Are World Leaders in Business and Politics Getting Enough Sleep? (infographic)

“A problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” — John Steinbeck

Some of the most powerful and influential people on the planet might benefit from taking a leaf out of Steinbeck’s book. Although it is generally recommended that adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, some notable world leaders in business and politics seem to have other ideas.

Uninterrupted sleep is vitally important for maintaining health and wellbeing. Amongst other advantages, a good night’s sleep affects circulation and immunity, as well as concentration, ability to focus, and mood. That might be considered worthwhile for world leaders, who daily face the challenges of running multi-million dollar enterprises, or dealing with pressing global issues with diplomacy and decision. However, highly successful people are often outliers in various respects, and this can apply to their sleep patterns, as much as anything else.

When it comes to getting enough sweet slumber to keep up the momentum on busy, high-pressure lives, world leaders are as varied as their personalities. Some seem to survive on a whisper of sleep, while others make a point of prioritizing a healthy work-life balance. Online Mattress Review has put together a handy infographic comparing the sleep routines of powerful and influential people.

The Sleep Routines of World Business Leaders

There were ten business leaders included in the study, and their sleep routines varied widely, between Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, getting a solid 8.5 hours each night, to Virgin CEO Richard Branson and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg sneaking in just five hours of sleep per night. Zuckerberg clearly sets his own agenda, as he takes time to exercise and socialize earlier on in the evening, before working in the night until 3 am.

Three other business leaders in the list get less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, works most of the evening and night, then reads a little before clocking 6 hours’ sleep. Wine connoisseur-turned-CEO of Vayner Media Gary Vanderchuk also works most of the evening and sleeps for 6 hours, although he chooses to have dinner just before tucking in to bed. CEO of Alphabet Inc and Google, Sundar Pichai seems to have a little more fun in the evening, finishing work at 10 to party and socialize before getting 6.5 hours of sleep.

Some big-hitters in business seem to prioritize work-life balance more highly, however. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, each get a decent 7 hours of sleep a night, with Gates and Bezos both taking time for dinner, washing dishes, and spending time with friends and family before bed. Cook favors an early bedtime of 9.30, as does Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The hugely successful investor, philanthropist, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett has the most unique bedtime routine. Before he gets his 8-hours of shuteye at 10.45 each night, he reads for several hours, and takes time to practice one of two hobbies: playing bridge or ukulele.

The Sleep Routines of Political Powerhouses

The pressures of political life can clearly have an impact on a person’s sleep habits, as four out of six people featured in the list get less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. The 45th PoTUS, Donald Trump, is kept awake until 1AM by the stresses and frustrations of his job, and wakes again at 4am after just 3 hours of rest.

Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, on the other hand, gets twice as much sleep, between 1 and 7am. While Trump seemingly never switches off, working right up until he sleeps, Obama has a more calming and sociable evening - although he does sneak a cheeky late-night snack before bed!


The former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously slept only 5 hours each night. However, he made sure to make up for that during the day, as he was a great advocate of siestas and relaxing baths. He was even known to dictate political memos during bath time! Meghan Markel, the Duchess of Sussex also has a pattern of sleeping 5 hours. Her evenings apparently involves ‘low key outings,’ - whether or not these are work-related may have changed since she took a step back from official royal duties.

Compared to those holding official political roles, political activists seem to have a more balanced approach to their bedtime routines. Environmental activist Greta Thunberg reads and relaxes before sleeping a solid 9 hours, and the late poet and activist Maya Angelou slept 7.5 hours from 10PM each night. She took time to unwind with dinner, reading, and relaxing. That’s a ‘phenomenal’ way to keep your heart and mind refreshed.

Here are some of the top findings to come out of the study: Donald Trump is one of the shortest sleepers on our list – working right up until bedtime and then sleeping for just three hours. Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Cook and Richard Branson are all early birds, all waking up at or before 5AM. Our ‘nightiest night owl’ is Mark Zuckerberg, who presumably spends the small hours on Facebook (‘working’) before he hits the sack at 3 am. Jeff Bezos and Oprah make sure they get their recommended 8 hours of sleep each night.


Read next: How to Stay Focused When Working From Home (infographic)

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