5 Unique Sleep Patterns of Historical Figures


Scientists, doctors, and anyone who knows about health will tell you how important sleep is. In an era where streaming can be done around the clock and cities have nightlife that leads into the day, many may find it hard to sleep.

Insomnia and stress induced by school/ work/ life can make it hard for even those who manage to find the time to sleep.

Everyone has a different sleep pattern and a good sleep pattern is essential for the body and the mind’s well-being. We all have friends or family members who have perfect sleep routines. They get up early and sleep on time- every day!

Everything about their sleep cycle is normal, but what is normal? Here a few famous individuals that defied the norms of sleeping with their unique routines.  

Winston Churchill: The Evening Napper

The British Prime Minister had a strict routine that he followed and believed his daily nap was a key part of his productivity. After an early morning full of bureaucratic responsibilities and errands, Winston Churchill would take a nap at 5 in the evening. 

Sources say that the nap was an hour to an hour and a half long. Churchill has said that his napping allowed him to get a day and a half worth of work done in 24 hours. He said he acquired this habit during his stay in Cuba.

Statue of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in front of the Big Ben.

Leonardo Da Vinci and Nikola Tesla: The Ubermen

Two of the worlds most creative minds that ever existed were also nappers. Leonardo Da Vinci and Nikola Tesla’s sleep routine was so hardcore, it’s been given the name the “Uberman Sleep Cycle”. 

The routine consisted of napping for 20 minutes, every 4 hours. This totalled up to 6 naps a day.

Additionally, Tesla was known to never have slept more than 2 hours a day. Tesla’s teachers often warned his father about the lack of sleep Nikola was getting. It is reported that he once worked for 84 hours straight.

Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison battled against each other in what is now known as the “War of the Currents”.

Albert Einstein: The Dreamer

In contrast to a harsh sleep cycle, Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist Albert Einstein enjoyed a good night’s sleep. Einstein slept for 10 hours a day, everynight.

This is one and a half times more than the average American at 6.8 hours. In addition to his daily 10 hours of sleep, he also took daytime naps. 

Studies have revealed that those who sleep have better cognitive performance than those who stay awake. Einstein is said to have discovered the theory of special relativity in his sleep; when he dreamt about cows being electrocuted.

Einstein said many of his ideas and breakthroughs came to him in his dreams.

Sir Isaac Newton: The Night Owl

Isaac Newton is another genius that had the tendency to sleep little. History reports that he would sleep 3-4 hours a day. Newton would spend the majority of his time awake and working hard and studying.

His employee noted that Newton would rarely go to bed before 2 or 3 am. He’d only sleep a few hours and wake up in the morning refreshed. 

Unfortunately, he would also go days without sleep. This led him to getting sick from exhaustion.

Sir Isaac Newton would rarely ever go to bed, he had a habit of working in the night.

Thomas Edison: The Hypnagogic Sleeper

Inventor Thomas Edison had once said “sleep is a criminal waste of time, inherited from our cave days”. His tendency to sleep 3-4 hours a night truly reflects this statement. 

Although his sleep pattern isn’t like that of the Uberman Sleep Cycle, he had something else special about him. He would famously nap for an hour a day on his work bench or underneath his desk

In addition to sleeping from a sitting position on a chair, he would hold steel balls in both hands. When he would fall asleep the sleep balls would drop from his hands and fall on metal saucers, waking him. He would then pick up a pen and pad to write down any ideas he had.

Edison reached a transitive state known as the Hypnagogic State. The state between consciousness and sleep. He attributed many of his ideas and inventions to this achieved state.

Thomas Edison is often known for his most famous invention – the light bulb.

Leave a Reply