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JackAdams's avatar

Are there really human beings who don't sleep at all?

Asked by JackAdams (6474points) September 13th, 2008

There is a story I found via Google®, about a Vietnamese Man who has been without any sleep at all, supposedly since 1976, and I guess some news crews have followed him around for several days, to document that.

I have heard about some people, who cannot sleep at all (for some reason) and take so-called “rest breaks,” reading in a chair while their relatives snooze. These folks claim that sleeping pills only give them headaches, and the only time in their lives where they have ever been unconscious, was when they have undergone a surgical procedure.

Do you know of anyone like that? I don’t, but if I did, I think that I would feel very sad for them, because without sleeping, there probably is no dreaming.

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27 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Since sleep is a time that restores our bodies and minds, I think it would significantly life shortening if true although I find it hard to believe. It is mandatory; all living things sleep.

Nimis's avatar

If you ask me a question while I’m sleeping, I’ll answer you in a clear voice. (And remember it in the morning.) I used to also do my math homework while I slept. But I would actually dream that I was doing the math homework.

Wait…that didn’t really answer the question. To answer your question…no, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t sleep. But I do know there are various levels of being asleep.

SuperMouse's avatar

Here is a link to the story of Michael Corke, a guy who actually died from sleep deprivation. Based on that, I would be dubious of the Vietnamese fellow’s claims.

Nimis's avatar

SuperM: Really interesting article.

JackAdams's avatar

Ditto. Thanks!

buster's avatar

I know some tweakers who would stay up one or two months.

AstroChuck's avatar

I’ve heard of a gentleman who only required about 15 minutes sleep in a 24 hour period. But I doubt if anybody could survive without any sleep at all. You could say that I’m sceptical about this Vietnamese guy.

iJimmy's avatar

Here is a story about a three year old boy who has never slept..

poofandmook's avatar

What was the name of that radio guy who did an experiment and didn’t sleep for some period of time, and within the next year he lost his job and his wife left him and all this other stuff? I’ll have to try to search his name… but I remember something about minor permanent brain damage? Or maybe I’m making it all up. LOL

maybe_KB's avatar

I don’t know any human being that does not sleep
Or get headaches when taking sleeping aid
versus actually sleeping.
It’s a real page turner-
One who actually exsist WITHOUT sleep!

poofandmook's avatar

Peter Tripp – 201 Hours (1959)

The New York DJ, Peter Tripp, set a world record for sleep deprivation in 1959. He went for 201 hours (8.4 days) without sleep. He spent most of the time in a glass booth in Times Square, and the rest in a hotel room across the street, set up as a laboratory.

After three days, Tripp began to find certain things hilarious that weren’t funny at all. At other times, he became upset for no reason. He was also confused, asking why there were bolts in the window frames.

By day four, he suffered from hallucinations and paranoia. At first they were simple patterns – like cobwebs on the doctors’ faces, or imagining that paint specks on the table were insects.

But soon his hallucinations became 3D. Tripp imagined mice and kittens scurrying around the room…
Peter Tripp: Guinness World Record

At one stage Tripp became psychotic. He rummaged through draws looking for non-existent money. He accused a technician of trying to harm him. He then claimed he was not Peter Tripp but an imposter.

On reaching his 200-hour target, Tripp was made to stay awake for one final hour while doctors did more tests. They left the EEG in place as he finally closed his bloodshot eyes and entered a deep 13-hour slumber.

He may have been physically restored, but Tripp’s family soon noticed a difference in his personality. His wife said he was moody and depressed. He fought with his boss, got involved in the payola scandal, and was fired from his high profile job. He went on to have four divorces. Some would say the sleep stunt changed Peter Tripp forever.

EmpressPixie's avatar

You can’t go without sleep. It makes you crazy and eventually you do sleep. People who appear to go without sleep often report not sleeping while entering REM stages quickly and for short amount of times. They are generally exhausted, emotional, and have no idea they are sleeping. They also usually die rather quickly. We really can’t survive without it. Having said all of that, I suppose it would be possible for someone to go without it, but their brain would have to be rather… different. So I would call shennanigans on anyone who said they’ve gone without for any insane amount of time.

Comedian's avatar

I’ve gone 5 days! Don’t ask how because I don’t even know. It was the 5 most boring days of my life. I would rekemend it. Plus it probably isn’t the best for you lol.

mowens's avatar

Ive done that too. I promptly went to bed after I heard my grandpas voice say my name.

He had been dead 5 years.

Without REM your mind plays tricks on you.

It was scary. I went right to bed after.

JackAdams's avatar

I have also remained awake for a few days, but not really by my own choice. Personal problems (pending divorce) and other things were to blame. I just could not go to sleep, for close to four days.

AstroChuck's avatar

Those of you who have been up for days are welcome to come to my place and try my green recliner. I’ll just turn on the TV for you while you kick back and you’ll be out in no time.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Well there is a disease called fatal familial insomnia where sleeping pills have a negative effect.

It’s a prion disease that turns the bit of your brain responsible for sleep into mushroom soup (grey gelatinous paste). You get insomnia then you die (the clue was in the name wasn’t it). In the early stages people develop paranoia and hallucinations ending up in dementia.

So… to answer your question. Yes but not for long.

JackAdams's avatar

@AC: To quote you, verbatim, “I’ll just turn on the TV…”

Just how do you do that?

Do you rub its thighs? Whisper dirty suggestions into its ears?

And if you actually succeed in “turning on” your TV, what do you do with it?

(TV = TransVestite)

(Yes, I’m totally joking with you, of course!)

Comedian's avatar

I have insomnia (not the best speller sorry) so it’s easier for me to stay up sadly lol.

JackAdams's avatar

Your spelling was flawless, so far as I can tell.

Comedian's avatar

oh…thank you :)

JackAdams's avatar

Oh no! I caught a spelling error in your most-recent post, Comedian!

Comedian's avatar

what did i do?

JackAdams's avatar

You wrote, quoting verbatim, “oh…thank you.”

You should have written your first word with a CAPITAL LETTER, so the quote would have been, “Oh…thank you.”

I’ll waive the $500 fine, this time…

LOL (Just joking around, of course!)

Comedian's avatar

Oh darn. I need that money! lol I have an idea. How about you pay me the money

JackAdams's avatar

Sure! Agreed! I’ll do that, the NEXT time I win the lottery!

Comedian's avatar

Thank you!

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