A Teen Stayed Awake For 11-Straight Days — Here’s What Happened

In a memorable episode of Nickelodeon’s brilliant The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Little Pete tries to stay awake for 11-straight days, believing bedtimes to be a sinister plan devised by the International Adult Conspiracy. Every kid has that moment where they think they don’t need sleep, believing that something amazing would reveal itself if they could stay up until 2 a.m. Nope, it’s just bad television and worse decisions, and you end up feeling like a zombie the next morning. Little Pete’s goal is actually based on something that happened in real life to then-16-year-old Randy Gardner.

In 1964, the high school student refused to sleep for 11 days and 24 minutes, or 264 hours, without using any stimulants, a world record. Two days in, he was a mess; five days in, he was a paranoid android, with an “expressionless appearance, speech slurred and without intonation; had to be encouraged to talk to get him to respond at all,” according to findings in the Psychiatric Times. He was forgetful, and paranoid, and “found it difficult to identify objects based purely on touch.” In other words, don’t stay awake for 11 days.

Not even Artie, the Strongest Man… in the World could pull it off. This video on the effects of sleep deprivation, from TED-Ed, will show you why.

(Via Science Alert)