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  1. Quanta Magazine article Why Sleep Deprivation Kills tells of cutting edge research on sleep deprivation. It turns out that the gut is the first organ to show damage from sleeplessness: The intestinal linings become covered with reactive oxygen species (ROS), which will lead to lethal tissue damage after enough buildup. What came as a surprise then was that feeding test animals with antioxidants helped them to completely overcome the ROS buildup and its damaging effects. Please note that this simple model only accounted for insect physiology and cannot account for other benefits that ordinary sleep may bring to higher animal bodies like possessed by the human spirit. It's not recommendable to substitute good regular sleep with antioxidants, but people who have chronic sleep issues should take a cue from this study and make sure they have healthy diets with enough sources of antioxidants to help mitigate any oxidation damage poor sleep might have caused.