You know how rundown you feel after a sleepless night. Imagine your state if you had to stay awake for 8 nights at a stretch – like Peter Tripp.
Peter Tripp, an American disc jockey stayed awake for more than 8 days in the display window of a shop in New York. He wanted to establish a record.
Passersby could see the gradual deterioration in his condition each day. By the eighth day he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He was hallucinating and there were times when he would scream.
His ordeal did not end when he quit the window. He went through a long period of depression afterwards.
Tripp's record was broken by another disc jockey Charles Christensen. Christensen managed to stay awake for 11 days and 13 hours but he started hallucinating badly towards the end.
In Britain, some years ago, a 70-year-old nurse who claimed she had never slept for more than a hour each day since childhood was kept under observation for 5 days.
During that period the longest she slept was for 204 minutes (on the 3rd day). She was her usual cheerful self all the days she was under observation and never showed signs of tiredness or stress.
Sleep researchers say the tendency to be a short sleeper runs in families. Short sleepers also tend to be athletic types and physically fit.
The great majority of us, however, need seven to eight hours of sleep and one should never try to do with less sleep than one's body needs.