Sleep is important because it plays a major role in our physical health such as healing and repairing our heart, blood vessels, and overall body regeneration. It is as important as eating healthy and exercising. Although sometimes we experience sleeplessness or insomnia due to stress, working night shifts, or traveling, we eventually find ways on how to get our normal sleeping patterns back. However, there are some people whose cases of insomnia went beyond normal. Here are the stories of the people who never sleep.
Al Herpin was an American who claimed to have developed a rare case of insomnia where he wasn’t able to sleep for ten years. The cause for this phenomenon is unknown, however, they linked it to his mother who suffered an injury before giving birth to him. His claim attracted some medical professionals and they’ve visited his home for inspection. They’ve found no bed or any other furniture for sleeping. All they saw was a rocking chair where Herpin would rest by reading a newspaper before returning to work. Despite his lack of sleep, he was in good health and has a high level of awareness. He also did not suffer any discomfort from his condition. He died on January 3, 1947, at the age of 94. It is said that no other person with insomnia has lived for that long period of time. In Al Herpin’s case, it seems that he died for a different reason and not because of sleep deprivation. He was then known as “The Man Who Never Slept”.
Thai Ngoc is a 64-year-old Vietnamese insomniac who claimed to be awake for 33 years. It is said that after he had a fever in 1973, he couldn’t sleep anymore. What’s surprising about this is that he does not experience any negative effects, not even the effects of sleep deprivation such as fatigue and loss of concentration. He even managed to carry two 50-kilogram sacks of pig feed down a 4-kilometer road every day. However, in October 2006, he stated that he began feeling like a plant without water due to his lack of sleep.
Ines Fernandez is a Spanish woman who is also known to have never slept. In the 1970s she claimed that she had not slept for 30 years. According to her, she lost her sleep in the summer of 1943 when she suddenly yawned, and an intense pain went through her head. Since then, she had never slept even after consulting many doctors and taking sleeping pills and medicines.
Michael Corke was a music teacher. He slept fine until his 40th birthday in 1991 when his trouble sleeping began. After a few weeks from his birthday, his sleeplessness became worse causing his health to weaken. It had eventually lead to total insomnia where he could not sleep at all. After consulting with some doctors, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, however, insomnia is not a symptom of it. The doctors couldn’t detect any reason why he couldn’t sleep. Sleeping pills only made his case worse. Unfortunately, he died after six months and his condition turned out to be Fatal Familial Insomnia which is caused by prion disease. It is a disease that triggers the proteins in the brain to fold abnormally. It can be acquired by eating meat infected by “mad cow disease” which is one type of prion disease. It is an illness that exists in both animals and humans. It can also be a cause of having dementia.
John Alan Jordan
John Alan Jordan worked as a laboratory assistant in a dairy company in England. After a few months, he lost his temper in the lab and decided to not follow the safety procedures. He retrieved plastic milk bottles without wearing any gloves, and this exposed him to some chemicals. He worked this way for several weeks, but he then began feeling more tired than usual and he eventually fell ill for two years. After his recovery, his memory had deteriorated but his brain scans show normal results. When he consulted a psychiatrist, he was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder. His condition became worse and sleeping pills no longer worked for him. He can only enable his brainwaves to slow down and his body to relax, but it’s not a substitute for sleep. He is only 40 years old but already suffers from dementia.
Peter Tripp is a DJ from New York who is famous for setting a world record of staying awake for 201 hours which is 8.4 days. He stayed in a hotel room where scientists monitored him. In three days, he started laughing hysterically at nothing, became upset, confused, and paranoid. He also began hallucinating, like seeing insects, mice, and kittens around the room. He eventually became psychotic. He started looking for non-existent money and he even accused a technician of hurting him. When he reached his target, he was made to stay awake by some doctors for an hour and they did more tests to him. After the experiment, he suffered from moodiness and depression causing him to fight with his boss and he got fired from his job. He also had four divorces that made people believe that the experiment changed him permanently.
The stories of these individuals are truly extraordinary. Not sleeping for many years seemed impossible but these people proved that it can happen. Their experiences show that sleeping is really a significant part of our lives and losing it might cause sleep disorders.