Salvador Dali would hold a key or a spoon in his hand with a tin plate on the floor. If he drifted asleep, the key for spoon would fall and hit the plate waking him up. This is how he was able to create his paintings; while staying awake and being in a quasi-dream state of mind.
A scientific study found that starting high school one hour later than usual allowed students to sleep more than half an hour more, and was associated with reduced sleepiness and increased academic performance.
There is an official IKEA podcast that will read you the names of IKEA products until you fall asleep.
Worker ants take hundreds of 1-2 minute naps per day, so that they can essentially work around the clock. There is something similar in humans called polyphasic sleep. While many claim that polyphasic sleep was widely used by some polymaths and prominent people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon, and Nikola Tesla, there are few reliable sources supporting that view.
The longest recorded time spent awake was set in 1965 a high school student stayed awake for 264 hours (about 11 days).
As much as 7% of the population has experienced waking from sleep and being totally paralyzed but aware as mind and body become out of sync in REM cycles.
1-3% of the population are known as the sleepless elite. This group of people routinely get 6 hours or less of sleep daily and remain totally functional.
Peter Tripp, a radio DJ, stayed awake on air for 200 hours. The resulting sleep deprivation drove him crazy.
Up to 70% of people will experience a hypnagogic jerk when falling asleep. A hypnagogic jerk is an involuntary muscle spasm that occurs as a person is drifting off to sleep. The phenomenon is so named in reference to the hypnogogic state — the transitional period between wakefulness and sleep.
There is a disease that takes away your ability to sleep. You sink into horrible psychosis and inevitably die over the course of a few months. There is no cure; there are no viable treatments.