Why Did Photographer Tyler Shields Stay Awake For 40 Days?

Los Angeles Photographer Tyler Shields
Los Angeles Photographer Tyler Shields

In the “what-the-hell-ever-compelled-you” news, Los Angeles photographer Tyler Shields, so desperate for publicity, or hallucinations, or both, that he claims to have stayed wide awake for a solid 40 days straight. That would be a record if Guinness acknowledged it, but it’s not, given the stunt’s difficulty to prove.

Some witnesses say he acted hungover after his first 6-hour bout of sleep post-challenge. Shields makes sure to note in an interview, “I don’t drink, so I wouldn’t know.” How convenient, methinks, that he makes no mention of stimulants, illicit or otherwise.

You can find extended excerpts from his post-mortem interview below, though it doesn’t get much deeper than a confession of wanting to be unique and claim bragging rights. C’mon, Tyler! Have you learned nothing in this exhibitionist age where publicity doesn’t require sacrificing precious snoozetime?? Plunge into an icy lake or smoke a stogie and make yourself noticed! Hey — no one ever got their own meme from not sleeping.

Advantages Of Not Sleeping?

What’s the best part of not sleeping for 40 days? According to Tyler Shields, who claims he set a world record by staying awake for 968 consecutive hours, it’s the fact that no one will ever complain about being tired when they’re around you. “Nobody will be like, ‘I’m exhausted,’ ” “They just can’t say that to me anymore.”


Earlier this week, Shields says he completed his sleep-deprivation marathon, overcoming fevers, headaches, eye pain and even the loss of feeling in his legs to last more than a month without a wink of shut-eye.

Guinness World Records Won’t Recognize The Stunt

Though Guinness World Records officials say they won’t recognize his stunt because it’s so difficult to prove and so dangerous to try, Shields believes he more than doubled existing sleep-related records.

“It’s important for people to do things and believe in things that may seem impossible,” said the sleepless photographer. “Just because someone tells you something is impossible, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.” “I wanted to challenge myself,” he told AOL News. “A lot of people said it was impossible. A lot of people said I would never make it 40 days. Well, I did.” In fact, Tyler Shields says he made it 40 days and eight hours.

It Was Like Being Drunk

Even though he had been awake for so long, falling asleep wasn’t easy — and neither was waking up. “I slept six hours and when I woke up, it took me 15 minutes to put my pants on,” he said. “I was stumbling around my room. Never have I experienced anything like that. One of my assistants said it was like the equivalent of being hung over. I don’t drink, so I wouldn’t know.”

Tyler Shields: A History Of Stunts And Provocative Photography

Before he made headlines for staying awake, the 28-year-old former professional inline skater, gained notoriety by shooting a man with a gun in a stunt to promote a gallery opening. “At the time, everyone was like, ‘What are you going to do to top that?’ ” he said. “I feel like this tops that. Anybody can shoot a guy — but not everyone can stay awake for so long.”

Was This Self Destructive Sleep Cycle Stunt Even Worth It?

I’m not sure anyone has ever been more proud of themselves for doing something so completely irrelevant in the history of planet Earth. I mean, just analyze these quotes: ” I wanted to challenge myself.” “People said it was impossible but I did it.”

This is legitimately the most boring stunt I’ve ever heard of. He stayed awake for 40 days by choice. He didn’t even get a Guinness Record out of it. Seriously a kid who put 40 pairs of underpants on got a World Record and you didn’t.

Tyler Shields literally just destroyed his body and sleep cycle for a Weird News sidebar blurb. Was it worth it to be THAT guy that can say things like “none of my friends can ever say they are tired around me ever again”?

Oh well. Time for photographer Tyler Shields to go back to taking pictures.

Related Articles: