Sleep and Its Secrets: The River of Crystal Light

By Michael S.; Aronoff | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
The Early Bird Catches
the Worm, so Let Me
Sleep on It

Sleepiness, Performance,
and Creativity

SLEEPINESS AND NAPS

It has been said that life imitates art. Well, perhaps. But in a case just recently reported, life, it seems, imitates the artist, or at least the legend of an artist: Leonardo da Vinci, driven by his need to make time for his many pursuits in the arts and science, is rumored to have slept only one and one-half hours a day ... this, by taking 15-minute catnaps every four hours.

In a recent study noted in the journal Science, a researcher by the name of Claudio Stampi was able to place a 27-year-old volunteer on a "sleep diet," averaging 2.7 hours of sleep a day, by scheduling repetitive cycles of six 15-minute naps daily. Although there was no evidence of any decrement in performance over a 9-day period, the longer-term consequences of such a regimen have not been determined (with respect either to enhanced productivity or to possible detrimental complications). Stampi did, however, note a possible confounding issue: if you are able to free

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