Bizarre Sleep Habits of the Most Successful People

The offbeat sleep habits of these overachievers may have you rethinking your nightly bedtime rituals.

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Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

There’s no question that Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful women in the world, and she couldn’t have gotten there without proper rest. The business mogul says she has one bedtime constant—a bath. “In the evening, I have a bath before bed; it’s a ritual. I’m a bathing professional—I have different bubble baths, salts, beads, and oils,” she told Harper’s Bazaar.

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Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart

Only 26 percent of Canadians report getting an average of 8 hours of sleep a night, according to mattress manufacturer Endy. In Martha Stewart’s case, she can get by on just four hours of sleep per night. She claims she is so busy tending to business and life, that’s generally what she clocks. “It’s an exhausting lifestyle, and I always say sleep can go. It’s not important to me right now,” she told Web MD. “I never stay in bed late—I can’t! In my house, the first people arrive at about 6:30, and I have to be up well before that.”

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Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

Strenuous workouts and constant competitions mean Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps needs to make sure his sleep is not only plentiful, but solid. In an interview with 60 Minutes, he admitted he sleeps in a chamber filled with air that mimics sleeping at an altitude of between 8,500 and 9,000 feet to prepare for the 2012 Olympics. This reportedly makes his body produce an increased amount of red blood cells, delivering oxygen to his muscles. Phelps describes the setup as “a giant box.” Now that’s dedication. These soothing yoga poses can help you sleep, too.

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celebrity sleep habits
photo credit: shutterstock

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West

Love ‘em or hate ‘em Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West know the importance of sleep. The couple reportedly spent almost $1 million on beds and mattresses when they moved into their new home. They opted for the exclusive (and extremely pricey) Savoir Beds (Oprah Winfrey, Madonna and Elton John are also reportedly fans). Here are 8 things to consider before you invest in a new mattress.

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Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

To keep her powerhouse voice in tip-top shape, Mariah Carey insists on, get this, 15 hours of sleep. She also likes to keep things steamy in her boudoir, but not in the way you might think. “Literally, I’ll have 20 humidifiers around my bed,” she said in a V magazine interview. “Basically, it’s like sleeping in a steam room.” Looking for an easier way to get more zzzs? Try these expert-approved tips for a good night’s sleep.

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Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson cannot go to sleep until she’s released all of her creative juices in the form of songwriting. In an interview with Self, the mother of two says if an idea strikes as she’s about to doze off penning new tunes has to happen right away. “That’s why I have a hard time sleeping,” she said. “A lot of those times are at night.” Clarkson may be on to something—here’s how to uncover what your dreams really mean.

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Author Stephen King speaks at Book Expo America, in New York. King and his son, Owen, have co-written a novel, Sleeping Beauties, to be published in September

Stephen King

Renowned author Stephen King is known for penning tales that may keep even his biggest fans up at night with their horror-filled pages, but when it comes to his own bedtime rituals, he’s very specific. He needs his pillowcases to be pointed in a certain direction in order to drift off to dreamland. “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,” he said in the book Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King. “The open side of the pillowcase is supposed to be pointed in toward the other side of the bed. I don’t know why.” What’s your pillow personality?

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Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

According to The Telegraph, Tom Cruise is actually a pretty considerate snorer. The actor reportedly had a “snoring room” built in his home with soundproof walls in an effort to contain his loud nighttime breathing. The “snoratorium” was constructed while Cruise was married to Katie Holmes so they could both sleep better. Don’t have a snoring room like Tom Cruise? Try these tips to stop snoring completely.

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United States: c. 1922 Portrait of Thomas Edison, inventor.

Thomas Edison

Despite being known as one of the greatest inventors in history, Thomas Edison didn’t rely on very much sleep for his sharp thinking. According to SleepAdvisor, Edison actively avoided too much rest, regarding it as a waste of time (those of us experiencing our current sleep-deprived culture would likely disagree). He preferred a polyphasic sleep cycle which SleepAdvisor describes as a nap-oriented pattern meant to maximize awake time. If you’re sleep deprived, you could be overeating by as much as 385 calories.

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Eminem attends the premiere of "Southpaw" in New York


Rapper Eminem, who has suffered from sleep issues in the past, reportedly puts aluminum foil over his windows, no matter where he is in the world, to help block out sunlight and help him get some shuteye. He also plays white noise while he rests to fully get himself in the sleep zone. These bedroom accessories may help improve your quality of sleep.

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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla attends SXSW to answer questions from registrants at ACL live in Austin, Texas.

Dream before drive

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has one hectic schedule, but as passionate as he is about his work, he also knows how important sleep is to his health. For this reason, he regularly logs six hours of sleep between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. In cases where he feels compelled to be near business no matter what the time, he keeps a sleeping bag in a conference space adjacent to Tesla’s production line. Short on time in the morning? Not making your bed could improve your health.

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Leonardo Da Vinci Italian Painter Sculptor Architect Engineer and Scientist 1452 - 1519

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci engaged in a sleep pattern that’s almost as astonishing as the man himself. He followed what is known as the Uberman sleep cycle, which entails taking 20-minute naps every four hours. This allowed the artist more awake time to create and invent, although feels like a largely impractical way to live, not to mention it doesn’t allow one to achieve the deepest phase of restful sleep.

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Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller 1689. Newton was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian considered to be one of the most influential people in human history.

Sir Isaac Newton

Believe it or not, Sir Isaac Newton only logged two hours of sleep per night, choosing to work the other 22 hours in the day. While we certainly benefited from his incredible intellect and long hours, we have to wonder how much more this great mind could have achieved had he been able to work with proper rest.

A version of this story originally appeared on as 15 Bizarre Sleep Habits of Some of the Most Successful People.

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