How long do you think you could without sleeping?
Classmates Randy Gardner and Bruce McAllister wanted to test their ability to stay awake for a school project back in 1963. The science fair projected ended up putting Gardner in the record books after the high school student went without sleep for 264 straight hours.
Gardner retold his story to the YouTube channel Be Amazed and explained how the duo chose which one of them would be the guinea pig and what happened after going 11 days without sleeping.
The pair flipped a coin, with Gardner coming out the winner – or loser, depending on your perspective. After two days without sleep, Gardner had noticeable side effects like stumbling over words and trouble focusing on his vision. McAllister tried to stay awake to make sure Gardner stayed awake but couldn’t, so they enlisted a third person to help with the experiment.
By day three, Gardner was having serious issues.
Gardner became uncoordinated and exhibited extreme mood swings. By day five, he started experiencing hallucinations.
Gardner and McAllister’s experiment went on so long, Gardner ended up being observed by Stanford sleep researcher Dr. William Dement and U.S. Navy medic Lieutenant Commander John J. Ross.
After beating the previous world record, Gardner ended the experiment at 264.4 hours. Unfortunately for Gardner, he couldn’t go right to bed after the experiment.
First, he held a press conference about his experience, and then Gardner was sent to a Naval hospital. Dr. Dement and his staff conducted an EEG and studied his brainwaves.
Finally, Gardner was allowed to go to bed. He slept 14 hours and noticed something unexpected after the experiment was done.
He felt fine when he woke up and experienced zero side effects from starving his body of sleep for so long.
“Everything was fine. Strange, isn’t it?” he told Be Amazed.
[via Be Amazed]