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89 Year Old Turkish Man Hasn’t Slept in 55 Years

Mehmet Inanc

A lot of people are facing difficulties sleeping, which is also called an insomnia (hard to fall asleep or staying asleep, even when someone has the time for it). Some researches suggest that over 68 percent of adults aged from 18 to 29 report symptoms of insomnia, adults aged from 30 to 64 with 59 percent and only 44 percent of people over the age of 65 report problems. But the story of a Turkish man named Mehmet İnanç, 89 years old, who suffers from sleep disorder that apparently has no cure is a totally different one.

While most of us sleep, Mehmet is up, reading, solving crosswords, watching TV – he hasn’t closed an eye for 55 years. He was first diagnosed as what is called a chronic insomnia in the year of 1960 and since then no professional doctor was able to help him get some sleep. Over time he got used to it and İnanç isn’t taking this as illness any more – I guess everybody adapts to anything when it’s needed.

Doctors have been puzzling and trying to solve his extreme insomnia for 55 years without success. Turkish doctors have been studying his odd case of insomnia to that extent that they put him in an observation room to see when he would finally fall asleep, but that didn’t happen it was vice-versa as he watched nurses and doctors fall asleep while observing him. What’s more hard to understand is that before his illness, at the age of around 24, occurred he was a heavy sleeper and over the time he tried a lot of different medications, even hypnosis without any real progress.

Even after he fractured his foot last year and as he was in an operating room and they administrated him narcotics thinking that would bring him out, he still didn’t go to sleep. He was awake and aware all the time during the procedure, as doctors even said he was talking with them while they were operating his foot.

While most people over 60 years don’t feel the need to sleep as much as younger people (3 hours is enough for some) as they don’t get tired as easily as younger folks. A professor of neurology, Gazi Özdemir, explained that İnanç “sleeps” for 5-10 minutes during day-time naps (which he is not aware of as his eyes are opened all the time) and that eliminates any need for his night sleeps.

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  • charliep

    Interesting. I reside in my ninth decade and rarely sleep more then four hours a night. My Doctor tells me at my age that is enough and quite common in older people. I do get tired and lay down for an afternoon sleep , that rarely last even an hour. It doesn’t seem to matter what time I go to bed at night; no matter what I am usually awake in about four hours. My Doctor prescribed some sleeping pills which put me to sleep rapidly , but I am wide awake in four hours. Now then I do not take my sleeping pill before going to bed, but if I am a wake at two o’clock in the morning and would like to get some more sleep, I take my sleeping pill which does put me to sleep which may last anywhere from two hours to four or five hours. Most of the time I just get up and start up my computer and drink several cups of coffee.. I have even resorted to taking a sleeping pills for an afternoon nap, which normally only last for a couple of hours at the most Ageing does not demand more sleep, but less. I always thought that it was the other way around as you got older you would require more sleep. It turns out to be just the opposite.