Geniuses and sleep

ball in hand
A number of geniuses, including Aristotle, used the ball in hand sleep method, according to which they would continue to sleep until the ball fell out of their hand, meaning that their mind had went into the dream state, and ceased to hold control over the operation of the body, hence the hand would open, the ball would hit the floor, make a loud noise, and wake up the person in the dream state.
In genius studies, geniuses and sleep refers to the habits, rules, formulas of noted thinks, particularly those top 1000 geniuses.

Geniuses have always been particular about sleep, amount of sleep, and division of sleep, study in relation to sleep, among others. Italian genius Leonardo da Vinci is said to have utilized a "sleep formula", sleeping no more than four hours at a time, so to optimize his intellectual output. Several thinkers including Aristotle, Aristotle’s student Alexander the Great, and John Wilkinson (1728-1808) used the ball in hand sleep method, in which they would sleep with an iron or brass ball in their hand, which was held over an iron or brass jug, whereby if they stirred, typically owing to say a dream, they would wake up, and thus insure continued interruption to their slumbers, in some cases waking up to write down the thought or inspiration of their dream. [1]

Ichondras of Milletus (?) contrived a plane so narrow that he could not sleep on it except at full length, and of such an height and length as to insure his sliding down it in about six hours, at which point his feet would dip into a vase of cold water, thereby disturbing his rest. [2]

The following is an infographic (Ѻ) look at sleep patterns of a few geniuses:

Sleep 1

In the 1990s, Libb Thims used a two alarm system, with the day divided by two segments of sleep, being that dreaming and nightmares in particular are very effective for producing and processing effect knowledge assimilation, digestion, and consumption. Thims, in respect to alarm devices, devised a two-stage alarm system, wherein he had first alarm, and in times wherein sleep total amounted two four-hours (range) per day, he employed a second loud radio alarm that was locked in a box, with the key to the box placed off in a distant place, e.g. out in the car, so to be sure he was alert enough to get up during periods of intense sleep deprivation.

In modern times, to note, it is known that too much sleep has an inverse ratio to genius effect, according to the neurochemical finding that too much sleep has an effect one’s dopamine levels, and hence on the drive or depression neurochemicals.
sleep formula
The daily operation formula of Benjamin Franklin, which shows that he slept 7 hours daily, from 10PM to 4AM. [5]

The following are related quotes:

“May not genius be shown in arranging a man’s diet, exercise, sleep, reading, reflection, writing, etc., in the best order and proportion, for his improvement in knowledge?”
John Adams (1758), “On the Characteristics of Genius” (age 23 diary entry) [3]

“Scientific investigations are a sort of warfare, carried on in the closet or on the couch against all one’s contemporaries and predecessors; I have often gained a single victory when I have been half asleep, but more frequently found, on being thoroughly awake, that the enemy had still the advantage of me when I thought I had him fast in a corner.”
Thomas Young (c.1810), on the mathematics of Joseph Lagrange [4]

“5AM? I guess I can stay up that late.”
James Maxwell (c.1848), on being told (Ѻ) that students were required to attend a 5AM mass, on a certain day of the week

1. (a) Author. (1841). “Article”, The Metropolitan (pg. 399), Volume 31. James Cochrane.
(b) Dutton, Paul. (1994). The Politics of Dreaming in the Carolingian Empire (pg. 6). University of Nebraska Press.
(c) Burke, James. (1996). The Pinball Effect (pg. 250). Back Bay Books.
1. Author. (1841). “Article”, The Metropolitan (pg. 399), Volume 31. James Cochrane.
3. (a) Adams, John. (1758), “On the Characteristics of Genius”, Diary Entry.
(b) Adams, John. Butterfield, L.H. (1966). The Earliest Diary of John Adams (pgs. 72-73) (editors: Lyman Butterfield, Wendell Garrett, Marc Friedlaender). Harvard University Press.
(c) Siemers, David J. (2010). Presidents and Political Thought (pg. 24). Missouri University Press.
4. Robinson, Andrew. The Last Man Who Knew Everything (pg. 25, 183). A Plume Book.
5. Currey, Mason. (2013). Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Alfred A. Knopf.

Further reading
● Reddick, Mark. (2017). “Do Geniuses (Like Einstein) Have the Same Sleep Patterns as US?” (Ѻ),, Sep 11.

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