Man Shares Effects After 11 Days, or 266 Hours, Awake: Part One

  • "And of course, it doesn't feel very good, it feels tired."

Tony Wright, from Cornwall in the UK, attempted to set a new world record in 2007. And he was awake for 266 hours straight.

He thought he set the record, as his long period of sleeplessness, beating 264 hours awake. This record was held by teenager Randy Gardner in 1964.

But his time was broken just a month later with 276 hours awake, set by Toimi Soini in Finland. In 1986, the record was again set by Robert McDonald with his 453 hours of no sleep.

Record or not, staying up for this long is no easy feat and Wright opened up about the process and why he did it. “Basically, you’re starving the rational mind, the egotistical mind of sleep, and it’s battery’s running down,” he said. “And of course, it doesn’t feel very good, it feels tired.”

“But if you push beyond that, its ability to stay in charge starts to break down as well. And that’s where you can start to get glimpses of access to the other side of the brain, the other self.”

He continued: “I’ve spoken to a lot of people about this. Most people have recollections where they’ve been partying, or they’ve been working hard, and sure they get tired, but within within that they get glimpses of something else.”

“That kind of softness, or a more relaxed state – often more emotional, because again, there’s more access to that emotional side of the brain.” (Compared to when you’re awake.)

“Even feeling quite good, quite an altered state for brief windows, or getting a second wind even. You know, be really, really tired, no sleep, and then suddenly feeling fine for half an hour or an hour.”

“So all I really did, or what I was interested in, is making sense of that. And is it possible to exploit that and bring in combining techniques to tie the left side of the brain up, which initially doesn’t feel great, but the reward on the other side of that makes it worth the effort.”

Crazy, right? What a long time to stay awake. For Man Shares Effects After 11 Days, or 266 Hours, Awake: Part Two.