Great Images in NASA/Wikimedia Commons from Bizarre Sleeping Habits of Famous People

Bizarre Sleeping Habits of Famous People

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Great Images in NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Great Images in NASA/Wikimedia Commons

People often hear about how important getting seven to eight hours of sleep is in order to function normally. For some of the most successful people on Earth, sleep is a precious commodity. Their sleeping habits often affect how well they perform on the job and they do everything possible not let it get in their way. From creating a special atmosphere to establishing a specific positioning manner, the CelebJury infographic illustrates the bizarre sleeping habits of some of the most famous people in history.

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Albert Einstein

The famous physicist slept for 10 hours a night and he also took naps during the day. It’s a common misconception that you can’t “catch up” on sleep with daytime naps.

Marie Curie

The French-Polish physicist and chemist slept with a jar of radium at her bedside, which eventually led to her early death. She died from aplastic anemia. The damaging effects of ionizing radiation were not known at the time of her work.

Barrington Bramley/Wikimedia Commons

Isaac Newton

Perhaps the most famous mathematician and astronomer in history didn’t sleep much. He slept 3 or 4 hours a night. He went so often without sleep for days that he became ill from exhaustion.

Abraham de Moivre

The French mathematician is said to have predicted his own death – the day that the extra 15 minutes accumulated to 24 hours. He applied his studies in probability to his work on mortality tables. He started sleeping longer and longer in the later years of his life.  He slept for 20 hours a day.

Nikola Tesla

As a child, the famous investor and engineer used to suffer from nightmares. He followed the Uberman sleep cycle and never slept more than two hours a day. Tesla once worked for 84 hours without any rest.

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Alexander Graham Bell

The Scottish scientist slept 4-6 hours per day. He slept during the day and worked during the night from 9 or 10 pm until 4 or 5 am.

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Edison

The famous American investor and businessman was polyphasic sleeper. He slept for 20 minutes in every 3 hours. Edison once worked 72 hours straight, without any breaks for rest.

Burrhus Frederick Skinner

The psychologist had a rigorous sleeping schedule. He developed a system of timers that would wake him to work from midnight to 1 am, and then again from 5 to 7 am.

Max Halberstadt/Wikimedia Commons

Sigmund Freud

Perhaps the most famous psychologist and the founder of psychoanalysis was a monophasic sleeper, likely due to his self-medicating. Freud went to bed at 1 am and woke up at 7 am.

Buckminster Fuller

The German architect invented a form of polyphasic sleep known as Dymaxion sleep. His sleep schedule required taking 30-minute naps every 6 hours, resulting in only 2 hours of sleep a day.


Leonardo Da Vinci

The Italian painter and sculptor observed a polyphasic sleep process called the “The Da Vinci Sleep Schedule.” He slept between 20 minutes and two hours per session, several times a day.

Olena Z./

Salvador Dali

The Spanish painter would sit with a key in one hand, poised above a metal plate placed on the floor, and let sleep take him. As soon as Dali began to slumber in earnest, the key would slip from his fingers and clang against the plate – waking him immediately.

Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh treated his insomnia by dousing his mattress and pillow with camphor, a relative of turpentine. The camphor slowly poisoned him and was of the factors that pushed him to, allegedly, commit suicide.

Johann Nepomuk della Croce/Wikimedia Commons

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The famous German composer was a monophasic sleeper who would go to sleep at 1 am and wake up at 6 am.


William Shakespeare

Shakespeare was a troubled sleeper with insomniac tendencies. “We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep.” The Tempest (4.1.168-170) 

Amelia Curran/Wikimedia Commons

Mary Shelley

The British writer had sleep paralysis (A temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking) or parasomnia (abnormal or unusual behavior of the nervous system during sleep).

Jeremiah Gurney/Wikimedia Commons

Charles Dickens

The iconic writer always had his bed facing north because he believed that it improved his creativity. Being an insomniac, Dickens would sometimes walk the streets of London after lying down and trying to sleep.


Honore de Balzac

The French novelist’s sleeping routine involved sleeping from 6 pm to 1 am with a nap from 8 am to 9:30 am. He also drank an absurd amount of coffee.



The write and philosopher would regularly sleep 4 hours per night. Voltaire was a great lover of coffee and was known to drink up to 40 cups a day.

Atelier Jacobi/Wikimedia Commons

Frank Kafka

The Czech writer went to bed at 6 am and woke up at 9 am. He took a four-hour nap from 3:30 pm until 7:30 pm.

Branwell Bronte/National Portrait Gallery/Wikimedia Commons

Emily Bronte

The British novelist and poet suffered from insomnia and walked around her dining room until she fell asleep.


Winston Churchill

The former British prime minister was a biphasic sleeper. Every day at 5 pm, Churchill would drink a weak Scotch whiskey and soda before taking a two-hour nap. Churchill would often work through the night. Due to his irregular sleep schedule, he was said to hold War Cabinet meetings in his bath.


Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was also a polyphasaic sleeper. He slept only 2 hours a day, at different times. The third U.S. president devoted at least 30 minutes to creative reading before sleep. He would fall asleep later if reading was of particular interest, and would regularly wake up at sunrise.

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Lyndon B. Johnson

LBJ divided his days into two shifts. He woke up at about 6:30 am or 7 am and worked until 2 pm. He would the take a 30-minute nap, getting up around 4 pm.


Napoleon Bonaparte

He slept four hours a day, from 12 am to 2 am. He also went to sleep again at 5 am and woke up around 7 am.

Great Images in NASA/Wikimedia Commons

John F. Kennedy

JFK used two barbiturates to help him sleep, possibly because of his severe back pain while in office. After his lunch, Kennedy took a nap of an hour or two.

Copyright by Notman Photo Co..Boston, Mass./Wikimedia Commons

Calvin Coolidge

Coolidge slept 8 hours a night and 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon. He got more sleep in the White House than any other president.

mark reinstein/

Ronald Reagan

Reagan was a controversial napper. He maintained a good sense of humor about it, often joking about falling asleep in cabinet meetings. Reagan also enjoyed turkey hunts for the opportunity they provided for naps.

Tinnaporn Sathapornnanot/

Eleanor Roosevelt

She was a polyphasic (siesta) sleeper, known for taking short naps before giving public speeches.


Florence Nightingale

The British statistician and founder of modern nursing was a light sleeper and only slept for four hours a night. Her short sleep schedule wasn’t considered unhealthy. 

Frederic Legrand-COMEO/

Narendra Modi

The Indian prime minister works 20 hours per day and sleeps only 3.5 hours a night. Modi goes to bed and falls asleep within 30 seconds. Yoga and Pranayama help him keep awake.

Evan El-Amin/

Barack Obama

Obama sleeps for 5 or 6 hours a day, going to bed around 1 or 2 am and waking up around 6 in the morning.


Silvio Berlusconi

The famous Italian politician and media mogul gets just 2-4 hours of sleep every night.

Bizarre Sleeping Habits of Famous People