How Long Can We Survive Without Sleep?


Humans are curious by nature and they seek for answers on quite unusual questions. How long can humans stay awake or how long can we survive without sleep is one of the most commonly asked questions by the curious ones. We know that eating and breathing are essential for our survival, but is sleeping essential too? For all those who didn’t know, besides resting your body and mind, sleeping restores your energy level, solidifies and consolidates memories gathered through the day, restores and rejuvenates your body, grows muscles, repairs your tissues, synthesizes your hormones… to name a few. But if you’re looking for a more scientific approach to sleeping in order to satisfy your appetite for a specific answer, continue reading.

In order your body to function properly and allow you to normally live your daily life, daily dose of sleep is a must. Sleep is a normal process that resets your body system and restores your health. Along with healthy diet and regular exercises, sleep is the foundation of good health and general well being. The recommended hours of sleep per night is 6, but 8 is ideal for people of most age to have their brain and body functioning perfectly. However, some studies indicate that 6 hours of sleep per night in a long run can reduce your reaction time.

Late-night studying, overtime working, important business deals, recent young member in the family – at a certain point, we all experience difficulties falling asleep and getting a quality sleep. Excessive stress can make it extremely difficult to get into the deep stage of sleep. If you’re traveling through different time zones regularly or dealing with some sort of a sleep disorder (such as the menopause, depression, sleep apnea, stress), you are also very likely to have your sleeping regime impacted. A few consecutive sleepless nights can prevent your body from fully recovering, which brings a plenty of health threats. Not getting enough sleep for a long period of time can lead to death.

Even though there are many researches done on sleeping, it is still not confirmed how long can we survive without sleep. However, there are several people who didn’t sleep for days and became famous because of it. Randy Gardner is the name that holds the record for the longest period without sleeping of all time. The 17-year-old teenager volunteered for a high-school science experiment and succeeded to stay awake for 11 days or 264 hours.

Another tragic hero, who set himself a goal of watching every single game of the UEFA Euro 2012, has died after 11 days without sleeping. Since he was Chinese, the time zone didn’t provide him with a very comfortable football-time and so the 26-year-old decided to survive without sleep. However, after his death, it was found out that he was drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes during his marathon, so the primary cause of his death has not been confirmed.

If a healthy individual is about to conduct an experiment of not sleeping for as much as they can, they will find it very difficult and could give up after pulling only one sleepless night. Sleeping is completely natural and much needed for proper functioning, so the drive to sleep is very strong and could beat all of your barely-conscious efforts to keep it away. Even if they succeed to remain awake for 2 or 3 days, they will start hallucinating and having dreams while being wide awake. After 5 days of sleep deprivation, they put their mental health under the risk of dizziness, weak immune system, color blindness, fainting, headaches, slurred speech, muscle aches and more.

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