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Bloke who didn't sleep for 264 hours suffered horrendous effects for years after

Bloke who didn't sleep for 264 hours suffered horrendous effects for years after

He stayed awake for more than 11 days but suffered serious consequences

Plenty of us are guilty of not getting enough kip - but one teen took this to the extreme after he took part in an experiment where he didn’t sleep for 264 hours. I feel tired just typing that.

Back in 1963, the (somewhat incredibly named) Randy Gardner, 17, and his school pal Bruce McAllister, both from the US, were thinking up ideas for their school’s science fair.

The pair of friends eventually decided to see what would happen if they attempted to break the world record for staying awake.

To decide who the unlucky sleep dodger would be, they flipped a coin and poor old Gardner lost - but his pal decided to try and stay awake with him anyway.

McAllister later told the BBC: "We were idiots, you know young idiots, and I stayed awake with him to monitor him.

"After three night of sleeplessness myself, I woke up tipped against the wall, writing notes on the wall itself."

Randy Gardner was just 17 when he took part in the experiment.
Don Cravens/Getty Image

The study was also observed by Stanford sleep researcher Dr William Dement, and US Navy medic Lieutenant Commander John J. Ross.

According to the researchers, the effects began to kick in after the second day without any shut eye - and Gardner began to stumble over words when he was asked to repeat tongue twisters to test how he was feeling.

By three days without any sleep, things had taken a steep decline for Gardner who reportedly experienced moodiness, concentration issues and short-term memory loss, as well as paranoia and even hallucinations.

“He was physically very fit,” Dement said. “So we could always get him going by playing basketball or going bowling, things like that. If he closed his eyes he would be immediately asleep.”

He was left with shocking side effects for years after.
Don Cravens/Getty Image

Incredibly, by the end of the experience, the teen had spent more than 11 days - 264.4 hours, to be exact - awake.

After finally succumbing to the Sand Man, the teen slept for a full 14 hours and then woke up naturally, claiming he didn’t even feel particularly ‘groggy’.

But despite initially recovering well, he went on to have problems with his sleep for years and years later, according to WBUR.

As an adult, Gardner began to experience insomnia and was convinced the experiment was to blame.

"I was awful to be around. Everything upset me. It was like a continuation of what I did 50 years ago," he said.

Featured Image Credit: Don Cravens/Getty Images

Topics: Science, Health, History