How Long Can You Survive Without Sleeping?

Ultimately, nobody knows, the science of sleep is a beginning discipline and just in the previous years we have exceedingly began to create improvements in our understanding of the significance and functions of sleep.


What we do know is that it is not good to overlook our necessity for sleep. The negative side effects of partial sleep deprivation have been detected in numerous investigation and it is safe to assume that these would only be worsened by extended or total sleep deprivation.

An uncommon illness, Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI), is an autosomal dominate illness that is always deadly after about 6 to 30 months without sleep. FFI is possibly misnamed since mortality results from several organ failure rather than sleep deprivation. The pathological processes includes deterioration of the thalamus and other brain areas, over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system, hypertension, fever, tremors, stupor, weight loss, and disruption of the body’s endocrine systems. FFI belongs to a class of infectious diseases that include Mad Cow Disease.

In the 1960s a high school student named Randy Gardner decided to break the world record for the longest period spent awake. Throughout the test he had troubles with sight as well as several cognitive deficiencies, such as communication and memory difficulties. Near the finish of the experiment he also started to hallucinate. These symptoms appeared in just 11 days. Randy Gardner now holds the record for the longest a person has ever voluntarily gone without sleep, staying awake for 264 hours (about 11 days) when he was 17 for a school science fair project in 1965.

Photo by: Eugenia Perezandi 552976

No human has ever ultimately died from lack of sleep only, and it’s morally risky to investigate those boundaries in a lab. Last year, a 26-year-old Chinese man trying to watch every game of the European Cup reportedly died after staying awake for 11 days. Reports at the time implied that he was ingesting alcohol and smoking during the sleepless soccer-watching spree, making it hard to rule sleep deprivation as the main cause of death.

In well-known experiments in the 1980s at the University of Chicago, experts kept rats from sleeping by shaking them awake every time they fell asleep. The animals constantly died in two weeks, but Siegel , (a scientist who is affiliated with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System)believes their deaths may have had more to do with the surge of the strain hormone cortisol and rise in blood pressure every time they were woken up than the sleep deprivation.

“What they’re dying of is being repeatedly awakened which is quite different from sleep deprivation,” Siegel said. “If you stay up all night, none of this happens.”



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Article by: Dante Alan Cantú 556282


Kyle, B. S. (2015). How Long Can You Survive Without Sleep. Retrieved on September 13, 2016 from:

Siegel, J. (2011). Sleep Deprivation. Retrieved on September 13, 2016 from:




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