About 1-3 percent of people are "short sleepers" — those who can naturally function and even thrive on less than six hours of sleep. They tend to be very busy, energetic and outgoing, and they appear to have a higher tolerance to both physical pain and psychological setbacks.
More facts about sleep:
- Many people think that they are short sleepers but are actually just sleep deprived. The Centers for Disease Control has found that at least one-third of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night, making them chronically sleep deprived and at risk for a host of physical and psychological problems.
- Though there is no known way to teach yourself to become a short sleeper — it's a genetic trait — there is a learnable system called polyphasic sleep. Also known as the superman sleep schedule or the Da Vinci sleep schedule, those who follow the polyphasic sleep schedule take regularly scheduled naps throughout the day and night, which adds up to about five hours of sleep per day.
- Possible historical short sleepers include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison.