Russian scientists held five people awake 30 days: They didn’t expect that this will happen

Sleep is absolutely one of the vital parts of our lives. Those crucial hours of sleep overnight give us strength to “spend” the day and because of that, the lack of sleep often results in consequences to physical and mental condition in humans.

When a team of Russian scientists set up an experiment and tried to keep people awake five weeks, the results they received were at least eerie.

In the late 40s of the last century, five persons who were considered enemies of the state by the Soviet government, were chosen to participate in the experiment for lack of sleep. The aim was to use small doses of an experimental gas that eliminated the need for sleep in humans.


Subjects were kept indoors for researchers to not be exposed to the gas, and the prisoners had only microphones by which they can communicate. They received books, neat toilet and drinking water, and enough food for a month.

The first three days everything went according to plan, and the prisoners were given a false promise that if they cooperate and do not sleep “only” 30 days will be released. Given that conversations were recorded, scientists noticed that the prisoners openly beginning to talk about the trauma they had in life. After four days, the talks became darker.

After the fifth day, the prisoners began to have paranoia and complained about some decisions that they take throughout life. Instead of talking to each other, they began to whisper to their microphones. Apparently they thought they could win the confidence of researchers if they reveal the secrets of other prisoners.

After the 10th day they began to howl. Exactly three hours, an inmate ran around the room and scream constantly. Once the voice began to wane, he continued to give his best, but later the vocal cords did not withstand and have torn. Even those prisoners who survived they have missing parts of skin or wounds that they caused to themselves, and even the most experienced Russian soldiers were afraid to approach.

Major violations occurred when the soldiers tried to rescue the living prisoners, and one of them was killed in the process. When they have been asked why they behave like this, almost all answered: “I have to stay awake.”

Soon, the soldiers had to shoot the prisoners. The only prisoner who was not shot and survived, was asked by scientists – “What are you?”.

“Do you forget so easily?”, he answered with a question and smiled. “We are you.” The scientist then shot the prisoner’s heart. While the prisoner was dying, he uttered his last words: “So close to freedom.”