Six to eight hours per day is the average amount of sleep a person needs. As a population, we sleep about 1 to 1.5 hours less than we did 100 years ago. Scientists say that sleeping 7 – 8 hours a day is normal, if you sleep less, your health can suffer from that. Recently I’ve read that some great people slept less than we usually do, for instance, da Vinci slept only 1.5 – 2 hours a day. How is it possible?! I’ve found some information about sleeping habits of great people who are considered to be extraordinary sleepers. There are so many myths and legends around them that it’s difficult to say something for sure. But I’ll try to write the most interesting facts in this article.
1. LEONARDO DA VINCI
Lifetime: 67 years
Some sources claim that the legendary artist Leonardo Da Vinci was able to stay awake and alert almost 22 hours of every day, all the while working on brilliant artworks and inventions. He slept only 1.5 – 2 hours a day taking a nap 15 – 20 minutes for every four hours that he was awake. Nowadays this sleeping system is called polyphasic sleep. Its followers try to use it and say that the system works fine for them. However its opponents say that da Vinci sleeping habit is just a myth, there are no trusted sources to confirm this fact about great artist.
2. NIKOLA TESLA
Lifetime: 87 years
One of the greatest inventors claimed to sleep just 2 – 3 hours a day. Tesla who could indeed work throughout the night, would often crash for the entire day of sleep after his exploits. He exhibited classic signs of manic creativity, which might have been interrupted by short recuperative naps or long recovery sleep. Otherwise, Tesla was nothing more than a short sleeper.”
3. WINSTON CHURCHILL
Winston Churchill was said to sleep 5 hours a night on average, but he did at least advocate a substantial daily nap on top of that modest allowance. He would wake at 8, spend the morning in bed reading papers, dictating letters, etc., take a long nap at tea time, and work till as late as 3 am. He averaged 5-6 hours of sleep per day.
“You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one – well, at least one and a half.”
~ Winston Churchill ~
4. CALVIN COOLIDGE
Lifetime: 61 years
Calvin Coolidge slept 8 hours a night, plus 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon. In fact, his very first act as president of the United States was to go to sleep. It is said that Calvin Coolidge got more sleep in the White House than any other president.
5. THOMAS EDISON
Lifetime: 84 years
The great scientist remarked that he slept less than 5 hours a night. While working in his lab, he allowed himself almost no sleep for days. He kept a small cot in one corner and grabbed only a few minutes here and there to sustain him. A famous picture shows him stretched out fast asleep on the top of a workbench. Edison never discouraged this type of representation of himself, and newspaper photographers happily took the bait. Edison was known to sleep for an entire day, waking only to take a light meal, and then it was back to bed.