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Gardner, Randy

Category: Ordinary person

Randy Gardner holds the scientifically documented record for one of the longest periods a human being has intentionally gone without sleep not using stimulants of any kind.

In 1965—as a 18-year-old high school student in San Diego, California—Gardner stayed awake for 264 hours (eleven days), breaking the previous record of 260 hours held by Tom Rounds of Honolulu.

Gardner's record attempt was attended by Stanford sleep researcher Dr. William C. Dement. Gardner's health was monitored by Lt. Cmdr. John J. Ross. Accounts of Gardner's sleep-deprivation experience and medical response became widely known among the sleep research community.

Gardner's record has been broken a number of times since but Gardner's case still stands out, because it was so extensively documented. It is difficult to determine the accuracy of a sleep deprivation period unless the participant is carefully observed to detect short microsleeps, which the participant might not even notice.

The Guinness World Records record is 449 hours by Maureen Weston, of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in April, 1977, in a rocking-chair marathon. It is worth noting, however, that "records for voluntary sleep deprivation are no longer kept by Guinness World Records for fear that participants will suffer ill effects".


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