The average adult spends about 25 years of his or her lifetime asleep. Let’s just let that sink in for a minute before I tell you there was one man in history who forewent all that sleep.

Sobify reported that a Hungarian man named Paul Kern spent 40 years of his life without even once going to sleep until the time he died.

First To Know

Kern served as a government official on the Eastern Front in World War I in 1915. In the line of duty, he was shot in the head – the bullet piercing through his cranium and causing serious damage to his frontal lobe.

After being rescued, Kern received treatment in Lemberg and regained consciousness after the bullet was removed. From that point on, until his death in 1955, the man did not sleep a wink.

The bullet destroyed a part of Kern’s frontal lobe as shown in the diagram below.


His curious condition made him the subject of several intense tests by brain and nerve specialists throughout Europe, but none could ever trace the trace just why his body no longer needed sleep.

“From the moment Mr Kern opened his eyes in Lemberg he did not slept; nor, indeed, did he express the slightest desire to do so.”
Zac Crocker

Apart from the occasional headache, Kern’s brain mysteriously did not require sleep as an essential form of rest – seeing as his work as a government administrator, which he continued doing after the incident, was never affected.

More than the lack of sleep, he reported that the many hours he spent awake in bed trying to lure sleep in, exhausted him more than staying awake.

Alzheimer’s 24×7

Later, Kern began a routine of laying down and closing his eyes for 2 hours every day.

While he was completely alert and responsive during this time, experts think his brain was able to rest sufficiently for him to function seamlessly for the remainder of his active hours.

Pretty bizarre, right? Well, I mean no insensitivity to the tragedy that Paul Kern met, but it would undeniably be a whole other life if we had the choice to forego sleep altogether! Imagine the possibilities!