Why Most Successful People Are Insomniacs? Sleep & Work Patterns of The 10 Famous People


Late Night Work

An open ended Q&A from Mark Zuckerberg is a situation that doesn’t present itself in everyday life. Ever know what you’d ask when the colorblind youngest billionaire gave you an opportunity to ask him any details of his life?

Well, Dan Higgins, a FB user knew!

Zuckerberg Questions

Good question but great answer Mark!

This reply of his has been going viral on the internet since Tuesday, which gets us to actually review our work and sleep patterns. The average work hours universally accepted are 35-40 hours a week and Mark works more than the average employee in his company which most of us thought was other way round. 50-60 hours a week work out to 8-10 hours a day! The spur-of-the-moment session also attracted FB posts from Sir Richard Branson and singer Shakira.

The most important take away from this reply of Mark was definitely realizing that the uber successful don’t go about their work day dictating notes and sharing drinks. It’s working harder than the guy who is hired to work hard. Examining on the same lines by studying the work and sleep patterns of great thinkers and doers, the myth is busted!

The successful people make it a point to work more than the average employee. Below given are some of the work/sleep routines of game changers who make Zuckerberg’s 50-60 hours a week look petty.

Narendra Modi- Prime Minister of India

In a recent Google Hangouts, our Honorable PM was also asked the same question, to which he said he barely gets 3.5-4 hours of sound sleep daily, leaving him 20 hours every day to work since 11 years. A habitual Yoga and Pranayama practitioner, Modi says it helps in keeping him composed and calm throughout the day.

Mukesh Ambani- Chairman, Reliance

When his father left him a fortune called Reliance, without even thinking of working his next generation’s lavish needs could’ve been fulfilled. But Mukesh turned many heads when he said, “My father who worked as a gunman could set up Reliance that valued at Rs. 200 crores. I being a graduate expect to create more than that” And yes he did, today the world’s largest oil refinery is in India and also consistent entry into Forbe’s List of Richest. And that would not have been possible if not for his 15-18 hour per day work schedule.

Indra Nooyi- Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

She admits that she’s insomniac and gets about 4 hours of sleep every day. She puts in 12-15 hours of work every day and likes to work late. Courtesy: Working as a receptionist during the nights while studying at Yale seems to have prepped her for her big job. In magazine interview she confessed her sleeping problem saying, “They say sleep is a gift that God gives you ….that’s one gift I was never given.” With 3 daughters, Nooyi also confessed that family time was seldom observed.

Jack Dorsey- Twitter founder

If there’s someone who can manage daily 2 shifts of 10 hours each, it’s Jack. He works 10 hours developing Twitter and close to 10 hours managing Square, so that leaves just 4 hours to doze off. Even in this tight schedule, Jack manages to wake up at 5:30 am and go for a jog.

Marisa Mayer- CEO and President, Yahoo!

Even before accepting the CEO position in Yahoo in 2012, her ex-Google execs don’t recall her seeing her anywhere else but office. She was and is still known for pulling off sometimes 130 hours a week ( that’s roughly 21 hours per 6 days.) Surely a sleep deprived Mayer takes off long vacations after the hurricane of work has subsided.

Steve Jobs- Apple Founder

Jobs was head-over-heels passionate about Apple which explains him staying backing till midnight at the office. An erratic sleeper, his employees were used to receiving 3:00 am work assignment emails and sometimes 3:00 am satanic pink slips.

Barack Obama- President, United States

A basketball fan, raises in the morning at 7:00am without even alarm and with meagre 4 hours to spend with the family, Obama is always working late in the night till 1:00am often. With 6 hours of sleep, he certainly seems to doing a great job.

Indira Gandhi/Margaret Thatcher- Counterpart PM, India and England

Both of these women of steel were known for their 4 hour sleep routines and coincidentally both were up by 4 in the morning. After few hours of essential routines, both have been known for getting to their office not later than 9.

Donald Trump- Chairman, Trump Organisation

With a “light breakfast” to fuel the day, Trump is known to be working 20 hours a day. He was quoted saying, “How does somebody that’s sleeping 12 and 14 hours a day compete with someone that’s sleeping three or four?”

Surprisingly enough, the most iconic men to have walked this earth have shared the same belief. Sir Isaac Newton was known for his famous 2 hour sleep. Thomas Edison took naps instead for sleeping it off because he felt sleep was a waste of time. Leonardo Da Vinci who also believed that sleep is all you have to do in your grave, took 20 minute naps every 4 hours of work. Mozart’s work pattern is as famous as his music, he was known to play from early morning till midnight 1:00am.

One thing is for sure after you observe the work/sleep patterns of the stalwarts, for them sleep is mere activity between achieving their dreams. Like our revered educator, Abdul Kalamji rightly put it, “Dream is not what you see in sleep, it is the thing which does not let you sleep.” It’s time we give up worshipping mediocrity because life was meant for more and most.

[Image: Shutterstock.com]

  1. Amit Patekar says

    Good Article on sleep and work. I would like to add one point, no matter how less or how much more one sleep, what is important is here is quality of sleep and which is only possible if you have consistent go to bed time and wake up time.

    1. Vaishnavi says

      Hey Amit,

      Thanks for taking time to read and reply. Point noted- the quality of sleep is the most crucial.


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