Many of us struggle to go a night without sleep, mainly because we are so used to getting our 7/8 hours of sleep every day. We have sleep schedules that we tend to stick to in order to prevent us from suffering from sleep deprivation throughout the day. But what is the record for the longest amount of time that someone has gone without sleep?
The longest recorded time that a human has gone without sleep is recorded at 11 days and 24 minutes (264 hours)! This crazy record was reached by Randy Gardner in 1964, when he was only 16 years old. The point of this ‘experiment’ was to prove that sleep deprivation can’t have a huge affect on your health, aside from the mood changes that are linked with tiredness. By the 10th day, Randy was reported to have been experiencing issues with moodiness, concentration, short term memory, paranoia and even hallucinations!
After completing this record, Gardner then slept for roughly 15 hours, the following day he slept for an additional ten and a half hours. Gardner appeared to fully recover from his loss of sleep, with follow up sleep recordings taken one, six, and ten weeks after the fact showing no significant differences. He suffered from no long term psychological or physical effects, this shows that the long term effects of sleep deprivation aren’t as crucial as everybody first thought.
Overall, there is no certain answer as to how long we can go without sleep, it will vary from person to person. There may be some people that actually went longer than 11 days without sleep but it may not have got the recognition that Randy Gardner got for his record. We’d personally recommend that you actually stick to a standard bedtime routine and sleep schedule though as the short time effects of sleep deprivation can be highly negative to your day to day routine.