Archive for July 19th, 2022

All of us are different, in so many ways. For me, sleep is one of these areas where my own uniqueness is evidenced.

Beginning in the mid-90s, regardless of what time I would go to bed, I would normally awake 3-4 hours later. For a few years I would battle this, as though it were some kind of curse. This is because I listened to the “8 hours a night” advice that is always offered.

I would lay in bed awake for hours every night trying to fall back asleep. After all, it was what I should do for my health. Staying in bed when I was awake, because I was supposed to, became a great prison to me.

After a while, I just learned to get up when I was awake. For the last 25 years or so, my sleep norm is 3-4 hours most nights – with perhaps an occasional 5-to-15-minute power nap somewhere in the late afternoon, or early evening. After multiple nights of this short sleep schedule, I will usually sleep 5-6 hours one night, occasionally longer, then right back to my norm.

What I had viewed in the beginning as a “curse,” I eventually came to see as my special “blessing.” I am usually up somewhere between 1:00-3:00 most mornings. I am up wide awake, and I aggressively begin my studies and writing. While others are asleep in the house it allows for many hours of very quiet productive time. Over time I have come to relish my early morning time. I would not be the person that I am today without my norm of 3-4 hours a night.

I sleep when I am sleepy, and am up working when I am awake, regardless of the advice of the experts. Interestingly, for me, on the nights that I get 3-4 hours of sleep I am usually the most awake and productive for the day. On the nights that I sleep longer, not only do I have less working time, but I am more typically sluggish.

Thomas Edison wrote,

I never found need of more than four or five hours sleep in twenty-four hours. I never dream. It’s real sleep. When by chance I have taken in more [sleep], I wake up dull and indolent [disinclined to work]).

Winston Churchill averaged 5-6 hours of sleep per day (which included a full-blown daily 2-hour nap during the day). You get two days in one – well, at least one and a half.”

Leonardo De Vinci followed the “Uberman sleep cycle” – an extreme form of polyphasic sleep (or segmented sleep). This is the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period. The Uberman method involves 20-minute naps every 4 hours – about 1-½ hours of sleep a day. Nikola Tesla followed this same sleep pattern.

I am well aware that my sleep patterns are not “normal,” and I do not recommend them. They are not something that I try to do, neither do I suggest anyone else trying them. Each of us are very uniquely made, and we must not fight the design of God for us.


Cf. “Some People Have a Superhuman Strength: Only Needing 4 Hours of Sleep,” Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, June 27, 2022:

These “short sleepers” don’t necessarily do it by choice – they’re genetically programmed to require less. Short sleepers are people who do well with about half of the shut-eye that the rest of us require to function. Researchers have discovered particular mutations in three genes that control short sleepers’ resting needs. Their super-efficient sleep helps maintain better health and greater resilience to stress.


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