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Infographic of the Day

The Sleep Schedules Of 27 Of History's Greatest Minds

What do Freud, Marina Abramović, Beethoven, and you have in common? For one, the need to sleep.

The Sleep Schedules Of 27 Of History's Greatest Minds

[Image: Ben Franklin and Sleep mask via Shutterstock]

The science of sleep and its glorious effects on creativity, productivity, and sanity gets a lot of press these days. That said, the sleep habits of some of your favorite writers, musicians, and artists may surprise you a little.

The bedtimes and rising times of history’s greatest minds are inventively illustrated in this New York infographic based on Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.* The infographic seems to debunk the myth that geniuses stay up through the wee hours working manically, and that you're more creative when you're tired—most of these 27 luminaries got a wholesome eight hours a night.

Unfortunately, the infographic doesn’t yield any sleep-related tricks for unleashing your own latent genius, other than following the boring eight-hour rule. You could try rolling like Balzac, a prodigious coffee-drinker who slept from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. and then napped mid-morning, but he was likely creative in spite of rather than because of his schedule. A few others skimped on their sleep too, of course—hard-partying F. Scott Fitzgerald slept between 3:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., and Sigmund Freud averaged just six hours a night, but his love of stimulants far stronger than caffeine is well-documented. So if you think pulling all-nighters is the key to finishing up your Great American Novel, reconsider after taking a nap.

*An earlier version of this article failed to credit New York for the visualization and misspelled the first name of Marina Abramović. We regret the errors.