The Sleeperati

An article caught my eye recently about those members of the human race who can exist on a few hours of sleep each night. The main reason articles of this type catch my eye is usually driven by a healthy (or unhealthy – not sure?) jealousy I have for those people who can get by on 3-4 hours sleep a night.

These superhuman sleepers do tend to be famous – that’s why you hear about them. There is a chance you have friends – as I do – who are not famous, therefore their superhuman (from my perspective) ability to exist on minimal sleep remains unreported.

Here is a link to the article about ‘The Sleep Elite‘.

Imagine all the ‘stuff’ you could get done if you only had to sleep for four hours every night. It would be amazing and awesome and great and fabulous and I would LOVE it. Personally, anything less than 7 hours and I am a bit of a basket case. Which, much to my dismay, puts me in the ‘ordinary range’ of needing between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, if a wide range of medical websites are anything to go by.

Here are a couple of those websites to have a look at if you are interested:

National Sleep Foundation


The Mayo Clinic

I have a friend who only sleeps 3-4 hours a night, and he has just become a doctor. He used to be a Secondary School Principal, then decided he would be a doctor. He is a smart man and he has so much extra time in his day because he doesn’t have to give up 8 hours a day for recuperation. Am I jealous? Hell yeah!

Here are some famous people who don’t need much sleep.

  • Thomas Jefferson – 2 hours
  • Nikola Tesla – 2 to 3 hours
  • Benjamin Franklin – 2 to 4 hours
  • Sir Isaac Newton – 3 to 4 hours
  • Florence Nightingale – 4 hours
  • Michelangelo – 4 hours
  • Napoleon Bonaparte – 4 hours
  • Thomas Edison – 4 hours
  • Jay Leno – 4 hours
  • Madonna – 4 hours
  • Margaret Thatcher – 4 hours
  • Martha Stewart – 4 hours
  • Winston Churchill – 5 hours
  • Bill Clinton – 5 to 6 hours

The bad news (or good news if you can’t work out why you aren’t on this list) is that the reason these people function on such little sleep is because they have good genes. This article in Time explains it. It’s a similar to the good genes those pesky supermodels who look like stick insects were blessed with – simply, it’s just good luck.

Me (and many others), without at least 7 hours sleep

So the good news (silver lining folks, silver lining!) is that if you do need between 7-9 hours to function as a normal human, then it’s not because you are lazy – it’s simply because you were wired that way.

Therefore, you can relax, stop beating yourself up, and just accept that your genetics blessed you with other superhuman talents! You may just still be having to work out what they are.

And take heart in the knowledge that Albert Einstein is reported to have needed 10 hours sleep each night to be well-rested and ready to solve those tricky scientific problems.


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