January 27, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(4):243. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460040053017

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It is said that certain distinguished men of the past and of the present time have been able to do extraordinary amounts of work on a minimum of sleep, the time used for that function ranging from six to four hours, or even less, according to the reports. The statements are popularly accepted as facts without question, and are also repeated in medical works. A recently published text-book on nervous diseases says that some few adults are able to get along with four or five hours of sleep, though the majority require eight or ten. It is a matter of medical as well as popular belief that men like Edison, Napoleon and others can do more work and endure more fatigue than the great mass of men, with only a little more than half as much sleep as is generally supposed to be required. This is a physical anomaly. There

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