to 4 weeks. One of the most dangerous damages can occur in the muscles of the heart. As the body begins to destroy the muscles of the heart, it will become weaker and weaker and will not be able to pump enough blood to the other organs. As a result, it can simply be closed and death will occur.
This process will last approximately 1 month on average, but as you can see, it depends on the body. For example, if a person has more reserves of fat, that person can survive more than 1 month. A person with very low fat reserves can not survive even a month. In addition, the strength of the body and the immune system are also indicative factors for longer survival rates. On top of that, if the muscles are in good shape and the person is strong, they also have a better chance of surviving more than 1-1.5 months.
How long can you live without water?
The survival rate in this category is much lower than with starvation. As we already mentioned, water is the main source to purify and detoxify the body. Without water, the liver will fail in less than 3 days. If the liver is in bad shape, it is possible that the individual does not even have 2-3 days. In extreme cases, when the person does not try too hard, that person can survive up to 7 days. These cases are usually rare and require very relaxing conditions, so that the person does not lose too many fluids.
If a person is in the desert, they may not have those perfect conditions. In nature, a person can survive for 3 (maximum 4) days. This is because they would probably look for water, and this means losing energy and sweating (losing water much faster). This is true for any season of the year, so it is not just about hiking / hikes in summer. During the winter, the body can lose water even faster, since it requires water to keep the body temperature in a normal state. If the person is dehydrated, he loses heat much faster and this can risk his life.
It has been calculated that at temperatures above 80 degrees F, the average person can survive up to 7 days. As you add 5 more degrees, the shelf life is shortened by a whole day. If, as we mentioned, you move and try harder, weaken your body and dehydration will be activated much earlier.
A brief explanation of what water does to the body will also help determine which processes will deteriorate during dehydration. We already mentioned the detoxification and the washing of toxins and heavy metals. In addition, many bodily functions need water to maintain general health.
Examples are the washing of impurities through urine and sweat. In addition, the body loses water through pure breathing. Also, if it is very hot and you are exerting too much effort, your body will lose fluids too quickly and if you do not recover that lost water, your body will continue to warm up inside. As we know, proper hydration keeps the body cool and maintains the body’s normal temperature. This happens through sweat. If the body has lost a lot of fluid and can not sweat anymore, your body will overheat and the internal organs will be damaged very quickly.
However, the heart will close much faster than you expect. In conditions of intense heat and excessive exertion, the average person can not survive for more than several hours.
You should also know that water keeps your joints well hydrated and keeps them in good shape. If the water content in the joints decreases, they will become painful and even inflamed. Another problem with lack of water is that, without water, your body can not digest food. Because the stomach needs water (and hydrochloric acid) to produce stomach acid, it may not be able to produce it without enough water from the body’s stores. In addition, you can not even chew food, since saliva is also made up of water (and enzymes).
In order to properly evaluate the dehydration process, you must know the different stages and detailed processes that occur in the body. If, for example, you are dehydrated with 2-3%, this would mean that your blood has thickened to almost 20%. This would mean that the blood volume has decreased, is thicker and, as a result, circulates within the body much more slowly and inefficiently.
It would take much longer for the blood to oxygenate certain more distant parts of the body, such as the fingers and extremities. As a result, you would first feel your hands and feet colder than normal, and even if it is hot outside, you will begin to feel cold.
What makes it worse is not just the general feeling of being cold. Some capillaries are thinner (for example, those of the brain) and the thicker blood can not pass through these capillaries. The brain will enter a state of oxygen deficiency and may begin to hallucinate. You will also lose your sense of orientation and awareness. Some people will even lose consciousness in extreme stages of dehydration.
In the first stage of dehydration, you will experience symptoms such as dry mouth (lack of saliva), urinating very often and much less. In addition, the color of the urine will be dark yellow to dark orange and will have an unpleasant odor. In the next stage, moderate dehydration will urinate even more rarely and the amount will decrease significantly. Your eyes will feel dry and slightly swollen. You will feel tired and your heart rate will be extraordinarily fast.
With the advanced stage of dehydration (severe dehydration) you will no longer urinate. The lethargy will hit him. He will be extremely tired and irritable. He will start to vomit, so he will dehydrate even faster, in addition to the diarrhea, and in the final stages he will basically suffer a shock, his skin will turn blue-gray and will be very cold. Your blood pressure will decrease significantly, so the body will become cold and the skin extremely pale.
Therefore, in general, you must be a very healthy person, do not strain at all and remain in the average temperature heat to be able to survive up to 6-7 days. But since these conditions seem too regulated and unnatural, you may not have so much time. As we mentioned, if you are in the desert, looking for water, you have an average of 3 days.
How long can you live without sleep?
Determining how long a person can live without sleep is much more difficult than with food and water. The sleep pattern and the body’s own response to lack of sleep is what makes it difficult to tell how long you can survive without sleeping. In fact, the record of a person who was able to stay awake without using stimulants is 11 days or 264 hours.
Lack of sleep is a very serious problem and people have died because of this. For example, there is the case of a Chinese man who was observing the European Cup for up to 11 days: he was found dead in his apartment. It was discovered that he was also drinking alcoholic beverages, which could have caused him to die sooner than it could have lasted if he did not drink alcohol.
It is still not clear what makes the body need sleep and why less than 6 hours a day can deteriorate health throughout the life of the individual. It has been estimated that people who sleep 6 hours or less in 24 hours have a significantly shorter lifespan.
Let’s see what happens to the functions of the body during the period of sleep deprivation:
- In the first 24 hours, the average person usually suffers from headaches.
- After 72 hours, the individual will begin to lose orientation and begin to have cognitive problems and memory loss.
- As the person continues to suffer from lack of sleep, after 144 hours, the person will begin to hallucinate and have little control over their action.
- Even after the first 24 hours, the immune system will be weakened by up to 50%, which makes the body vulnerable to diseases, flu, infections, etc.
It is important to keep in mind that during the sleep the DNA is repaired and the damaged cells are replaced with new cells. This means that the body needs to regenerate and enter a passive state (more like hibernation), so that any damage that has occurred during the active part of the day has been repaired.
Not only that, but the body also enters a state of high stress. This is because the body is deprived of sleep and the mental capacity of concentration is significantly reduced. Stress hormones are released into the bloodstream and blood pressure increases. This can easily cause heart attacks, especially with elderly or frail people.
Another interesting thing to mention is that experiments have been done with laboratory rats. They have been kept awake by light electrocution every time they start sleeping (and before entering REM mode). Over time, their metabolism began to accelerate and they usually enter a hyper-metabolic state, further weakening their bodies. Hypermetabolism has been linked to sleep deprivation. As the body enters such a state, the organism will start functioning much faster, and even if it is at rest, the metabolism will remain unnaturally high.
The body burns nutrients and fat reserves much faster so you can replenish stores. The body is much more prone to infections and will have less chance of fighting infections, because the immune system is so weak that it can not even fight a common flu. This process happens with people too.
While there are cases in which people have survived long periods of sleep deprivation, this does not mean that everyone can survive. The usual average individual (including animals) can not survive for more than a month.
Sleep deprivation itself does not lead to irreversible conditions since it does not tend to damage organs such as dehydration and starvation. This does not mean that anyone should try or experiment with sleep deprivation to see how they can handle themselves.
Some people have done it and did not know that this could have a fatal end for them. Therefore, experimenting with the limits of your body can damage and compromise your health and is not something you should try. If you ever decide to test your limits, you must be constantly monitored by a doctor and monitor your health at all times.