Strange Sleeping Habits of Historical Figures

Old Wooden Cabin Bedroom. Aged Cabin Bed.

Not everyone gets the recommended eight hours of sleep per night. Some of the world’s most famous figures had very interesting and unique sleeping habits.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Some sources claim that Da Vinci was able to stay awake and alert almost 22 hours of every day, all while working on his brilliant artworks and inventions. He slept only 1.5 – 2 hours a day, taking 20-minute naps every four hours. Today this sleep system is called the polyphasic sleep schedule, or the Uberman Sleep Cycle.

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla never slept for more than 2 hours a day. Much like Da Vinci, Tesla followed the Uberman Sleep Cycle, and claimed to have never slept more than 2 hours a day. He once reportedly worked for 84 hours straight in a lab without any rest.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is also considered a polyphasic sleeper, only sleeping 2 hours a day. In letters written by Jefferson he discusses his sleep habits, referencing that his sleep was not very regular. He would sleep at different times (often late into the night), and he would devote time each night before bed to creative reading and would continue reading if the book was of particular interest. However, he would regularly wake up at sunrise every day.

Thomas Edison

Edison would continuously work in his lab with little to no sleep for days. He kept a cot in his lab to grab a few minutes as needed. A newspaper even captured a famous picture of Edison sleeping on his workbench. When not absorbed in a project, Edison was known to sleep for an entire day, waking only to take a light meal, and then would head back to bed.

Sir Isaac Newton

Newton only slept 3-4 hours daily, and he would work so long and hard that he would often go days without sleep. Eventually the lack of sleep led him to become ill from exhaustion.

Albert Einstein

It is believed that Einstein liked to sleep 10 hours a night – unless he was working very hard on an idea, when it would be 11. He claimed that his dreams helped him invent. Also, he believed that naps “refreshed the mind” and that they helped him to be more creative.

Benjamin Franklin

Franklin had a reputation for limiting his sleep. In his own autobiography he explains his quest for moral perfection, including allocating only 4 hours of sleep per night.

Charles Dickens

In order to improve his creativity, Charles Dickens slept facing north. Dickens, who reportedly suffered from insomnia, always kept a navigation compass with him to ensure that he wrote and slept facing north.

Lydon B. Johnson

The former president split his day into two parts to get more done. He usually woke up at about 6:30 or 7 a.m. and worked until 2 p.m. After a quick bout of exercise, Johnson would crawl back into bed for a 30-minute nap, getting up around 4 p.m. and working into the early morning.

Emily Bronte

19th century novelist, Emily Bronte, suffered from insomnia and would walk around in circles until she was tired enough to fall asleep.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was known for taking a two-hour nap every day around 5:00 pm. He’d pour himself a weak whiskey and soda, and settle in for a nice nap. Churchill said this short nap allowed him to get 1 ½ days’ worth of work done every 24 hours.

Do you sleep like any of these famous figures or do you have your own unique sleep habits?

Sleeping Habits of Some of History’s Greatest Minds

We have all heard of many geniuses staying up through the night working manically and creating masterpieces, writing prize-winning novels, and inventing amazing technologies. Or maybe you have heard the myth that you are most creative when you are tired. But are these bizarre sleeping habits really effective in creating brilliance?

In the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey, Currey explores how brilliance has often been the product of a well-rested mind and not artistic all-nighters.

This New York Magazine infographic shows the typical sleeping habits of some of the world’s greatest minds


Unfortunately, the infographic doesn’t give us any sleep-related tricks for releasing our own latent genius, other than following the traditional eight-hours-a-night rule.

So rest up and give your inner creative genius a chance to be brilliant!


Should Americans Fear Their Furniture?

James Redford and Kirby Walker, directors of “Toxic Hot Seat” at Napa Valley Film Festival in California

Airing tonight on HBO is a documentary that explores the chemical-laden flame retardants contained in much of today’s furniture.

Here is an excerpt from the article, Should Americans Fear Their Furniture? by New York Times author Jane Margolies:

The pet hairs and red wine stains on sofas across America, it turns out, should be the least of our concerns. The real issue is what is in the foam cushions we curl up on every day: up to two pounds of flame retardants.

In their HBO documentary “Toxic Hot Seat,” scheduled to be aired on Monday, the directors James Redford and Kirby Walker disclose that these chemicals, as used in home furnishings, do not stop fires. They do, however, whoosh out of seat cushions when we plop down, hitching a ride on airborne dust and ending up in our bodies. They have been linked to cancer and other health disorders.

The film explores how a 1975 California law requiring retardants (Technical Bulletin 117) became widely adopted. And it follows the firefighters, scientists, health advocates, state legislators and investigative journalists who brought attention to the chemicals, leading to a recent reform of the California mandate — which the directors, who spoke from their homes in the San Francisco area, applaud.”

For the full article click HERE.

This issue was previous explored in the OMI blog “Makers of Flame Retardants Manipulate Research Findings.”

We at OMI continue to use a safer system that allows us to use organic wool as our only flame retardant. As a result, our mattresses are able to pass federal flame tests without the use of toxic chemicals or silica barriers. To use any form of chemical flame retardant in our products would violate our ethical standards and integrity. We stand by our purity so you and your family can have a safer place to rest your heads at night.

To learn more about OMI and the certified products we offer, click HERE

How much sleep is enough?

How much sleep do we need to get every night?  The answer to that question used to be universal: eight hours.   Now there is a new study that may forever change that…

According to a CTV News Report, German scientists known as chronobiologists from the Ludwig Maximillians University in Munich found a gene variant called ABCC9 that affects the length of time we need to sleep nightly.

The study, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, found that a very small percentage of the population requires less sleep a night – between four to five hours – and are thought to be short or light sleepers. These people wake up and feel refreshed without needing naps or caffeine throughout the day.   The study included over 4,000 people, all of European ancestry, in a seven-genome-wide association study.  They found that people with two or more  copies of one common variant of ABCC9 slept for significantly shorter periods than people with two copies of another version.

But does this answer how much sleep we need to be healthy, how much we allow ourselves, or how much our bodies are predetermined to need?

According to the 2011 Sleep in America Poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 43% of people in the U.S. ages 13 to 64 reported they rarely or never can get a good night’s sleep Monday through Friday. And 60% of those surveyed said they had a sleep problem every night or almost every night, which could include snoring, waking up during the night or having a lack of energy when they get up. For full poll results, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website at HERE.

To find out if you are getting enough sleep, take this quiz created by the University of Utah Health Care Sleep Wake Center titled “How sleepy are you?” HERE.

 Or we can always take some tips from Goofy…


2011 EMA Awards Wrap-Up

This year’s Environmental Media Association Awards ceremony was a huge success!  Not only did it feature more A-list celebrities than past year’s, but it also brought more media attention.  The goal of the organization is to use the power of celebrity to get the word out about eco, green, and environmental practices, and this year they did just that! With a green carpet packed with celebrities and environmental gurus, the attendance brought more news and media outlet coverage.

The award ceremony was followed by an organic dinner prepared by award-winning chefs and a silent auction.  OMI donated a Terra mattress for the auction which also included other enviromental and eco-concious items, with all proceeds going to various charities.

The Honorees:

Justin Timberlake – EMA Futures Award

Marc Nathanson – EMA Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award

Southern California Edison – EMA Corporate Responsibility Award

PGA Green – EMA Green Production Award

The Winners:

Yogi Bear – Feature Film

Revenge of the Electric Car – Documentary

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – “Fracked” – Television Episodic Drama

Futurama – “The Futurama Holiday Spectacular” – Television Episodic Comedy

Real Time With Bill Maher – Episode 188 & HGTV Green Home 2011 – Reality Television

Bubble Guppies – Children’s Television

Take a look at the Highlight Video as well as pictures from the Awards below.

Amy Smart, Nicole Richie, Christa B. Allen, Kim Raver, Charlotte Ross
Aubrey Plaza, Darryl Hannah, Emily VanCamp, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Madeleline Stowe
Constance Zimmer, Wendie Malick, Perrey Reeves, Michelle Kwan, Justin Timberlake

Making The Organic Choice

In today’s world of economic struggles, more and more people are seeking organic products. This is proven by a recent study performed by The Organic Trade Association (OTA).

OTA is a membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. They send out newsletters with industry information, announcements and great tips. Check out their site here for more information or to sign up for their informative newsletters.

The study polled 1,300 U.S. families about their attitudes and behaviors relating to organic food. According to the study, 78 percent of U.S. families are choosing organic foods. The study also indicated that four out of 10 families are buying more organic products than they were a year ago. The main motivator for the drastic increase in organic demand was revealed simply by 48 percent of parents: “Organics are healthier for me and my children.”

The full study is available for purchase by visiting OTA’s bookstore.

This motivation is also reaching more into the media, informing more of the general public about ways to be more organic and the important reasons why. It is even reaching into the entertainment business through celebrity organizations like the Environmental Media Association. A great example of this is Eva Longoria, who chooses organic options.

Here is a clip of the actress stressing the importance of buying organic: