Spell It: Sleepless Celebrities…Famous Insomniacs and How They Got Away


According to an April 2022 survey by the US-based National Sleep Foundation, the average adult in the US sleeps seven hours on work nights and an extra hour on weekends. But even that is not enough. They advise healthy adults to need seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

Lack of sleep has been linked to increased heart attacks, obesity, high blood pressure and reduced productivity, according to US magazine The Week. But it’s a problem that has plagued people for centuries. Here are some notable insomniacs and how they dealt with their insomnia:

1.Isaac Newton

The scientist suffered from severe depression and was so affected by his poor sleeping habits that he stopped working altogether. Historians attribute two of his infamous episodes to his lack of sleep. In 1678 Newton argued with some colleagues over aspects of his theory of optics and soon suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1693 he had another depression, which led him to retire from scientific research. Historians also believe that factors (apart from insomnia) came into play, such as chemical poisoning from experiments and the effects of depression.

2.Vincent Van Gogh

The Dutch painter suffered from insomnia throughout the period of his struggles with mental health. He tried to solve the problem by sprinkling his bed with camphor (a kind of turpentine). Some scientists believe the camphor slowly poisoned him and was one of the driving forces behind his suicide.

3. Groucho Marx

The American comedian suffered from insomnia after the 1929 stock market crash in the United States, which caused him to lose a huge amount of money. To avoid boredom in the middle of the night, he allegedly called strangers on the phone and jokingly insulted them. He also used the time to write tons of jokes, many of which have become classics.

4. Arianna Huffington

The founder of the American news site The Huffington Post has long been known as a workaholic and an insomniac. After a series of sleepless nights, Huffington one day collapsed from exhaustion, broke her cheekbone, and received five stitches over her eye. Since then, she has become an activist against insomnia. She calls sleep deprivation a “feminist problem” and encourages women to sleep at least seven hours a night.


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