woman heading out for an early morning run

For humans, a nightly doze plays an important role in health: It enables people to think clearly, function effectively and provides an opportunity for the brain to wash itself.

Most adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation (opens in new tab), yet some people have as little as five or six. Former U.S. president Barack Obama, for example, admitted to sleeping for as few as five hours per night during his presidency, while Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, claimed she only needed to get her head down for four hours each night.

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