Do Highly Successful People Really Sleep Less Than The Average Joe?

Do Highly Successful People Really Sleep Less Than The Average Joe?

Highly successful people are notorious for their odd habits. The famously superstitious Truman Capote refused to work on the 13th of every month, Steve Jobs lived on fruit for weeks at a time, and Benjamin Franklin started each day with a half-hour "air bath" – in his birthday suit in front of an open window — believing this practice wards off sickness. A few resources on the web purport to show that the sleep habits of people at the top of their game tend to be unusual as well.

This graphic illustrates famous people who got by on as little as 2-4 hours of sleep, while this one samples 21 high achievers and concludes that fewer than half of them get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer sleeps for 4-6 hours, Barack Obama gets by on about 6, and Winston Churchill slept for only 5 hours.

Here at Regal Sleep Solutions, we’re careful about following the latest in sleep science. The fact is, regardless of the quirky customs of a handful of successful people, studies overwhelmingly show that healthy adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, and individual sleep needs occasionally vary from the average. That’s why it’s important to monitor your reactions to different amounts of sleep and determine what works best for you.

However, just as trying to replicate Ben Franklin’s success with air baths is unlikely to yield results, it’s worth taking oddball sleep habits with a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s fun to romanticize the weird habits of celebrities to try to ferret out the roots of their success, but at the end of the day, it makes sense to stick to the science. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that the average person is far more creative, attentive, productive, and effectual in every aspect of their lives with 7-9 hours of sleep under their belt. Infographics like those linked above have undeniable entertainment value, but they’re not good evidence for putting sleep at the bottom of your priority list.

As a health-focused company, Regal Sleep Solutions works with a network of more than 1000 Health Professionals. They help develop our mattresses, recommend them to their patients, and regularly report that better sleep improves health and productivity by leaps and bounds. Speaking from their combined experience, and our own 30 years in the sleep business, we encourage you to listen to your body — and the scientific evidence — when it comes to assessing how much sleep you really need.

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