It doesn’t take much more than missing out on one night of sleep to begin to wonder just how long someone can function without sleep. There’s no doubt that a few hours of missed sleep diminishes your ability to function at optimal levels. A full night without sleep can leave you disoriented, light-headed, and extremely irritable.
Before anyone discusses the actual world record for no sleep, you should understand that this is not a recommended course of action. The longer you go sleep deprived, the more severe the consequences may be. Some of them may even pose long-term threats to your good health. In fact, the risks are so great that Guinness stopped recording this record in 1989. Their reasons, according to AskMen.com were based, “On the grounds that such records were largely unverifiable and could encourage actions harmful to human health.”
The Current and Final World Records
Randy Gardner set the current world record in 1964 for going 264 hours — that’s right 11 days — without sleep. He was 17 at the time. While there are others who claim to have broken this record in the years since, his remains the record of note because of the rigorous methods used to independently verify the results by Dr. William C. Dement from Stanford University. Additionally, Lt. Commander John J. Ross provided medical expertise recording vital signs and the physical reactions Gardner experienced throughout the experiment.
A lot was learned throughout the experiment. One surprising result was that he was still able to play pinball on the tenth day of the experiment, despite having other symptoms throughout the experiment that included:
- Short temper
- Mood swings
- Loss of concentration
- Memory loss
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re having difficulty sleeping – especially if you’ve been struggling with sleep for a long time, then you need to seek the services of a medical practitioner. Sometimes, sleep deprivation, or an inability to sleep, is a side effect related to a more serious health problem. At the very least your physician should be able to help you come up with some healthy solutions for your sleep problems.
If you are just beginning to have sleep issues and want to try a few natural sleep solutions such as sleeping on a natural latex mattress, there are a few options that can provide a great deal of relief in the form of sleep. Add these to your daily routine and you’re sure to sleep better at night – also according to the National Sleep Foundation.
- Exercise – Just don’t exercise immediately prior to bed. Regular exercise in the morning or afternoon can greatly aid in your sleep efforts.
- Electronics – Turn them off and get them out of the bedroom.
- Alcohol and Drugs – Avoid them whenever possible. Even over the counter sleep aids can become crutches you rely on for sleep.
- Food – Don’t eat large meals close to bedtime.
- Routine – Develop a 30-minute routine you follow at night to prepare for bed. This signals the brain that you’re preparing for sleep and that it should do the same.
These small changes will bring about big changes in the amount of sleep you’re able to get at night. You won’t have to worry about whether you’re going to accidentally qualify for the world record for no sleep again once you put them into action.
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