The Sleep Patterns Of Highly Successful People

Running an organization, company or country is time-consuming. It is, therefore, logical to assume that the people that do such jobs sacrifice their sleeping time.

Many of the successful have spoken out about their sleeping schedules, and they differ from one person to another. Some believe that sleep is essential for their productivity and therefore set adequate time aside for sleeping. 

Others would get rid of sleep if they could and hence sleep as few hours as possible. For others, there are some things that they do routinely before sleep to make the most of their sleeping time.

For successful people, sleep is a precious commodity, rare and treasured.

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1. President Donald Trump

president donald trumpThe current US president is arguably one of the most successful people in the world. Managing a multi-billion business empire for decades and then topping that by being the president of the most powerful country in the world is no small fete.

Trump’s competitive nature is well known, and it is reflected in his sleeping habit. On average, the president sleeps for four hours, going to sleep as late as midnight and waking up at 4 or 5 o’clock. Trump is of the opinion that those people who sleep for long hours have no chance competing with those that sleep less.


2. Elon Musk

Elon MuskElon Musk is one of the successful people that value their sleep. The head of Tesla and SpaceX sleeps up to six hours daily. Six hours is on the lower side of what experts recommend but then considering his work load it is a considerable amount of sleep. He is, however, a night owl and stays up till around 1 am and wakes up at 7 pm. His phone is always within the workaholics reach when he sleeps.


3. President Barrack Obama

Barack ObamaThe former US president is also a man that values his sleeping time. While in office, he slept an average of 5 hours per day. The office of the president works in conjunction with other offices, and therefore it is hard to set a definite sleeping schedule.

He would often stay up till late sending and receive information from various departments. He, however, was not fond of being disrupted once he has gone to his comfortable bed. Reports from his aides state that they had to carefully evaluate if an issue is urgent enough before waking him. His sleeping pattern has presumably changed slightly since he left office.


4. Michael Phelps

Michael PhelpsMichael Phelps is a trendsetter in the athletic with 28 Olympic medals to his name. To achieve that level of success he has had to follow strict training schedule and sleep has recently been incorporated into his training.

Although he always knew sleep was important for his performance, it wasn’t part of his training till 2015 when he was preparing for the 2016 Olympics. The athlete was initially skeptical when his trainers introduced sleep-monitors.

During his training, he monitors not only how long he sleeps but also how deep his sleep is. While preparing for the last Olympics, Phelps used to sleeps almost eight hours at night in addition to afternoon naps ranging from two to three hours.


5. Bill Gates

Bill GatesA younger Bill Gates used to envy people that would manage with three to four hours a night. He was of the opinion that being awake longer hours allowed them to be more productive. The Microsoft founder has since changed his mind.

He now believes that the brain of a person that does not have an adequate sleep struggles to process and retain information. On his part, Bill Gates sleeps for an average of seven hours per night. He also reads for one hour before sleep to relax his mind.


6. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey is an advocate of as little sleep as possible, noting that nobody has ever been a billionaire while sleeping. She sleeps an average of five and half hours per day.

The media owner adds that if she doesn’t get her 5.5 hours she is not as sharp as usual in thinking and her body energy is also low. Oprah finds alarm clocks irritating and therefore she relies on her “body clock” to wake up. Her body has conditioned itself such that she has a regular wake up time.


7. Arianna Huffington

Arianna HuffingtonArianna Huffington wasn’t always conscious of the importance of sleep till she collapsed from exhaustion in 2007. Since then she has been on a mission to educate the public about the impact that sleep has on our performance, relationships, and general well-being.

She is leading a fight against sleep deprivation, noting that people need to realize that lack of sleep reduces productivity significantly and affects every aspect of our lives negatively. She terms the argument that people can function well with 4-5 hours of sleep a myth and advocates for 7-8 hours of sleep every night.


8. Narendra Modi

Narendra ModiThe Indian Prime Minister also lies in the category of people that hardly sleep. Prime Minister Modi can reportedly work 20 hours in a day. He acknowledges that his sleep is inadequate and his physician friends have advised him to increase his sleeping hours.

According to him, however, the 3.5 hours he gets to sleep are enough since he falls asleep almost immediately he goes to bed and sleeps a deeply. He attributes his ability to remain active for so long to yoga and pranayama practice.

If the sleeping schedules of successful people are anything to go by, there is no definite answer on what the right sleeping habit is. However, the various successful people have found a way to manage their programs such that they have a consistent sleeping pattern.

Also, our bodies are different. While some like Oprah can’t function with less than 5.5 hours of sleep, Prime Minister Modi is okay with 3.5 hours. Therefore it is important to set a schedule that your body can handle and do what helps you get quality sleep whether it is reading a book, yoga exercise, or even sleeping with your phone off.


Below are the sleep habits of 21 highly successful people throughout history courtesy of Home Arena (the original graphic can be viewed here)


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