DO WE REALLY NEED SLEEP OR IS IT AN EVOLUTIONARY HANGOVER?

Some researchers have suggested that humans don’t actually need sleep to function or survive. They argue that it’s just something left over from times when we Hunter gatherers & sleep server the function of keeping us hidden & still, away from predators for a set period each night.

Peter Tripp, an American DJ, put this to the test in 1959 when he attempted to stay awake for 201 straight hours & broadcast continually from a glass box in Times Square.

He was observed by scientists & doctors throughout & initially seemed to be coping well. However, by day three he was hallucinating (e.g. he thought there were spiders in his shoes) & brain wave patterns mirrored those of REM sleep. Scientists concluded that he was experiencing dreams whilst awake.

Tripp completed the experiment & afterwards slept for 13 hours straight. Friends & family commented that he was never the same afterwards & suffered because of the experiment. Not long after he lost his job, became divorced & eventually became a travelling salesman.

Is this experiment relevant today?

What can it tell us?