Successful Professionals’ Surprising Sleep Patterns Support the ‘Sleepless Elite’ Theory

Pop quiz: What do the CEOs of Yahoo, PepsiCo and Fiat have in common with Jay Leno, President Obama and Martha Stewart? All of them regularly get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep a night. They’re part of a group researchers call the “sleepless elite,” who manage to thrive on little to no sleep.

Despite the wealth of scientific literature that supports eight hours of rest a night, the sleepless elite prove that ample shuteye isn’t always linked to success. Business Insider put together a slideshow of successful executives, celebrities and politicians who have publicly revealed their surprising sleep patterns. Here are some of the famous names and faces included:

  • Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO: Four to six hours a night
  • Jack Dorsey, Twitter founder and Square CEO: Four to six hours a night
  • Donald Trump, The Trump Organization chairman: Three to four hours a night
  • Kelly Ripa, television personality: Five to six hours a night
  • Jay Leno, television personality: Five hours a night
  • Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chairman and CEO: Four hours a night
  • Dominic Orr, Aruba Networks president and CEO: Four hours a night
  • Willie Gest, television personality: Four hours a night
  • Sergio Marchionne, Fiat CEO: Four hours a night
  • Steve Reinemund, former PepsiCo CEO: Five to six hours a night
  • Tom Ford, fashion designer: Three hours a night
  • Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines co-founder: Four hours a night (during his working years; Kelleher is retired)
  • Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway Foods CEO: Four hours a night
  • Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Omnimedia chair: Less than four hours a night
  • Stanley McChrystal, former U.S. general: Four hours a night
  • Barack Obama, U.S. president: Six hours or less a night
  • Bill Clinton, former U.S. president: Five to six hours a night

Do you think that successful people require less sleep than the rest of us? How many hours of sleep do you need to get a night to feel rested and productive?

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