One of the features of the Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa, for the race contenders at least, is very significant sleep deprivation. Martin Dreyer and Alex Harris are often sleeping 4 hours a night if they're lucky. This may get less towards the end of the race if it is neck and neck at that stage. Glenn mentioned that last year, when the final push for Cape Town started late in the race, and sleep was reduced to a bare minumum, that he would at a sage start dozing off on his bike while riding. A cold power nap under an emergency blanket was the only solution, being woken up by the freezing cold after about an hour, and then continuing.
So this perhaps begs the question as to how long can the human being go without sleep? Below is an extract from an article from the New Scientist website for your interest....
Maxed out: How long can you go without sleep?
23 April 2010 by Graham Lawton
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On 28 December 1963, Randy Gardner, a 17-year-old schoolboy in San Diego, California, got up at 6 am feeling wide awake and raring to go. He didn't go back to sleep again until the morning of 8 January 1964. That's 11 days without sleep.
Gardner's 264 hours remains the longest scientifically verified period without sleep, breaking the previous record of 260 hours. It was described in a 1965 paper by sleep researcher William Dement of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, who stayed awake with Gardner for the final three days.
Gardner experienced mood swings, memory and attention lapses, loss of coordination, slurred speech and hallucinations, but was otherwise fine. His first sleep after those 11 days lasted just 14 hours.
According to Dement, Gardner did not consume any stimulants during his "wakeathon". He did, however, have people around him keeping him awake. Without such help ...
....And this 11 day feat was almost as long time-wise as the Race Across South Africa. But I'm sure that Gardner was not doing anywhere near the amount of exercise as Martin and Alex.