Chinese Woman Claims She Hasn’t Slept in 40 Years

Chinese media recently reported the bizarre case of a woman who claimed that she hadn’t slept in about four decades but never felt tired or sleepy either.

Most people can’t go 24 hours without a little shut-eye, but Li Zhanying, a woman from Henan, China claimed to have gone 40 years without any sleep, a feat confirmed by her husband and their neighbors, some of whom actually put her to the test, only to fall asleep themselves. Li last remembered getting some sleep when she was five or six, but now in her mid-40s, sleep is nothing but an old memory.

A resident of a village in Zhongmou County, Henan Province, Li is somewhat of a local celebrity in her community, because of her alleged ability to stay up all through the day and the night, without so much as a 30-minute. A few years back, some of the neighbors tried putting her claims to the test by playing cards against her under the street light at night, but they eventually either went home or fell asleep right then and there, while she remained awake.

Li’s husband, Liu Suoquin, also confirmed that his wife didn’t seem to need any sleep at all. Ever since they got married, he noticed that she stayed awake night and day, doing chores around the house even in the dead of night. She kept telling him that she couldn’t sleep, so he blamed it on insomnia and bought her some sleeping pills. That didn’t think to work either.

According to Bastille Post, Li Zhanying sought medical help for her condition many times, but doctors never found anything suspicious. However, after recently visiting a medical center in Beijing, the mystery of her decades-old lack of sleep was finally solved. A team of doctors used advanced sensors to monitor the woman for 48 hours, and discovered that she did in fact sleep, just not the way most of us do.

Data gathered during the 48-hour brainwave monitoring showed that Li did get light and moderate sleep like ordinary people, only not while laying down in bed with her eyes closed, but while conversing with her husband. Doctors described this phenomenon as “sleep when awake,” a state similar to sleepwalking, where some of Li Zhanying’s nerves and organs are still active during sleep.

Doctors said that Li was actually deceived by her own brain. When she was resting, part of her body had already entered dormancy, but she didn’t have to close her yes to do so.  For example, when talking to her husband, Li Zhanying sometimes had slow eyeballs and hollow eyes, which indicated that she was resting during those mmoments.

Because of her unusual way of resting her body and brain, Li continues to believe that she has not slept in 40 years. She doesn’t spend more than 10 minutes with her eyes closed every day, so she’s technically right…

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