Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
A WWI soldier stayed awake for 40 years after getting shot in the head? (businessinsider.com)
27 points by onetimemanytime 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments

Extraordinary claims like this (being the only human ever reported AFAIK not requiring sleep) need extraordinary evidence, which likely are unobtainable for this anecdotal case.

> His wakefulness caused headaches only when he didn't rest his eyes for at least an hour a day

That seems like a loophole big enough to drive a Medium Mark C Hornet Tank through.

> being the only human ever reported AFAIK not requiring sleep

There’s also Thái Ngọc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thái_Ng%E1%BB%8Dc

The same thing happens with lightening strikes. People get hit by the sonic blast wave or distant lines of flux and are convinced they were hit by lightening. In reality, this isn't even remotely possible. The temperature of the contact point in lightening on a human is around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It does spectacular things to the body. Yet, there are often headlines of a person describing being "hit by lightening".

I know this is annoying, but I'm going to take this occasion to point out that "lightening" and "lightning" are different things (and have a different number of syllables). The former is basically "the causing of lightness". One definition is "the sensation, experienced by many women late in pregnancy when the head of the fetus enters the pelvis, of a reduction in pressure on the diaphragm, making it easier to breathe" (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/lighten...). The latter is the meteorological phenomenon.

Cool observation, though.

Apologies, I often skip spell checking and my fingers have a different idea of how some things should be formed.

I shall tighten my Cilice [1] to position number 3 today.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilice

j/k just trying to put an image of a monk in your mind. :-)


Ok, we'll add a questionability mark above.

Randy Gardner didn’t sleep for 11 days and 25 minutes, under observation, at age 17.

This is the longest verified time spent awake by a human. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Gardner_(record_holder)

My personal "record" is little above 5 full days, without sleeping even a single minute. Without going into details, I had a traumatic event and I couldn't fall asleep.

Interestingly, I didn't feel that tired. On the last day, I even exercised.

I felt mentally slower, though, for sure. Like operating at 50% intelligence.

People that don't sleep for prolonged periods of time will eventually die [0]. No way around it. It's one of the reasons that Guinness World Records banned sleep deprivation records.

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_insomnia

While I'm sure that sleep deprivation will eventually kill you (although I'm not sure if it's at all possible to keep someone from sleeping to that extent), insomnia isn't what kills you in fatal familial insomnia. The killer is prions turning your brain to mush and turning you first into a vegetable, then killing you.

It seems (perhaps too) obvious to me, that if sleep didn't perform some vital function in maintaining the body and/or brain, then evolution would have eliminated it due to the disadvantage of being vulnerable and inactive for a large part of the day.

> People that don't sleep for prolonged periods of time will eventually die

Everyone will eventually die.

Super interesting. It really just goes to show how very little we actually know about sleep. Thanks for sharing!

Sounds like an xmen. This can't be reproduced on rats? (remove that bit of the brain)

Season 2 Episode 4 of The X-Files.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact