top of page

The Astonishing Record For Staying Awake

Quote of the Week:

“We don’t want to tell our dreams, we want to show them.” --Cristiano Ronaldo

Fact of the Week:

In 1964, 17-year-old Randy Gardner set the Guinness World Record for longest time without sleep by staying up 11 days (264 hours) for a high school science experiment. He and his friend Bruce McAllister decided to study the effects on the brain caused by lack of sleep, and as Gardner lost the coin toss, he would endure the pain.

The record went on to be broken the next year by Toimi Soini of Finland, who went 275 hours without sleep). He supposedly held the title until Guinness stopped keeping records involving sleep deprivation, deeming the act unsafe.

In 2007, Tony Wright stayed up for 266 hours, believing he had broken Gardner’s record. He had not known that Soini’s achievement of 275 hours existed, nor that Guinness had stopped keeping records.

17-year-old Randy Gardner. Via Unilad. Image Credit: dit: @psych_review/Twitter/WondersOfTheWorld/YouTube

Some sources claim that Maureen Weston went 449 hours (18.7 days) without sleep during a rocking chair marathon. Science has shown, however, that sleep-deprived people can slip into a microsleep that lasts up to thirty seconds. These moments are not easily caught by the naked eye, thus making dubious the officialness of attempts not caught on camera.

Despite Weston’s 449-hour marathon, some scientists say that people who suffer chronic insomnia might have stayed awake even longer. Fatal familial insomnia is an extremely rare mutation that causes individuals to be unable to sleep, slowly bringing on hallucinations, dementia, and death, often within six months to several years. If you have insomnia, don’t worry---this is probably not you. You would know if it was.

Peter Tripp, an early pioneer in sleep experiments, stayed awake for 8.4 days. After three days he began laughing hysterically at nothing, and then became confused, upset and paranoid. Following the experiment, he became moody and depressed, got fired from his job, and went on to have four divorces.

Though some of these participants claimed to have no lasting effects, it can takes years for them to be revealed. Randy Gardner alternated between sanity and delusion during his experiment, sometimes totally fine and other times talking to street signs. Following the experiment, he noticed no adverse effects. He only began to suffer insomnia later in life, which tortured him for years.

Ultimately, there’s a reason that Guinness stopped keeping record of the longest time without sleep—it’s unhealthy and terrifying to attempt. The fact that perhaps best sums up the poor health effects from lack of sleep comes from UC Berkeley neuroscientist, Matthew Walker. Walker says that daylight saving time is a great indication of sleep health: “In the spring when we lose an hour of sleep, we see a subsequent 24 percent increase in heart attacks. In the fall when we gain an hour of sleep opportunity, there is a 21 percent decrease in heart attacks.”

NPR, Daily Mail, and World of Lucid Dreaming contributed to this article.

News Update:

With graduation looming around the corner and college a few months beyond that, every high school senior is in a festive mood. Of course, if you want really make the most of your last few weeks, a senior prank is always a good way to go out.

The seniors at West Milford High School placed hurdles in the hallways, put shredded paper, toilet paper, and dog food around the offices, stacked towers of books in the media center, and moved chairs around.

Their prank resulted in several parents reaching out to News 12 New Jersey, claiming the joke went too far. They believe the students should be punished, though they think no discipline has been enforced because some of the students are children of administrators. These parents declined to speak to News 12 for fear of retaliation.

Principal Matthew Stiane had a different take.

“Messages of endearment were written for teachers in a few locations. This can hardly be viewed as the egregious acts and rumors being spread," he said in a letter to the parents. The students involved also agreed to clean up the mess.

News 12 New Jersey contributed to this article.

Sports Update:

Via The New York Times. Credit: Nate Billings/Associated Press

The Oklahoma Sooners Women’s Softball team doesn’t get tired of winning. They beat Florida State 3-1 last Thursday, capturing their third consecutive national title. They’re the first team to three-peat since UCLA in 1988-90.

Not only that, but the Sooners set the record for most wins in a season (61), best winning percentage (98.4%), and longest win streak, which is currently 53 games and a mark they will take into next season. The lone blemish on their 61-1 record came on February 19th, when they fell 4-3 to Baylor.

This week, instead of a riddle, we’ve included the link to the latest strip of Cliff Notes Comics. For the most accurate representation of college, there’s no better place:

68 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page