Successful Sleep Patterns

Many of us enjoy our sleep and find it vital to living a healthy lifestyle.

However, not everyone would agree with this. Often you read stories of successful individuals talking about their lack of sleep and how much extra work they can get done. We decided to compare the sleeping hours of a general working population, against the top, ultra-successful individuals working in the same sectors. We used data from a YouGov survey from a few years back, which asked 1,401 individuals in different jobs about how much sleep they get per night.

It certainly brought out some interesting points, even without the successful individuals plotted in. For instance though marketing had one of the highest numbers of people sleeping for of 7-9 hours a night, it also had the highest number getting less than 3 hours. Another fascinating thing thrown up by this data was that the Politics sector has the largest number of people who don’t know how much sleep they get. I’ll let you infer from that what you will…

Not all politicians forget their sleeping amounts. Thatcher swore by getting 4 hours a night, with stories about how she would ‘keep her officials up working on a speech until two or three in the morning and then be up by five to listen to Farming Today’.

Another politician Silvio Berlusconi, apparently only manages to get 2-4 hours a night sleep, which I guess leaves him lots of room for extra-curricular activities when he is not playing at politics.

Not all successful individuals think you have to burn the midnight oil though – See Jeff Bezos and Arianna Huffington for instance.

This chart is based on the more standard monophasic sleep cycle (sleeping for once in a 24 hour period). There are however, other types of sleeping patterns that have been used to supposed success.

Puredoxyk (a writer and polyphasic sleeper) created and coined both the Uberman Cycle and the Everyman Cycle that you can see on the infographic. Reports suggest the great Leonardo Da Vinci adopted a very similar cycle to the former, though he apparently his was even shorter, only having 10 minute naps every 2 hours.

The Biphasic sleep cycle, was practised by Churchill, saying in his own words ‘You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner … Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day… You get two days in one — well, at least one and a half’.

Buckminster Fuller was a fascinating individual. An architect, systems theorist, designer and creator of his own ‘Dymaxion’ sleep cycle. He apparently found huge benefits in it for the two years he practised it, but had to give it up due to it conflicting with his business associates sleep habits.

Sleep is a strange and wonderful thing. A place where dreams are made, cuts are repaired and snores roam free in the airwaves. Do you think it is something to be used to our advantage like Arianna Huffington or do you agree with Edison that ‘sleep is a criminal waste of time’?


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