One might feel that it surely makes sense to understand exactly how long can we live without sleeping? But I assume why on earth would somebody experiment out such terrible activity.
Interestingly, Google promptly highlights when you ask “How long can we live without sleeping?” It’s “About 11 Days”. Of course, this piece of information is expected to come out of the experimental research, which is actually true.
Anything you read about how long can we battle with the sleep deprivation, undoubtedly, will include a name that created a milestone in the history of Sleep Science. Randy Gardner, a 17-year-old high school student, in 1964, made a world record of going intentionally without sleep for 11 days and 24 minutes, that’s 264.4 hours straightaway.
The event was a science fair. Other research subjects who participated in the event were awake for eight to ten days. The research was done under a close monitoring of Lt. Cmdr. John Ross.
Fortunately, none of them, including Randy, experienced any sort of complications in health. However, what was observed during the procedure was all of them showed a progressive dysfunctional in certain mental activities. These includes serious changes in behavioral and cognitive activities. On day 11, when Gardner was asked to subtract seven multiple times, beginning with 100, he stopped at 65, and when asked why he did so, he replied he just forgot what he is doing? Nonetheless, Gardner’s experiment set a world record.
However, it is believed that Gardner’s record is been broken many times. In Spite of it, Gardner’s case stands out boldly as it was most extensively documented study.
Such experiment, though little risky, was helpful to know how much a human can stretch his/her limits.
An animal study conducted at the University of Chicago involving two rats managed to survive two weeks of experimentation but later fell to death. It was inferred that rats died due to lack of sleep but the experimental procedures involved giving electric shocks and other treatments to prevent the rats from sleeping. This actually complicated the true cause of their death.
There is rare sleep disorder called Fatal Familial Insomnia where the patient remains in complete wakefulness until the death stops showing its mercy. The cause of the disease was unknown until a rigorous research was carried out and scientists concluded that it’s a rare genetic disorder that results from a gene mutation.
Lack of sleep has killed many is still a matter of debate. Even after years of research, we are not sure what statement to make. The reason if somebody lost his or her life due to sleep deprivation mainly results from a damage to any particular organ other than the brain.
As with Gardner’s case, there weren’t any significant health related issues apart from the cognitive and behavioural changes but of the serious one.
It’s just weird and amazing at the same time to know that U.S. department of defense is ready to fund a research project of creating a fully awake, fully active soldier who will be 24/7 on duty.
Biotechnology is a wrap of many potential life changing tools, one of which, might open new doors for research in sleep science. Till then, let’s just cherish the comforts of nice healthy and a peaceful sleep!