Peter Tripp, a radio DJ, kept himself up for 200 hours for charity and never fully recovered from it psychologically!
The year was 1959 and DJ Peter Tripp hosted “Your Hits of the Week.” The show launched a wake-a-thon for March of Dimes. Tripp stayed awake on air for 200 hours, which is over eight days. To keep the wake-a-thon legit and get attention for the cause, the radio station put a transparent broadcasting booth in Times Square.
Any New Yorker could walk by and watch and at the time, it was the longest period without sleep on record. Tripp did the stunt for the charity, but he also did it to help his career. The radio station hired a psychologist to monitor Tripp extensively. Tripp’s body temperature began to drop and he started to become paranoid. On the fourth day, Tripp ran into the street and staff had to chase him down and drag him back to the broadcasting booth. He was hearing voices and hallucinating.
On the last day, they monitored his brain and found that he was REM sleeping while awake and was essentially insane at that point. Amazingly, he was still able to do the show, but he thought he was an imposter of Peter Tripp, not the real Peter Tripp. After the wake-a-thon, he slept for 24 hours straight. He ended up having permanent personality changes that led to his divorce. He was accused of taking $36,050 in payola and was never a DJ again.