Too Little, Too Late: The Unexpected Sleeping Habits of Influential People
The Dalai Lama said- Sleep is the best meditation. And in meditation, we find a life of peace and calm! Although a necessity which takes up one-third of our lives, most people seem to realise the importance of a good night’s sleep only when they are deprived of it and wake up groggy and unfocused the next day.
According to Ayurveda, the amount and quality of sleep can feed off each other, along with the life force, physical and mental state of the person. On an average, we need seven hours of sleep a night, but that can vary. This fact is best highlighted in the sleeping habits of some eminent personalities.
He may be the founder of one of the biggest companies in the world, but Bill Gates is no Scrooge when it comes to the amount of sleep he gets, clocking in at seven hours per day, one of the higher numbers on this list. Richard Branson arrives in a tad bit lower, clocking in five to six hours of sleep per day. Barack Obama joins Bill Gates on the list and sleeps for seven hours per night too.
Narendra Modi, on the other hand, sleeps for about three to four hours per night, a number shared by Indra Nooyi, who heads PepsiCo and Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo! Nooyi feels that she would be a “basket case” if she slept any longer and is a self-proclaimed insomniac. A name that needs no introduction, Martha Stewart also joins the club and clocks in about four hours of sleep per night.
Historical figures had their own patterns when it came to sleep. Thomas Edison thought that sleep was a pointless waste of time (an opinion shared by Leonardo da Vinci), preferring to take tiny naps throughout the day – he simply had too much to do! But Nikola Tesla beat him there too, getting a meagre two hours of sleep per night. Prime Ministers and contemporaries Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher were also on the lower side of the sleep spectrum, getting about four hours of sleep.
A good way to judge if you are getting enough sleep is to see your other faculties in the course of the day – are you energetic and able to take good decisions? Are your energy levels in sync with the time of the day? So whether you are a Bill Gates or an Indra Nooyi, Obama or a Modi, make sure you’re getting the kind of sleep your body needs. It will tell you, and all you need to do is listen!