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Have you ever wondered how long you can go without sleeping? It is said that sleep is something that is really important, but what happens if you do not sleep? If you are confused about what is the Russian sleep experiment, simply it is an experiment that was believed to be done to answer all the above questions. 

It is not about staying awake for 2 to 3 hours but staying awake for a month. It remains one of the most infamous urban myths to circulate on the internet and many claim that the Russian sleep experiment never occurred. But is it really a myth or is it real?

What is the Russian sleep experiment? 

During the Soviet era, there was a group of scientists who wanted to find out the results of people with 30 sleepless nights and days.  During this time the researchers believe to have created a substance that raises the levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body which was capable of the soldiers sleepless for a long time. 

This experiment was taken place because every Nation like Germany, England, the USA, and many more were looking for ways to win World War II.  And for the  Soviet Union, the Russian sleep experiment was a strategic weapon. 

Russian sleep experiment

They decided to test it on human subjects and since it was during the World War there were plenty of War prisoners. 

The experiment was designed to run for 15 days by researchers and they thought it would be best to use it on their soldiers.  Five prisoners were chosen to do the experiment, and they were informed that they would be released once they had completed 30 days. 

They had prepared the gas chamber where the Airborne stimulant will be released,  but the soldiers were misinformed that it would make for 30 days within the gas chamber.  And so the soldiers agreed. 

A test area was set up where five subjects will stay. It was a sealed environment and they had a place to release the stimulant in gas form. They made sure to check if the levels of oxygen are fine.  

How the experiment was done? 

The soldiers who were made the subjects for the experiment were given dried food, beds without bedding,  running water, and a toilet.  The researchers listen to the subjects through a microphone and there were cameras to monitor them.  There were 5-inch thick glass windows, which are barely good enough to see a shadow.

First 3 days 

The scene was set and the five men seem to be in good spirits.  The gas started to do its job. The subjects agreed to try and stay awake for 30 days, and have been falsely informed that if they can make the 30 days they will get their freedom. And they found the deal to be fair enough.  The first three days were fine. 

The 4th day

But on the fourth day, things turned slightly to be dark. The soldiers started to discuss war and the horrors they have seen. They spoke about traumas, continual nightmares, and other ghastly things they had seen. 

The 5th day

On the fifth day, things got worst, and the men start showing signs of psychosis, talking to themselves and to things that are not there. They grow paranoid of each other and started to whisper into those microphones and told stories about the other subjects. Sleep deprivation can turn the mind of a person where they feel their hallucinations to be real and horrifying. Even though the researchers knew it, they were wondering whether is it because of the loss of sleep or the gas. 

9th day to 14th day

On day nine,  suspicions of the gas effects became more solid. A guy started screaming, running up and down the room, and howling like a banshee.  He screamed so much like tearing his vocal cords,  and after a few hours due to the scream, he squeaked like a children’s toy.

A few more days passed and the men were alive for sure because the oxygen levels indicated five breathing men. But there was silence and the men could not be seen by the cameras. The researchers did not know where those five men were. They did not want to interrupt the study but they felt they had no choice.

levels of soldiers in russian sleep experiment

They said into the intercom that they are going to test the microphones and wanted the five men to step away from the door and lie flat on the floor. And they warned that compliance will earn them immediate freedom. 

But they heard one voice responding, saying that “We no longer want to be freed.”

The researchers were confused and wondered whether they had been getting ripped on that gas and now got addicted. The researchers opened the vents and let fresh air displace the residual stimulant. A man screamed pleading for more of that fine gas. 

15th day

On the 15th day,  the doors were opened and to their surprise, they saw a man was dead. They found a gruesome discovery of the half-eaten man and the wounded survivors. On closer inspection, the researchers saw that the wounds on the men were very bad and they looked as if they might have been self-inflicted, too.

They had torn the skin and muscles from their own chests, revealing the horrific sight of the men’s lungs. it seemed that each of them performed this surgery on themselves. Blood vessels were removed and they found other internal organs laid out on the floor like a piece of art. The men were going to eat those morsels, dining on their own bodies enthusiastically.

The researchers did not know what to do, and so-called for backup, as they did not want to go near the poor wretches. the men were howling and pleading for that gas to come back. Soldiers arrived to help remove the subjects, but the process was not that simple.

They refused to leave the chamber and fought back with the force aggressively. They were almost superhuman in their power and tore off their muscle and bones during the struggle to avoid being removed from the chamber. One of the men ripped a soldier’s throat right out while another soldier had his balls removed. Five soldiers who came to help those men lost their lives, while some of the victims took their own lives after the incident.

What happened after the Russian sleep experiment? 

The subjects were taken out, and the doctors injected morphine into them to sedate a Canadian moose, but still, they were fighting like wild beasts. One subject bled out and his heart stopped beating, but he still carried on screaming, asking for the gas. A doctor got his bones broken.

Three other soldiers were eventually sedated and strapped and moved to a secure facility. Surviving prisoners continue to show extreme strength and incredible resistance to drugs and sedatives. They had the ability to remain alive even after lethal injuries.  They had a desperate desire to remain awake and wanted the stimulant gas again.

The surgeons were working on putting the missing organs back in man, but he almost broke through his restraints.  The doctor finally got the anesthetic into him,  and then the man’s heart stopped, and died right on the spot. It was shown on the autopsy Becky had broken nine bones and muscles were toned all over his body. 

The researchers noticed that when any subject falls asleep, they instantly die, so they tried to fix up the next man but didn’t want to use an anesthetic.

They patched him up and sewed up his ruptured organs and lay skins. The head surgeon said this man should not be alive after what he has gone through. A nurse said that during the surgery, the man had been smiling at her. The man suddenly started making a wheezing sound, as if to say something. The nurse handed him a pen and held a pad below it. He wrote, “Keep cutting.”

During the body reconstruction of another man, he laughed like a hyena and said that he wanted that gas as he wanted to stay awake. 

what is the Russian sleep experiment

The surviving three were treated forget injuries and prepare to return to the gas chamber. the EGG monitor showed a shocking discovery that each test subject was brain dead and it was the gas weapon the Soviet Union developed that messed with the human mind. 

Just before the chamber was sealed,  another prisoner fell asleep and died. And the researcher shot another one dead. Before shooting the last surviving prisoner, they asked him what he was.  He said that he identify himself as the evil that lived in every human mind and this was kept in check by sleep.  Then the researcher shot him dead and went about covering up any trace of the experiment. 

Is the Russian Sleep Experiment real?

The truth is that this experiment did not actually take place but was totally made up. When it first appeared on the internet, it instantly went viral and people started to debate the possibility of the story.  And even the debate continues to date.  The reason why it is so believable is to have a good night that the military during the Soviet era was known to be inhuman and they had conducted various experiments in secret, but this one, however, is mostly believed to be a made-up story. 

Everyone was confused on what is the Russian sleep experiment when it first appeared on a Wiki Page in 2010. It was an Internet Horror Story with an unknown author but with the username orange soda.  Even the pictures of the Russian sleep experiment found on the internet are said to be modified versions of random browser generation images. 

This is called Creepypasta and is meant to scare readers.  And so the Russian sleep experiment is said to be one such Creepypasta they became popular making people believe it to be true.  But it was assured that nothing of that sort took place. 

Experiments by Soviet Russia

The Soviet Union was indeed behind a number of secret scientific experiments that began in the early 1900s and continued till the Soviets broke apart in the late 1980s.  Most of them were conducted by the Soviet Secret services which was an intelligence branch of the Soviet military.  Some of them were disturbing and unethical human experiments. 

One of the most infamous scientific experiments done was the poison Laboratory which was a secret research facility developed by a professor of Medicine  Ignatii Kazakov and headed by lieutenant general Pavel Sudoplatov. The purpose was to test various kinds of poisons that were developed with the intention of attacking the west. 

Human experiments were done there and the subjects were mostly political prisoners.  The goal was to find a colorless, odorless poison that could not be detected even after a person died.  Most victims died instantly. And this  Laboratory was a place where the supposed enemies of  Russia were brought to be  executed with deadly poisons

Although they don’t seem creepy like the Russian sleep experiment, they were actually real and terrified. 

Real Sleep experiment 

There were real sleep experiments where people went more than a week without sleep to enter the Guinness Book of Records. Back in 1964, Randy Gardner, who was a high school student from California stayed awake for 11 continuous days to enter the Guinness Book of Records. 

But the young man suffered from poor concentration, slurred speech, foggy memory, dizziness, and hallucinations. But did not exhibit any of the horrifying behaviors of the Russian sleep experiment subjects.  After the project, he slept for 14 hours at a stretch and woke up feeling normal but he could not enter the Guinness Book of Records because he missed the submission deadline.

The longest continuous period of wakefulness was by Maureen Weston of England who went without sleep for 18 days in 1977 as part of a rocking chair marathon.  She still holds the record to this date. But Guinness removed this category because they did not want to encourage such risky experiments.

Final thoughts

Lack of sleep can cause many health disorders but it doesn’t cause any of the behaviors depicted in the Russian sleep experiment.  This experiment the said to be a myth it doesn’t mean that you should not attempt it. sleep is really important and every adult should get at least seven hours of sleep every night.

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