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Russell's Lighthouse

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Okay... I am trying to find out how long I can stay awake. Has anyone tried this?

 

Apparently the record is almost 19 days. I think I'll try between 5 and 7 days. I don't think I'll be able to handle more on my own. I am awake since Sunday, 10:20 PM (UTC+01:00).

 

The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses. (Source)

 

Hmmm... maybe I'll find god again. If I'm going to start speaking in tongues, you'll know why.

 

Anyway... it seems like a stupid idea, but I'm going to do it anyway. Perhaps those that have tried it or know something more specific about this sort of thing can share it.

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I would not recommend it - I used to stay awake very frequently for 2 or 3 days at a time and it is not worth it. You build up a big sleep deficit over time that you eventually have to get back.  Plus, for days afterwards you feel like you have to sleep all of the time.

Though I'm joking, I wouldn't recommend it either. In my career, we worked a compressed shift. Two afternoon shifts, two day shifts and then ending with a midnight shift. Many times deprived of sleep, I don't think you ever catch up.

 

And people wonder why every so often an air traffic controller falls asleep on a midnight shift.

I do not recommend it Julien, I hope we can talk you out of it. It really is not safe, you can do crazy things under sleep deprivation. It's an ancient mechanism, this sleeping thing, why mess with it?
Hey, you never know how some of those crazy things can help you afterwards. I can't say my life is perfect, not even decent, right now so... there aren't many things to protect.

Julien, i don't know a lot about you, except that you are young.  so you do have much to protect, decades of life roll out before you, and for many ppl, their youth was NOT their best time of their life. 

So many ppl make remarks that youth is just the all-time best part of one's life, but, for many of us, it wasn't the case, almost opposite for some people.

  I am sorry to hear your life is not real great right now, but, do be aware, for most ppl, life gets better when you are an adult, more confident then, freer to make your own choices and follow your own dreams, discovering things that please you so much, things that you haven't even had a chance to know about yet, cuz you are so young.

 

Hang in there, for most ppl, who aren't having the best time as young ppl, it DOES get better, much much better, the best is yet to come, friend.

I stay awake as long as I can, when I see that no one is around me in the night because I prefer to read these Atheist sites while being alone or with relatives who do not know abc of English for safety reasons. I have to work on my relatives computer as I have not my own computer yet (|Even if I have one then I have to follow same routine because I m living in a joint family set up). When I see that relatives or owner of computer is not at home then I have to jump to these kind of sites. So being awake is a necessary thing for me nowadays.

Secret, that just breaks my heart.  I hope someday, you ever get a chance to experience a lil more safety in your life about being an atheist. 

I understand about the need to connect to others who think like you do, i really do.

lets hope for the best.

Other people have already pointed out the dangers here, so I won't belabor the point.

 

I will however confirm Jaume's accounts of the experience, and underline Jean Marie's particular advice to not put yourself in a position to do pretty much anything while you're in that state.

 

My record is somewhere around 73 consecutive hours without sleep. Yes, you do start hallucinating. But trust me: You're not "there" enough to enjoy them, or much of anything, really.

 

You lose the ability to track time to the extent that you cannot complete tasks as simple as finishing whole sentences, holding a conversation, or going into another room to fetch something. Your short term memory is pretty much non-existent at this point, and you find yourself constantly not knowing where you are, how you got there, or what you're doing.

 

You're largely non-responsive beyond reflexive gestures - you might make a noise with your mouth at a person when they seemed to have said something to you, only to be told that you didn't actually say any words, just noises, or that the person wasn't there, or left 5 minutes ago, or was there but never said anything to you. There's no experience as such to enjoy, really.

 

If you're anywhere other than under the constant supervision of attentive friends, it's easy to see how this is very dangerous. Not to mention that around/beyond that point, you're not going to be physically able to keep yourself awake without very significant chemical aids and/or literal torture, which have their own obvious dangers beyond the sleep deprivation itself. My three-day run ended when I aburptly passed out in the middle of an active physical exercise, thankfully falling onto a soft surface, and proceeded to sleep for a little over 20 hours straight.

 

Keep it to things you can manage - a day or two tops. I can understand the curiosity, don't get me wrong. But as with drinking, if you go past a certain point you lose the ability to consciously regulate your plan anymore, and fall down the slippery slope.

Two days is not a stretch at all. I can say from experience that it is harder to stay awake for the first 24 hours, then you start getting used to it. I don't think I have ever been awake more than let's say 50-55 hours so I can't tell what's happening after that.

 

Even when you stay awake for only a few extra hours your memory begins to fail you, and you are a lot more clumsy than usual, so I guess it's obvious that it will progress along with the number of hours awake.

 

Why would you exercise at that point? Did you think it would help you stay awake?

No. I was simply not taking basic things like "I haven't slept in 3 days" into account when I was making decisions. It's hard to consciously imagine but you're really sincerely not all there.

 

To clarify - I wasn't exercising as in working out; I just meant that I was in the middle of doing something active, not necessarily strenuous, and I blacked out mid-motion. If that activity had been, say, driving, or even just crossing the street, it could have had much nastier results.

 

I know it gets "easier" after the first day or so and feels like "not a stretch at all" - but what I guess I didn't underline enough is that by that point already, what you feel is no longer an accurate indicator of what is or isn't actually taxing your body, and to what extent. It's kind of like how you don't feel sick or don't feel pain when you're totally black-out drunk. It not feeling bad is itself a bad thing.

 

It's not that you're getting used to it; it's that your body is being taxed enough that it interprets your behavior as the result of a state of emergency, and starts suspending its normal safeguards and mechanisms to help you get through it momentarily. And then when you go further than that, it's that you're breaking those safeguards and mechanisms outright.

Live More, Sleep Less

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You will spend a third of  your life asleep. If you don’t, your waking hours will be of reduced quality and productivity. For 99% of us, seven hours a night is biological necessity. For a select 1%, what Melinda Beck at the Wall Street Journal dubs the “Sleepless Elite,” less sleep equals more life. So-called short sleepers operate with a kind of low-intensity mania which allows them to go to bed late and wake up early without needing a gallon of coffee to get through the day. And, as it turns out, the ability might be genetic.

“My long-term goal is to someday learn enough so we can manipulate the sleep pathways without damaging our health,” says human geneticist Ying-Hui Fu at the University of California-San Francisco. “Everybody can use more waking hours, even if you just watch movies.”

Dr. Fu was part of a research team that discovered a gene variation, hDEC2, in a pair of short sleepers in 2009. They were studying extreme early birds when they when they noticed that two of their subjects, a mother and daughter, got up naturally about 4 a.m. but also went to bed past midnight.

Genetic analyses spotted one gene variation common to them both. The scientists were able to replicate the gene variation in a strain of mice and found that the mice needed less sleep than usual, too.

Dr. Fu’s research is a reason for excitement because the goal is not just to locate the gene, but to find a way to manipulate sleep pathways safely. For those of us already alive, that means there might be better, safer, more effective stimulants in the future. For those not yet born, genetic engineering may enable future generations to spend less time sawing logs and more time enjoying life. More life! Less sleep! It’s like a longevity enhancement that does nothing to extend your time alive, but instead maximizes your use of that time. But how do short sleepers use their time?

And this, my fine friends, is where the real benefits of whatever genetic magic short sleepers possess comes into focus. Our immediate instinct when we hear we can get a benefit is “what is the cost?” For example, less sleep? I bet I’ll become crazy. Or moody. Or more sleep won’t mean I’m more productive. What ever makes me more energetic will make me too addled to focus.We are programmed by experience to be skeptical of too-good-to-be-true offers. The cynical part of me is reminded of a quote from LCD (R.I.P.) Soundsystem’s jam “Pow Pow:” “But honestly, and be honest with yourself, how much time do you waste? How much time do you blow every day?”

Would we really do any more with our lives if we had more time awake? What are the lives of short sleepers like? University of Utah neurologist Christopher Jones has found common traits among short sleepers in addition to their ability to only catch a few winks:

To date, Dr. Jones says he has identified only about 20 true short sleepers, and he says they share some fascinating characteristics. Not only are their circadian rhythms different from most people, so are their moods (very upbeat) and their metabolism (they’re thinner than average, even though sleep deprivation usually raises the risk of obesity). They also seem to have a high tolerance for physical pain and psychological setbacks.

“They encounter obstacles, they just pick themselves up and try again,” Dr. Jones says.

Short sleep research is still in its early phases, but most of those studied thus far are successful, productive, happy individuals. They quite literally get more out of life. Short sleepers don’t spend a third of their time on this planet asleep. I need to get me some of that.

I’m sad to say I still need a whole pot of java after my requisite seven hours to be a normal human being. Fingers crossed for a pharmaceutical solution sometime soon.

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