How Long Can Humans Go Without Sleep?

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The record for longest time spent awake was set in 1965 by Randy Gardner, a high school student. (Other people have claimed to beat his record in the years since, but Gardner's account was closely monitored and remains the most scientifically acknowledged case.) During his ordeal, Gardner exhibited the standard signs of prolonged sleeplessness: fatigue, lack of concentration, and even hallucinations. After a few nights of recovery, however, he didn't experience any long-term effects.


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Key Facts In This Video

  1. People who sleep 6–8 hours per night tend to live longer. 00:23

  2. In some cases, going three days without sleep has resulted in hallucinations. 01:18

  3. Fatal familial insomnia is a rare genetic disease that causes insomnia, dementia, and death. 02:12