Peter Tripp, a radio DJ, decided to stay awake for 200 hours, broadcasting his regular show at its regular time, as a publicity stunt. Officially, it was a charity drive for the March Of Dimes; Tripp would sit out in a booth in Times Square, and people could pledge money to the cause. It was also a valuable scientific opportunity — knowing that the stunt would take stimulants to stay awake, and knowing that it could be dangerous, the station contacted sleep researchers to monitor Tripp and keep him awake. Researchers took shifts, sitting with Tripp both to make sure he wasn’t in physical danger and to keep him from sleeping.
Amazingly, most of the way through the ordeal, Tripp was able to do his show fairly well. He pulled himself together to keep the DJ patter going. Outside of the show, he deteriorated. After about a hundred hours of wakefulness, Tripp was no longer able to get through simple math problems or recite the alphabet. After 120 hours, he began having hallucinations. He walked into a nearby hotel room to shower and change, and, when he opened a chest of drawers for his clothes, saw flames shooting out of the open drawer. At first he thought that the scientists had set the fire, trying to prank him or make him drop out of the contest. Then he began believing the scientists were in a conspiracy against him, and wanted to frame him for a crime. When one scientist, a stuffy dresser, came up to him, Tripp believed that the man was an undertaker come to bury him, and ran away into the street. –Esther Ingliss-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where sleep deprivation drives the plot.

Journaling Prompt: How do you react when you don’t get enough sleep?

Art Prompt: Sleep deprivation

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the importance of sleep and the health effects of chronic sleep deprivation.

Photo Credit: Mahmut on Flickr

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