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What's the longest you've ever stayed awake?
Old 10-04-2009, 06:44 PM   #1
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What's the longest you've ever stayed awake?

<without drugs!>

DH had an unusual work assignment last night. He's a field engineer which means periodically going to sites where he has a project to get things installed (this is my generic description of what he does). Anyways, he is currently working on a project at a data center, and they don't want to risk running operations on a generator any other time than the middle of the night.

So, he can't make himself nap yesterday and just plows through, working from 9:30 p.m. last night until 10 a.m. this morning. He took a 10 minute nap today, but otherwise, he is wide awake still! Essentially, he's been up for 36 hours straight and seems perfectly fine.

I would definitely be crashed out by now. I have no tolerance for not sleeping, and I have no idea how he is doing this. How long can you stay awake before you crash and burn?
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:52 PM   #2
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Not very long at all, any more. For one thing, I have no reason to stay up. During the Katrina evacuation I was up for about 40 hours, I suppose, though I tried unsuccessfully to take a nap for a couple of hours.

When I was young and in college, about 84 hours once with the assistance of massive quantities of coffee. I don't recommend it.
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:56 PM   #3
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As an adult - about 40 hours, but there was a 4-hour nap in there.

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Old 10-04-2009, 07:00 PM   #4
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68 hours, although if you count caffeine as a drug I'm disqualified. This was back in the early 90s, when I was still a youngster in my late 30s. We had a major data center fire, the whole building burned down, and disaster recovery was a disaster. I may have dropped off for a couple of minutes here and there leaning against a wall or something, but if so I didn't notice.

Blew that number away back in college, but was definitely disqualified on that one.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:12 PM   #5
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One of the things I detested about my training (especially as an intern) were rotations where you would start, say, Monday, be awake virtually all night with emergencies til Tuesday, and get to go home Tues night late, so that's maybe 30 to 36 hours. Bad enough, but then you got to do it again two days later for a month or more.

For me it was crushing - I would lose focus, get distracted, doze off dangerously at times, and after a week or so, be unable to meaningfully relate to my family because I was so tired. Those hours are not longer allowed by law (at least in some states) nor by accreditation boards. It was a stupid idea then, and still is.

No wonder the CIA uses sleep deprivation as an "interrogation technique."
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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Cumulative sleeplessness: Finals Week, 2nd semester of 3rd year of college. Exams in 1 Physics, 1 Calc, and 3 Geology courses in 4 days, all 200 and 300 level with labs to write up. Plus...WorkStudy labs at night and grading papers for profs.
No Doz was a girlz best friend. I think I got about 4 hours restless sleep per night, maybe. Slept 2 normal nights, then drove to Florida in 3 days. I arrived at my Mom's new rented house, and crashed for 1 day.
Ah...to be 19 again.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:19 PM   #7
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52 hours, and it included 3 combat sorties and 3 combat support sorties. It was a very long tine!
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:21 PM   #8
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Back in the 90s when I was in my 30s I had multiple 48 plus hours at work without leaving when we had plant down issues. Eventually I received the funds to do a network upgrade and ended that problem!

Thankfully even though I was a Senior Engineer at the time I was eligible for overtime and if it was a Sunday it was double time! That was the good old days of automotive pay and benies. No longer the case even at the transplants where I worked. Over course what was left after taxes went into the retirement fund and really helped the FIRE date.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:22 PM   #9
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52 hours, and it included 3 combat sorties and 3 combat support sorties. It was a very long tine!

WOW. That's incredible!
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:25 PM   #10
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Thankfully even though I was a Senior Engineer at the time I was eligible for overtime and if it was a Sunday it was double time! That was the good old days of automotive pay and benies. No longer the case even at the transplants where I worked. Over course what was left after taxes went into the retirement fund and really helped the FIRE date.
Double time on Sunday's still exists for DH! Makes the extra hours extra palatable! (easy for me to say)
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less stuff, more time

(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:46 PM   #11
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Age 24, USAF aircrew survival school. ~60 hours with no sleep, no drugs, no food and definitely no coffee. Starting somewhere around 48 hours I did have some interesting hallucinations...
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:49 PM   #12
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Age 24, USAF aircrew survival school. ~60 hours with no sleep, no drugs, no food and definitely no coffee. Starting somewhere around 48 hours I did have some interesting hallucinations...

Man, that sounds so intense!
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less stuff, more time

(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:51 PM   #13
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About 48 hours. I did it a few times in various "battle management" (frequently a misnomer!) jobs when others were doing the battlin. I could probably do it again today, if I were starting well rested.

What hurts is doing the crazy long hours for weeks or months at a time. I would gradually get less effective, but then hit steady state. The sleep becomes very "efficient"--I suspect you go right into REM when you are seriously sleep deprived. Nope, I never felt totally well rested after 4 hours, but it was all that could be afforded and "good enough."

Personal symptoms of long term sleep deprivation:
Vision: colors appear "washed out"
Motor: Occassional involuntary "shakes" (??what's that about??)
Mood: General growth of pessimistic outlook, depression. Easy to shake once you know what it is ("Oh, I'm short of sleep. This happens all the time. Things will look better after some shuteye." And, they DO look better).

I will not be surprised if it is determined that doing this long term results in permanent damage to cognitive ability and bodily systems.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:51 PM   #14
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68 hours, although if you count caffeine as a drug I'm disqualified. This was back in the early 90s, when I was still a youngster in my late 30s. We had a major data center fire, the whole building burned down, and disaster recovery was a disaster. I may have dropped off for a couple of minutes here and there leaning against a wall or something, but if so I didn't notice.

Blew that number away back in college, but was definitely disqualified on that one.

Brutal. Man, I am I such a wimp!
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(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:56 PM   #15
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One of the things I detested about my training (especially as an intern) were rotations where you would start, say, Monday, be awake virtually all night with emergencies til Tuesday, and get to go home Tues night late, so that's maybe 30 to 36 hours. Bad enough, but then you got to do it again two days later for a month or more.
For me it was crushing - I would lose focus, get distracted, doze off dangerously at times, and after a week or so, be unable to meaningfully relate to my family because I was so tired. Those hours are not longer allowed by law (at least in some states) nor by accreditation boards. It was a stupid idea then, and still is.
No wonder the CIA uses sleep deprivation as an "interrogation technique."
At sea on my first submarine I used to stay up 40-48 hours every couple of months. Inspections, weird watchbill/drillset rotations, a nasty material problem, whatever crisis at hand demanded it. Plenty of caffeine. I'd sleep a hard eight hours afterward but usually no other aftereffects. If I was awakened during that eight hours, though, I'd be very unpredictable. Shipmates used to threaten blackmail with documents I'd "signed" during those wakeups.

On my second submarine it'd usually be 36-40 hours at the end of the underway. On that final day we'd be up all day "maximizing training" and then up all evening trying to fix the stuff that we broke when we were maximizing training. By the end of the repairs it'd be 2-3 AM, time for me to help surface the sub and take the surfaced OOD watch. We'd get inport around 9 AM, just in time to start a Navy workday where I'd clear my IN box for max liberty. I'd get home that evening pretty wiped out, but it only happened every month or so.

During the second year of this inport idiocy, one night I was in the hot tub with spouse and dozed off in the middle of a conversation. We decided that I shouldn't stay up for more than 24 hours anymore. Unfortunately we'd also decided to start a family, so a few months later sleep was once again a luxury...

The worst 36 hours of my life were as inport duty officer in Subic Bay, RP during the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. One freakin' equipment or personnel crisis after another, and pretty much the entire crew was awake for the whole thing. We determined that collective decision-making capability rolls off steeply after the first 24 hours.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:11 PM   #16
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Around 36 hours. I do it routinely when I fly to Europe. That's about my limit though. After 30 hours, it becomes hard to keep my eyes open if I stay still for more than 1 minute. And driving becomes a scary proposition.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:49 PM   #17
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To be honest, I don't remember exactly what my longest period without sleep is...somewhere north of 48 hours. During aircrew survivability training back in the 90s I went for a week without food (except for a rabbit that my small group cooked and ate) and almost no sleep. Because we were constantly being chased/tracked, I had to go for long periods without any sleep at all and, when I did get to sleep, it was never longer than 2 or 3 hours at a time.

What that experience, as well as others, has taught me is that 1) I do not like going without sleep and 2) I don't function nearly as well when I'm sleep deprived.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:11 PM   #18
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When I was young, 30, maybe 36 hours. In my 6th decade, I can manage about 24 if absolutely necessary. Driving, no more than 12 hours these days and then only with care.

After my time in the Army, 40 years ago, I can take 5 minute deep-sleep catnaps when needed. I also do not need an alarm clock to wake me, ever. The impact of the drill sergeant entering the barracks 10 seconds before 05:00 has stayed with me to this day.

I need much less sleep than when I was young, but I cannot stay awake any longer than I could then.

I would not have Rich's job. I could not be responsible for lives under such conditions, even my own.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:22 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=Nords;861691 We determined that collective decision-making capability rolls off steeply after the first 24 hours.[/QUOTE]

Youbetcha. I got up from my 4-hour nap and had to spar at 5 a.m. as part of an upper-level black belt test. No caffeine. Thank g-d for deeply-ingrained reflexes, because the front-brain wasn't up yet.

I know who of my promotion group snores! (That's you, Alvin, on the other side of the dojo with the guys. Sawing wood, with a chainsaw. I had earplugs, the guys didn't think to bring any...)

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Old 10-04-2009, 09:25 PM   #20
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I will have to calculate....

Wake up 7 am go to school... 17 hours on Friday..

Stay up all day sat.. all day Sun.. another 48...

go to school Monday... get home at 3:30.. stay awake a few hours.. say 8 PM.. 20 more...

SO... mine is 85 hours... OH, and BTW, I was playing in a chess tournament on the weekend that went the whole weekend, around the clock...
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