A bleary-eyed researcher who normally sleeps like a log went to bed yesterday claiming a world record after staying awake for more than 11 days and nights.
But when Tony Wright, 43, finally regains wakefulness today after catching up on his sleep, he could be in for a cruel awakening. The human guinea pig will discover that he may have given up ten hours too early to claim the crown.
The record that he broke – of 11 days, or 264 hours – was set by Randy Gardner, an American, in 1964 and is recognised in psychiatric textbooks.
But that is 12 hours shorter than the record which used to be included in The Guinness Book of Recordsbefore being removed from the book in 1989. It was deleted on the grounds that it could encourage records harmful to health and was unverifiable because of the claims of insomnia sufferers.
The Guinness previous record was for 11½ days, or 276 hours, and was set by Toimi Soini in Hamina, Finland, between February 5 to 15, 1964.