A 54-year-old man, from New Barnet, North London, hasn’t slept a full night for nearly 50 years.
Watch the man who hasn’t slept a full night for nearly 50 years
Neil Epstein sleeps an average of 20 minutes a night and can go without sleep for as much as 48 hours at a time.
Neil, who is a retail worker, said: “I rarely sleep more than 20 minutes at a time. If I’m lucky I’ll get an hours sleep a night and at least one night a week I go without sleep entirely. Sometimes it can be 48 hours at a time.”
“I’d say on average I get about 10 hours sleep a week and I can be awake for 36 hours.”
Neil says his insomnia has actually been a blessing for him in a lot of ways as he was able to learn how to play the piano, write poetry and short stories, make his own art and learn French due to the condition.
He said: “It’s given me many opportunities, whereas most people don’t have the time. I’m always there for people when they need to call me at 3am, and it’s allowed me to write my own poetry and music.”
“So if anyone ever says to me ‘oh dear, how sad’ I say no, it’s an advantage and it’s been a blessing.”
Neil first started experiencing insomnia when he was just six. But, he was diagnosed with it when he was twelve.
Neil says he has always been private about the condition and it took him months to tell his wife. However, his condition doesn’t have a negative impact on their relationship.
He said it was hard while he was first diagnosed with it and he would become frustrated sometimes. But, he started feeling his condition is actually a blessing when he grew up.
He said: “At parties I was always the last person to leave which was always an advantage so I always had more energy than most. Despite all the frustration I was very, very happy.”
“I remember being in a nightclub and dancing all night before starting work at 6am and going straight in and I felt as right as rain. I always had a good time because I knew I didn’t have to worry about getting home to get sleep.”
It turned out to be beneficial for his kids as well as he used to look after them at night while they slept peacefully.
He said: “I’m just carrying on, this is my life and the way that I exist and I’ve always got a smile on my face.”
“I don’t mind the lack of sleep, it’s just something I tolerate very well after all these years.”
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