Has Saturday become a weekly hibernation day to make up for the sleep deficit you accumulated during the work week? Or has a constant lack of sleep in your system made you question whether or not you’re slightly on the superhuman side? There is such thing as “The Sleepless Elite,” and while many world leaders and successful business tycoons, inventors, and celebrities are apparently members, qualifying is complicated. So what are the actual signs?
It’s been pretty standard thinking to assume you need eight hours of sleep a night and to consider yourself prone to grogginess if you get anything less than seven. That said, most of us go to bed knowing our alarm is going to ring its ominous tone in six hours. Welcome to the digital age — do you want your coffee IV synced with your wireless artificial sunrise vitamin D lamp to make it more bearable?
“We might not have figured out immortality just yet, but if you get by on 5 hours of sleep a night, that adds up to about 18 extra years of consciousness by the time you’re 80”
Venti-sized Starbucks look more like Big Gulps in disguise these days than anything the average North American would have deemed a reasonable morning pick-me-up just a few decades ago. Being sleep deprived is just a way of life, and we’ve got the eye creams to cover it up. But — hidden amongst the zombies of morning elevator rides and packed subways — is the mystical “Sleepless Elite” — an exclusive group of people who make up somewhere between 1% and 3% of the population and only require a few hours of shut-eye a night.
We might not have figured out immortality just yet (frozen heads be damned!), but if you can get by on 5 hours of sleep a night, that adds up to about 18 years of consciousness by the time you’re 80. Think of all you could get done! Or at least how much E! Entertainment you could watch. The Wall Street Journal‘s Melinda Beck dubbed this group of fatigue immune superhumans “The Sleepless Elite,” in part because many of its self-proclaimed members are highly successful people. If we’d been worried about the 1% taking all the wealth, we should have been worried about the secret 2% of sleep deprivation wizards maxing life out to the fullest and ruling countries, running Fortune 500s, and inventing the next big tech craze in the process.
How do you know if you’re one of them? Well, did you invent Twitter? Not to worry — there are other signs. Despite not having any cool X-Men names as of yet, The Sleepless Elite tend to be on the thin side on account of having fast metabolisms, and while they might indulge in a morning coffee for the sake of ritual, they don’t require caffeine to kickstart their day or fix sleep hangovers. They also apparently have a high threshold for physical and psychological pain, making them clearly perfect candidates for The Amazing Race, Survivor, or working for Naomi Campbell.
“The Sleepless Elite tend to be on the thin side on account of having fast metabolisms, and while they might indulge in a morning coffee for the sake of ritual, they don’t require caffeine to kick-start their day or fi-x sleep hangovers”
Before using your jean size and penchant for caffeine-free mornings as badges of your obvious superiority to anyone who yawns, naps, or has to calls it a night because he or she has to get up early, don’t self-diagnose just yet. Lying to yourself won’t give you psychosomatic clarity and focus. Out of every 100 people who say they only need five or six hours of rest a night, only 5% actually get by mentally and physically without any setbacks. The rest are impaired by the deficit that accumulates every night you shortchange yourself on shut-eye. Driving might not be the best way to get to work come Friday morning if you’ve amassed eight hours you should have been recharging. That said, these famous self-proclaimed members of The Sleepless Elite at least claim to be the camels of unconsciousness — killin’ it in positions of power without turning down the sheets too long.
From world leaders, business tycoons, media moguls, celebrities, and inventors — these famous near-superhumans all made history turning their modest sleep cycles into bragging rights. Forget the tortoise and the hare — may the last awake subject win. Sleep deprivation is clearly the new Fight Club…