The Man Who Never Slept



When our lives get so busy that the eight or so hours we spend horizontally seem like a waste of time, we might have wondered what it would be like if we didn’t need sleep. While some people claim to only need a few hours of sleep per night, it’s doubtful that anyone exists who doesn’t sleep at all. However, in the late 1800s, there lived a man who claimed just that. Albert Herpin, of Trenton, New Jersey, was born shortly after his mother was injured in a carriage accident. The doctors believed the accident affected the newborn, who never seemed to close his eyes. Assuming that lack of sleep wouldn’t allow him to thrive, they predicted he wouldn't live more than a week. Herpin, however, lived to the ripe old age of 96. Despite the lifelong lack of shuteye, he was healthy and strong. He had perfect eyesight, never had a cavity, and never even required medical assistance until he suffered a minor leg injury. To prove his sleeplessness was real, he was persuaded by doctors and scientists to allow them to study his habits. They observed him night and day for two straight weeks and reported that he never slept and they never even saw him doze off briefly. Until 1947, Herpin made daily stops at a local deli to pick up newspapers and buy his favorite meal of canned fish, crackers, and fruit. When the shopkeeper noticed he hadn’t stopped in for several days, they notified police, who found that he had taken ill. Herpin died several days later at the hospital. According to the doctors and nurses at Mercer Hospital who cared for him during his last days, Albert Herpin didn't fall asleep one time until he finally drifted into eternal slumber.