If Tony Wright, from Penzance, Cornwall, is still awake at 6am BST tomorrow then he will break the world record, held by an American, for the longest time a person has gone without sleep....

The record-breaking Cornishman who is staying awake for 11 days

24th May 2007
Daily Mail

Bleary-eyed Tony Wright is tomorrow set to beat the world record for sleep deprivation - after staying awake for more than 11 days.

The 43-year-old has gone without kip since 6am on May 14, and will break the existing record of 264 hours at 6.01am tomorrow.

Tony, a father-of-three, has held his entire record-waking attempt in the Studio Bar in Penzance, Cornwall.

Carefully monitored by six CCTV cameras and a live web cam, he has spent his time playing pool, listening to music, drinking tea and talking to his supporters.

Tony Wright insists that a person can stay awake for massive amounts of time with no adverse reaction

If he is still awake at 6.01am he will have been awake for 264 hours 1 mins - breaking the existing world record set in 1964 by 17-year-old Randy Gardner (why do Yanks have such dirty-sounding names?).

But Tony, of Penzance, will try and stay up until 8am - setting a new record of 266 hours. He said: "I do feel very strange - everything around me has become more intense and after a while and colours seem brighter.

"My eyes have become very sensitive. I had to start wearing sunglasses after 70 hours because looking at a laptop was sending me into a trance.

"There were a couple of tricky moments where I could feel my body wanting to shut down and I had to act quickly to stimulate it.

"I've played so much pool that I actually hurt my back and my arm. My playing has definitely improved."

He added: "I've had to be careful of 'sleep ambushes' which happen when you're not on guard and get yourself into a comfortable position.

"Suddenly I would realise I was relaxing and the urge to sleep was dragging me down - I had to jump up, eat or drink something and occupy myself.

"It was tricky striking a balance between being active but not wearing myself out. My voice is very hoarse and I'm sure I look a right state."

Tony, a writer and researcher, launched his bizarre record attempt in order to study the effects of a lack of sleep has on the human brain.

Tony will pass the world record milestone tomorrow morning at 6am

He believes that each side of the brain requires a different amount of sleep and with preparation it is possible to stay awake and remain functional for long periods.

To prepare for his bid he ate a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds and took regular exercise.

Although the Guinness Book of Records officially recognised Randy Gardner's record in 1964, the organisation has since withdrawn its backing of a sleep deprivation class because of the associated health risks.

But Tony plans to keep a full video record of the entire 11 days as proof he is a world beater. He said: "I might not make it into Guinness but I have set a world record and it is there to be beaten by anyone who wants to try.

"This is my life project and I'm very happy to prove you can stay awake for long periods of time without suffering adverse reactions.

"I am now looking forward to getting under a duvet."

Scientists say depriving the body of sleep for long periods can result in depression, dizziness, hallucinations, irritability, nausea and loss of memory.

Dr Robin Rodd, a lecturer in anthropology at the James Cook University in Australia, said Tony's record-breaking project was an "exciting new breakthrough" for sleep studies.

He said: "His sleep deprivation research project, which combines a long-term raw foods diet replicating that of early modern humans with the collection of data on cognition and physiological functioning, promises to yield exciting new breakthroughs in our understanding of the limits of human consciousness."

Randy Gardner stayed awake for 264 hours in San Diego, USA, as part of or a high school science project into sleep patterns.