Sleep deprivation is no joke. It leads to memory loss, poor concentration, moodiness, delusions, paranoia, hallucinations and possibly long-term brain damage and death. It is renowned as a very effective form of torture - just ask any new parent.
However, there are some who do not let these side effects deter them and have attempted to stay awake for days! The prize they are after is the world record for staying awake the longest. The difficulty? The Guinness Book of World Records stopped printing this information as they stated the results could be deadly.
Not surprisingly, the last world record holder acknowledged in 1965 is an American teenage boy. His name is Randy Gardner and at the age of 18 he stayed awake for 11 days or 264 hours. His purpose? To prove that nothing bad would happen to you if you didn’t sleep. It sounds to me like he had an unsettled bet with his mother.
Since the last official attempt, the web is littered with claims of longer periods of sleeplessness. In 2007, David Blaine was rumoured to be training to make an attempt standing up. He appears he has remained in training. Tyler Shields, age 28, claims he stayed awake for 40 days or 968 consecutive hours under a team of watchful monitors. He used 24 hour video recording to ‘prove’ he had completed this feat. He describes symptoms such as muscle pain and cramps, leg paralysis, moodiness and delusions.
Truthfully, I am more interested in the world record for staying asleep and I am even more puzzled that this world record does not seem to have been attempted or recorded. I know many more people who would sign up to sleep as long as they could - no training required.
What's your longest sleep record?