One of a professional’s most important daily rituals is how and when they sleep, since this affects how well they perform on the job.
For people at the top, who often face intense pressure and packed schedules, sometimes these sleeping habits can be quite strange.
Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, for instance, sleeps in a chamber that’s 8,500 to 9,000 feet above sea level to force his body to work even while resting. Meanwhile, famed writer Charles Dickens always slept facing north, and inventor Nikola Tesla never slept for more than two hours a night.
Here’s a look at the most bizarre sleeping habits of highly successful people.
Cruise's snores are apparently so bad, he sleeps in a sound-proof 'snoratorium.'
'Whoever uses the snoring room cannot be heard outside the locked door,' an alleged visitor to the actor's house told the Daily Mail. 'It's very small, comfortable and dark, maybe a former nursery.'
Every day at 5 p.m., the prime minister would drink a weak whisky and soda before taking a nap for nearly two hours. Churchill said this 'siesta,' or short nap, allowed him to get one and a half day's worth of work out of every 24 hours.
Churchill was known to be a night owl and would often work through the night. Due to his irregular sleep schedule, he was said to hold War Cabinet meetings in his bath.
'I've got to sleep 15 hours to sing the way I want to,' Carey told Interview magazine in 2007. She also admitted to sleeping with 20 humidifiers around her bed.
'Basically, it's like sleeping in a steam room,' she said.
According to Lisa Rogak's book 'Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King,' the science fiction writer explains his odd night-time ritual as:
'I brush my teeth, I wash my hands. Why would anybody wash their hands before they go to bed? I don't know. And the pillows are supposed to be pointed a certain way. The open side of the pillowcase is supposed to be pointed in toward the other side of the bed. I don't know why.'
Da Vinci followed an extreme form of a polyphasic sleep schedule called the Uberman sleep cycle, which consists of 20-minute naps every four hours.
This unconventional sleep cycle may have given the artist/inventor/scientist more awake time during his days, but could have also made it difficult for him to work on long-term projects.
The writer always kept a navigation compass with him to ensure that he wrote and slept facing north and believed that this quirky practice improved his creativity.
Dickens supposedly suffered from insomnia.
By placing his bedroom at this high altitude, Phelps decreases oxygen, which forces his body to work harder to produce more red blood cells and deliver oxygen to his muscles. It also helps Phelps increase his endurance performance and prepare himself for competitions at high elevations.
'Once I'm already in my room I still have to open a door to get into my bed,' Phelps said on CBS News program '60 Minutes' in 2012. 'It's just like a giant box. It's like 'boy and the bubble.''
Tesla got more out of the day with his limited sleep schedule. He claimed to never sleep for more than two hours a day and reportedly once worked for 84 hours in a lab without sleep.
'I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success ... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything,' he said.
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