The World Record for Not Sleeping


In January 1964, Randy Gardner set a world record. He remained awake for 11 days and 25 minutes.

The 16-year old was monitored by a sleep researcher from Stanford University, a Lt Commander with the US Naval Medical Psychiatric Research Unit, and two of his fellow students.

By the second day, Randy couldn’t focus his eye and had to stop watching television. On day 3, he lost physical coordination. His monitors recorded on the 4th day that Randy was paranoid and hallucinating. He believed himself to be a black professional football player, and accused his own friends of being racists when told he had white skin.

On day 8, Gardner’s speech became slow and slurred, and the following day he was unable to speak in sentences. On the final day, he was suffering from body tremors, a heart murmur, his eyes rotated in their sockets, and he had no short-term memory. Researchers found hormonal changes, a rise in blood pressure, his body stopped processing glucose (sugar), body temperature dropped significantly, stress levels rose, and his immune system shut off.

Randy’s world record was attributed to his youth and outstanding physical and psychological health. Most adults cannot go more than 60 hours without sleep, and in a series of tests done at the University of Chicago on rats, found that sleeplessness contributes to death.

Others have tried and claimed to break Randy Gardner’s record. None of these attempts, however, have been monitored so meticulously by professionals.

The Bible says, He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:3-4).

For more than 4,000 years, despite being conquered, deported around the world, and persecuted to the point of annihilation, God has not dozed off, but has kept the nation of Israel as a distinct people group in the world.

God is not a created being constrained or contained by time or space. He does not rest nor sleep, so He is ever watchful, aware, and active in every detail of every event in your life.

Alexander the Great, the Greek general who conquered from Europe to India, Africa to Asia, was once asked how he slept so soundly despite being surrounded by constant danger. He replied that his faithful guard, Parmenio, was ever watchful over him.

Christian, you have One greater than Parmenio watching over you!

13 thoughts on “The World Record for Not Sleeping

    1. Great question. You’d think he’d have slept a week straight but he didn’t. When Gardner was done being examined, he slept 15 hours, was awake 23 hours, slept another10 hours, and was Then back to his usual sleep schedule. Thanks Gary.

      1. Wonderful post. I don’t know why anyone would put themselves through so much streas for a world record. Thank the Lord He does not rest or sleep. Praise the name of the Lord.

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