Being a genius could be more trouble than it’s worth. Reports have shown that while most geniuses excel in their chosen field, they often struggle with the mundane tasks of everyday life. Simple things like meeting new people, small talk and working a 9-5 have created many a headache for those blessed with a very high IQ. However, it seems that many of history’s intellectual renegades had one of life’s small, simple pleasures down to a fine art: sleep.
There is a cultural stigma surrounding the relationship between work and sleep, with the general consensus being that groundbreaking achievements are born out of all-nighters. However, Mason Currey, author of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, reckons that most geniuses enjoyed a respectable 7 or 8 hours a sleep per night.
Currey has even come up with a handy diagram that outlines the bedtimes kept by notorious overachievers Beethoven, Honore de Balzac, Sigmund Freud, Charles Dickens, WH Audren and Mozart, amongst others. While they all enjoyed a few good hours of shut-eye each night, their bedtimes were all over the place. Balzac went to bed at 6pm while Dickens went to bed at midnight. Others, including Darwin, enjoyed a nice one-hour nap each afternoon. How lovely.
A regular sleeping pattern doesn’t rule out other eccentricities. WH Audren thought he had it all figured out. His life was ruled by a meticulous schedule that accounted for eating, drinking, writing, shopping, crossword puzzles and the mailman’s arrival. However, as his days were fueled by amphetamines, Audren relied on sedatives to send him off into the land of nod.
Currey’s research into the sleeping habits of genius provides a bit of relief for those of us accustomed to a good nights sleep. Sleep deprivation is not proportional to success.
Picture sourced here.