The Sleeping Habits of Successful People – They’re Not What You’d Think

What would you expect the sleeping habits of successful people to be? Short nights and early mornings, or consistently getting enough rest? The answer might surprise you.

By Nicole Gleichmann

You gather a room full of successful businesspeople, politicians, artists, inventors, and performers and survey them on their sleep habits and you’re likely to get quite the array of responses.

You’d find people who go to sleep early, those who go to sleep late, and some who sleep very few (or impressively many) hours. There are even those who follow an unusual schedule where nighttime sleep is completely replaced by naps.

While there is a variety of sleep schedules and strategies among the rich and famous, there are still some patterns that emerge. We’re going to share with you both the typical and the bizarre when it comes to the sleeping habits of successful people.

Sleeping Trends Among Highly Successful People

In an article posted on Forbes, the sleeping habits of 21 highly successful people, living and dead, were examined. Included in these 21 were Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington, Benjamin Franklin, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, among others. We looked for trends and found the following:

  • There were no long sleepers. The first thing that struck us was that not one of these people was reported to sleep more than 8 hours a night.
  • 86% slept between 5 and 8 hours each night. Most successful people slept close to the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night.
  • There was a lot of variety in when they slept. Bedtimes ranged from 9:30 P.M. to 3:00 A.M. and wakeup times from 4:00 A.M to 9:00 A.M.

The takeaway? There is no one set schedule or quantity of sleep that will set you up for success, but consistently oversleeping – or sleeping in too late – might be best avoided.

The Bizarre Tales of Successful People’s Sleeping Routines

Now we’re going to get into the fun part. While many super-humans have a pretty normal and healthy sleep routine, there are those whose habits are a bit unusual.

1. Mariah Carey

We found one talented celebrity who clocks an astonishing amount of sleep each night. Mariah Carey reports sleeping 15 hours every night as a way to keep her phenomenal singing voice at its best. Not only does she sleep an impressive number of hours, but she keeps her bedroom like a sauna, with tens of humidifiers keeping the air nice and moist.

2. Leonardo da Vinci and Nikola Tesla

Both the renowned artist Leonardo da Vinci and inventor Nikola Tesla acquired more time in each day by adopting Uberman sleep cycles. This is a strategy where you replace nightly rest with 20-minute naps every four hours throughout the day and night.

One word of caution – the Uberman sleep schedule doesn’t allow for full, healthy sleep cycles, reducing your amount of restorative slow wave sleep. Research shows that it’s wise to spend your time sleeping during the night in large chunks, not in small spurts throughout the day.

3. Donald Trump

You’re likely privy to the constant Twitter messages from President Trump at seemingly all hours of the night. Well, these odd-hour posts can be explained by how little the president sleeps. Donald Trump claims to only clock 3 hours of shut eye per night, a quantity far below normal for successful people (and us normal people too).

They Also Have Unique Bedtime Routines

Comb through stories of the rich and famous and you will find bedtime routines that range from good ideas to interesting viewpoints.

Take Oprah Winfrey, for example. As one of the most successful people in the world, she takes her rest seriously. To prepare for bed she takes a bath every evening. With research suggesting that a warm shower or bath before bedtime can help to promote sleep, this might be a good routine to borrow for yourself.

Charles Dickens, author of classics like A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, had a more unique bedtime routine. In order to improve his creativity, he would always sleep facing north. He was so dedicated to this strategy that he would keep a compass with him every night.

Using Sleep to Become Successful

We all have ambitions. Yours might be to start your own business, be the best Dad possible, or run a marathon when you’re 50 years old. No matter your goal, getting a good night sleep regularly can help you get there. While not every highly successful person had the same schedule, most did sleep close to the recommended 7 hours each night.

Getting enough sleep does more than just reduce your feelings of fatigue the following day. It can improve your focus, amp up your willpower, support your memory and learning abilities, and offer protection against certain chronic diseases. Spending enough time sleeping might just be the factor that makes achieving your dreams possible.

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