We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Nothing beats the benefits you get from sleep. Everything from your mind to your mood gets a boost from a good night’s shuteye, and sneaking in a midday nap might even make you smarter. But despite the brain benefits from getting plenty of Zzz’s, there is one reason to consider cutting back. Two historic geniuses took “you snooze, you lose” a little too seriously, and if their claims can be believed, it did wonders for their productivity.
Rumor has it that Leonardo da Vinci and Nikola Tesla both maintained an intense sleep cycle called “Uberman,” which consists of taking six 20-minute naps, spaced evenly throughout the day. The practice is based off of an extreme form of polyphasic sleeping, where you snooze for short periods more than three times in a day, Curiosity reports. Here are the 38 genius habits your 80-year-old brain will thank you for.
There is an added perk to these unusual resting patterns, though. By sleeping for just one and a half to two hours every day, da Vinci was able to gain up to six “productive hours” of work every day, according to author Claudio Stampi. “By following this unique regimen, he ‘gained’ an additional 20 years of productivity during his 67 years of life,” Stampi wrote in his book Why We Nap.
Research even backs these claims up. According to a 1989 study published in the journal Work & Stress, polyphasic sleep strategies can improve personal performance in the long run. These are the 50 surprising things your brain wishes you knew.
But while this might seem great in theory, we wouldn’t recommend trying it at home. Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your brain and even jeopardize your job. All the more reason to get your recommended seven to nine hours of Zzz’s tonight—and not feel the least bit guilty about it. Next, check out these 8 simple ways you can get smarter in your sleep. If you struggle with insomnia, try out a weighted blanket.