Everything You Need to Know About Sleep

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  March 28th 

How Long Can You Go Without Sleep? 

"The World Record was Set in 1964 by a High School Student" 

By: Terrence Gaddis 

Just how long can you go without sleep? That is a question that researchers have asked numerous times in their search for scientific verification. This question is usually followed by the following question, what are the effects of this length of sleep deprivation? The answer to both of these was answered by a high school student in 1964 and is the best documented record on continuous wakefulness.


The best documented record for the long period of not sleeping is 264 hours, which equates to eleven days!

Randy Gardner was a student in San Diego, California who managed to stay awake for 264 continuous hours, or eleven days in total and answer the question of how long you can go without sleep. Although there has been longer durations of sleeplessness reported, this record still stands due to the fact that this case was so well documented. The Guinness Book of Records no longer reports this record in recent editions of their publication.

Mr. Gardner did not suffer from any serious or significant side effects from this sleepless duration and no dramatic medical, neurological, physiological or psychiatric were noted to persist. However, there were noted effects as the sleepless period continued. Some of these effects included:

Deficits in concentration
Reduced motivation
Reduced perception and higher mental processes

In studies conducted on sleeplessness, altered states of consciousness are noted and can involve instances of what is known as “microsleep”. Microsleep is a condition where the body and brain will enter brief periods of sleep even though an individual’s eyes can remain open. The condition is marked by extreme bursts of sleepiness and loss of motor functions. It has also been noted that a human being can not die from a lack of sleep as the human body will literally shut itself down and fall into a state of unconsciousness.

It has been documented that severe sleep deprivation in rats will cause death after a two week period of sleeplessness. The cause of death is associated with hyper metabolism.

There have been researched cases of maladies that derive patients of sleep over extreme periods. An infliction called Fatal Familial Insomnia is fatal after periods of six to thirty months where sufferers do not sleep for extended durations. It should be noted that the cause of death in these cases is multiple organ failure and not sleep deprivation.

Sleep Facts:

Generally, women sleep more than men
Falling asleep in anything less than a five minute period after lying down is an indication of sleep deprivation
REM sleep is recorded in multiple bursts during the night where the state occurs for a duration of approximately two hours per even after ninety minutes of non-REM sleep
After seventeen hours of continuous wakefulness, the body reacts in a manner equivalent to a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%
The NRMA reports that one in six fatal accidents involve fatigue
Elephants stand while non-REM sleeping and lie down during REM sleep
Snoring only occurs during non-REM sleep
Some studies have shown that women require an extra hour of sleep compared to men and not getting that may be responsible for the fact that women have a higher rate of depression than men

Source: http://www.Go-to-Sleep.net

Go-to-Sleep.net is a website dedicated to the study of sleep. Everything that you could want to to know about how to go to sleep, including: sleep disorders, causes, cures, and studies.

Terrence Gaddis has been fascinated with sleep maladies since suffering through a case of insomnia in his youth. From this time forward, he has studied all the causes, treatments and news about this phenomenon.

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A Good Sleep              

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book ~Irish Proverb