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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD Clinical Psychology, DPhil., MA (History)


The Bizarre Sleeping Habits of Famous People

Paul Kiritsis - Thursday, February 06, 2020

Notable Personalities and Their Bizarre Sleeping Habits

A lot of people believe that sleeping is a waste of time and that hardly anyone can afford to sleep the recommended 8 hours a night in this hectic world. And while it's true that most of us have busy schedules, maybe we need to reconsider our priorities.

Just think about this question—does sleeping reduce your productive waking hours or does the lack of it accelerate your mental breakdown? Perhaps a look into some notable personalities and their sleeping habits will give us some insight on this.

From suffering from sleep apnea to being a chronic insomniac, many famous people haven't been immune from common sleep problems. Also, you'd be surprised to know that some of the well-known figures have or had some pretty bizarre sleeping patterns and habits.

Leonardo da Vinci

Who hasn't heard about the famous Mona Lisa painter and artist, Leonardo da Vinci? Da Vinci was many things, being an inventor who didn't fancy sleeping was one of them. As mind-blowing as his innovations were, so was his sleeping habit. 

He invented what is commonly known as the Da Vinci Sleep Schedule. This is a polyphasic sleep pattern, which is characterized by several 20-minute power naps in the course of 24 hours. It is believed that in total, he didn't get more than 5 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

Albert Einstein

In sharp contrast, Einstein, a renowned theoretical physicist, was a fan of regular quality sleep. He is said to have had at least 10 hours of sleep every night, and on top of that, he also had daytime naps. 

On average, an adult person should have 6 to 8 hours of sleep, meaning Albert Einstein slept more than the regular person. So if you think sleeping derails your creativity and thinking, it is time to reconsider your stance on sleeping.

Alexander Graham Bell

Graham was a popular inventor, scientist, engineer as well as a university professor. He is famously known for inventing the electric bell. Graham, unlike most people, preferred working during the quiet hours of the night, which is why he slept for 6 hours during the day. He would then start working from 9 or 10 pm until 4 or 5 am.

Thomas Edison

Known for his invention of the electric light bulb, Thomas Edison wasn't a big fan of sleep. He would actually try and minimize any sleeping so as to work on his inventions. Just like Leonardo Da Vinci, Edison followed the polyphasic sleep pattern. He only slept for 20 minutes in every 3 hours. Apparently, he adapted to working without sleep so much that he once worked for three straight days without rest or a proper shut-eye.

Abraham de Moivre

This French mathematician had a very odd sleeping habit. De Moivre could sleep for 20 hours a day! That is a lot more than a baby sleeps, but it could explain his mathematical ingenuity, given his brain cells had a lot of time to process and store information.

Working for long hours to increase productivity is good, but striking a balance between work and sleep is better. It is also important to know what sleeping pattern or habit works for you.

Written by Hristina Nikolovska 

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