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Man Tries to Stay Awake 40 Days 30

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-coffee dept.
28-year-old photographer Tyler Shields is trying to break a record that Guinness wants no part of. He's trying to stay awake for 40 days straight without the help of a newborn baby or really bad neighbors. From the article: "If staying awake for 40 days is half as difficult -- or half as painful -- as Shields makes it sound, he could hold the record forever. 'This is the worst thing you could ever possibly do to yourself, and I would recommend no one do this,' he said. Though Shields is accustomed to functioning on less sleep than many people, he still trained his body to stay awake for days on end before the record attempt. Thanks to the training, he said the first few weeks were easy."

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Man Tries to Stay Awake 40 Days

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  • In college especially, I went through some (what seemed to me) very long periods without sleep. Not sleeping one or two nights made me a little punch drunk, to say the least. As my awake time prolonged past the 24-hour mark, I would start having waking dreams and seeing strange stuff. Maybe you get over a hump after the first few days, but I suspect that soon thereafter you start getting into some serious delirium. Maybe we should hand the guy a paint brush and see what he comes up with. Or, perhaps we
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by alienzed (732782)
      or at that point stabbing the knife with the spiders to make his arm go away.
    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      Your 24 hour mark seems consistent with what I've seen other people say about staying awake for prolonged periods.

      I used to do 48 hours pretty regularly. I'm fairly confident that I have "Delayed sleep phase syndrome", but I haven't had insurance to go see the proper specialists about it. The main symptom is sleeping in late, and going to sleep late. One of the other symptoms is that if I miss a sleep period, I won't typically feel tired, so I'll continue the second day lik

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Probably not some "Delayed sleep phase syndrome"...from what I can tell, it works that way for pretty much anybody (not many people do it regularly enough to analyze their state though). A "cliff" / crisis in the morning, some time after you would wake up normally - and once it passes, one can mostly carry on throughout the day.

        But still mostly with illusion of full wakefulness, probably constantly falling into microsleeps. And what this guy is almost certainly doing - with how dysfunctional his mind is now

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dargaud (518470)

      ...thereafter you start getting into some serious delirium. Maybe we should hand the guy a paint brush and see what he comes up with.

      If you hand him a compiler he'll probably come up with perl.

  • I wonder what level of chemical help he is allowed for this. Caffeine is one thing, but are coke or meth in the mix? There are probably some tweekers out there that could actually give the record a run for its money if Guinness isn't that picky.
    • According to TFA he's not even drinking coffee. He says that he's not having any problems staying awake, just that actually doing stuff is so much harder for him.

    • I once said to a friend, "I wish there was a pill I could take so I wouldn't need to sleep." He replied, "I know some drugs you can take so you will never need to sleep the rest of your life."

  • I have a vague recollection of a DJ that stayed on the air for 40 days continuously. Clearly there is a special class of people out there who have no problems whatsoever staying up heroic lengths of time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's really hard to believe. I stayed awake for about 5 days once, but I was eating coffee sandwiches near the end of that just to keep going. In case your wondering, a coffee sandwich is 2 buttered slices of bread with a generous sprinkling of instant coffee granules in the middle. Of course I washed them down with mugs of coffee.

  • He has friends that will vouch for him. That's reliable.

    • That's exactly what I was thinking. I can get my friends to tell you that I did a hand stand for 14 hours straight, but they're not exactly the most credible unbiased witnesses.

      • I did a hand stand for 14 hours straight

        It's true, I saw it everybody! (can we be friends now?)

    • by sznupi (719324)

      And it could be so easy, just hooking up EEG... (but that would show he constantly falls into microsleep for most of those few weeks)

      • by RockDoctor (15477)
        Not that I believe the [delusions/ lies] of the claimant for one second ...

        And it could be so easy, just hooking up EEG...

        How would you go about doing the "easy" "hooking up of an EEG"?

        Step (1) first obtain an EEG.

        I guess that I'd have to try getting to know some research workers at the Department of Medical Physics. I can't think of anywhere else that would have one (which I could borrow - the A&E department have probably got several, but need them on a "now, not in 5 minutes" basis.

        Step (2) : find someone who knows how to connect that model of EEG

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Sure, EEGs don't exactly grow on trees - I just meant it as a solution which is very reliable and decently doable (maybe know somebody with private practice? Or... [wikipedia.org] - certainly much worse from medical ones, but might be enough for noticing sleep; then there's also http://openeeg.sf.net/ [sf.net] )

          PS. Posted when close to 24h without sleep, near a "cliff"/crisis period. It's better to do ~36h and go to sleep normally - as you said, in a few hours it will be bearable/better; but how much of that is formed by our skewed

    • Good point. Hell, back when I used to have to pull a lot of 28+ hour shifts watching a front desk I tended to fall asleep without even noticing it. I'd figure it out because the show I was watching wouldn't make any sense anymore.

      As a side note, it wasn't until I started doing those shifts that I realized most of my hangovers weren't caused by alcohol, but by my body's reaction to sleep deprivation.
  • My personal record: 17 days. I certainly don't remember, but based on my average at that time, I think it took me at least 50 grams, probably a lot more.

    The hallucinations after the first 5 days are just awful.

    Believe this guy, you don't want to go through that.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Awful in what way?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061)

        Two words: extreme paranoia. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome. But it's frightening too. And when you get to that level often, it's time to quit coke forever.

        When you have been in a dark room for 10 straight hours, sweating like a pig, absolutely convinced that outside is a swat team trying to get a head shot on you, and you can see the lasers upon your body, and at one point you are sure that you have developed the ability to sense IR on your skin, and are using that ability to track who is trying to kill

  • Very creative way of self torturing and suicide :) You know it's used as a torture method in some countries.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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