Great People Sleep Less?


Lifetime: 76 years

great sleepers 06 Great People Sleep Less?

The story goes that Albert Einstein liked to sleep 10 hours a night – unless he was working very hard on an idea; then it was 11. He claimed that his dreams helped him to invent. Also he felt that naps “refreshed the mind” and that they helped him to be more creative.


Lifetime: 84

great sleepers 07 Great People Sleep Less?

Some sources claim that Benjamin Franklin slept 2-4 hours a night. Though we all know his famous quote: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” In Franklin’s day, industriousness and hard work were extremely important human virtues. Edison adopted Franklin’s philosophy as well, and in both cases, it was important for them to model their behavior in a way that suggested that they didn’t sleep very much. To them, it meant that they were diligent and demanding in their lives, and never lazy in any way. In his thesis, Franklin allocated only 4 hours of sleep per night. This tenet is the most often quoted reference to the myth of Franklin’s lack of sleep. - “There will be sleeping enough in the grave.” ~ Benjamin Franklin ~


Lifetime: 83

great sleepers 08 Great People Sleep Less?

Thomas Jefferson is considered to be a polyphasic sleeper. He slept only 2 hours a day. Though, in letters to Doctor Vine Utley (1819), Thomas Jefferson writes about his sleep habits. We can conclude that his sleep was not very regular, he would go to sleep at different times (often late into the night), he would always devote at least 30 min. to creative reading before sleep, he would fall asleep later if the reading was of particular interest, and he would regularly wake up at sunrise.


Lifetime: 52

great sleepers 09 Great People Sleep Less?

Some sources say that Napoleon slept only from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m., and then he woke up, worked and went to bed again at 5 a.m. and woke up at 7 a.m. It means he slept only 4 hours a night. He is indeed said to have slept little and frequently suffer from insomnia at times of great stress. Yet he was to be woken up only with bad news. The hard rule was that the good news could wait. His memoirs indicate that he did not mind dying young. Consequently, he would disregard his doctors on the matter of sleeping little and drinking buckets of strong coffee. As Napoleon’s life was jam-packed with stress, his short sleep might have been a consequence of his lifestyle.

“Different subjects and different affairs are arranged in my head as in a cupboard. When I wish to interrupt one train of thought, I shut that drawer and open another. Do I wish to sleep, I simply close all the drawers and then I am – asleep.”

~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~


Lifetime: 84

great sleepers 10 Great People Sleep Less?

Sir Isaac Newton needed 3-4 hours of sleep daily. He worked so long and hard, often without sleep for days that he became ill from exhaustion.

As you can see it’s difficult to say for sure who was a real polyphasic sleeper. And it’s difficult to claim that sleeping less is a precondition to being successful in life. Now I understand that it doesn’t matter how much you have but it does matter how you use what you have. And I think that everyone should listen to his body and feel what it really needs. Do not be too lazy to sleep more than you need and do not be too hard-working to neglect your health.

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