Sleep Habits of
created very dream-like works of art. According to legend, he claimed to be fully
refreshed by a very odd, brief kind of nap. The story goes that he would put a metal
pan on the floor, and doze off in his chair, holding a metal spoon above the pan. When
he fell asleep, he would drop the spoon, and then wake up an instant later, when the
spoon hit the pan with a clatter. Do you think such a short nap (scientists would call
it a "micro-sleep") could possibly be refreshing? Try it!
A French mathematician named Abraham de Moivre reportedly slept about 20 hours a day in his old age! But it is much more common to hear about scientists who are "short sleepers" than ones who are "long sleepers" like Moivre.
For instance, rivals Thomas Alva Edison and Nikola Tesla both came up with many inventions. They both slept very little (although reports suggest that they took naps and/or fell into micro-sleeps fairly often.) Considering they both worked closely with electricity, they are lucky they were not hurt. Sleep deprivation can lead to dangerous accidents!
Busy world leaders (such as Winston Churchill , John F. Kennedy , and Napolean Bonaparte ) may get little sleep. (Considering the physical and mental effects of sleep deprivation and Jet Lag, what do you think might be the consequences for current world leaders?)
Fairy tales and folklore often tell about people who sleep for incredibly long periods of time, such as Sleeping Beauty and Rip Van Winkle . It is possible that these stories were actually inspired by real people (though wildly exaggerated). There is a rare sleep disorder called Kleine-Levin Syndrome that induces lengthy sleeping – sometimes for days or weeks at a time.
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