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How to stay awake for 24 hours

Radio 1's Scott Mills and Chris Stark are giving up something very important to support this year's Comic Relief: sleep.

They will be hosting Radio 1's 24 Hour Lol-A-Thon from 4pm Tuesday until 4pm Wednesday, bringing you 24 continuous hours of jokes and hilariousness from celebs, listeners and other big names from Radio 1.

There will probably also be a good chunk of delirium and a bit of grumpiness too.

We sleep to restore and repair our body and mind and most adults need between 7 and 9 hours sleep a night, but while sleep is essential, missing a day’s sleep to stay up all night telling jokes won't result in any long term problems.

Why did the banana go to the doctor? He wasn't peeling very well
MaryAnne Taylor, The Sleep Expert

"Staying awake for 24 hours may lead to physiological changes such as higher blood pressure or impaired concentration," Dr Marta Jackowska, Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, tells Radio 1 online.

"But just one night of sleep deprivation is not going to lead to any damage to the body. It may just leave one feeling very tired and irritable."

Scott and Chris will be focusing on reaching the end of their 24 hour Lol-A-Thon and getting some sleep, but hormonal changes in the body during that time might make it tricky to nod off afterwards.

"Cortisol is a hormone that gets released if we miss sleep windows, so if we're lacking sleep we produce cortisol and it can affect us in various different ways," MaryAnne Taylor, who owns and runs The Sleep Works website, tells Radio 1.

"It can make us have that wired feeling, that over tired feeling, which can make it harder for us to actually wind down to sleep when we are ready."

"Once it has been released, it almost takes over from the natural sleep hormone, melatonin."

Here's how Radio 1 planned the Lol-A-Thon

Everyone loves a giant spreadsheet, right?

Marta and MaryAnne tell us that Scott and Chris will find the early hours of the morning the toughest part, when the Radio 1 offices are quiet and there's no natural light, but once they get to sunrise on Wednesday morning, they'll be through the worst.

A sandwich walks into a bar. The barman says ''Sorry we don't serve food in here''
Dr Marta Jackowska

So what can Scott and Chris do during the Lol-A-Thon to keep themselves alert? Our experts have some recommendations.

"You want to keep your mind and body quite active, so you need to move" says MaryAnne.

"They can't just sit. Sitting is a disaster because that really gives that feeling of lethargy."

The food they eat during the night will make a huge difference to their energy levels, so pizza and sweets should probably be avoided.

"I would avoid any big greasy meals, too many carbohydrates and too much chocolate that are additionally going to negatively impact already disrupted blood sugar levels and make one feel even more tired," says Marta.

"But if greasy food is all you want – don’t have too big a portion."

Both recommend drinking lots of water and avoiding too much coffee, which can lead to them feeling even more tired when the effects wear off.

And MaryAnne recommended that they just keep bringing the lols.

"Conversation. Keep the conversation going, which should be easy if there are two of them," she recommends.

But when it's all over, Scott and Chris may feel the effects of staying awake for such a long period for the rest of the week.

"Their body clocks will be out of sync and it may take a few days for that to regulate back into a normal pattern," says MaryAnne.

Comic Relief takes place on 24 March 2017. Click here for more information and how you can get involved