Sleep is something exceptionally important for a person's health. Through sleep our bodies are given a chance to rest, to sort of reset all of the processes and begin working anew in the morning with full force. In practice, the need for sleep is so great that it even surpasses hunger.
Often people may wonder how long they can last without sleep and whether they can die from a lack thereof.
The official record for the longest time a person has ever gone without sleep belongs to the American teenager Randy Gardner, who remained awake for 264 hours or about 11 days.
Randy's record has never been officially broken, perhaps due to the fact that Guinness refuses to register records that put a person's health at risk.
When it comes to dying - the truth is you can't die from lack of sleep. Once the body reaches its limits, the brain simply shuts down and the person falls soundly asleep, almost like a forced time for a break.
Many torturers from the ancient and not so distant past, who have used insomnia as an interrogation technique, have also been convinced of this phenomenon. The 1st to use it were the ancient Romans, who called the torture tormentum vigiliae.
Keeping a person forcefully awake, as a torture method, was also used by the Inquisition during the Middle Ages, the Nazis and Japanese during World War II and even by the Americans in Guantanamo Bay.
And even though it is exceptionally painful, insomnia is not fatal. Unless of course we're talking about the rare disease called fatal familial insomnia, which has been diagnosed in about 40 families worldwide.