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Famous Nappers: Celebrities and Politicians Who Could Sleep Anywhere

Many even attributed their extraordinary achievements, in part, to the restorative benefits of a nap

Winston Churchill

En español | Great Britain's prime minister often took time out for a nap, even as he worked tirelessly to defeat Hitler and the forces of fascism during World War II. "You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures," he wrote. "Take off your clothes and get into bed. That's what I always do…. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one — well, at least one and a half."

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Yogi Berra

One of the most famous catchers in baseball history, he played in 21 World Series. Equally known for his wit, he once said, "I take a two-hour nap, from 1 o'clock to 4."

Walter Iooss/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Lyndon Johnson

A dedicated napper, LBJ sometimes held meetings in his bedroom while resting in bed. Richard Nixon once recalled a meeting with LBJ lounging in bed in his pajamas. Lady Bird Johnson entered in her dressing gown, greeted Nixon and climbed into bed to join her husband.

Ralph Morse/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Thomas Edison

America's greatest inventor — the man who earned 1,093 patents and oversaw one of the largest laboratories in the world — loved to nap. During one productive stretch he worked for three days straight, taking only short naps.

Underwood & Underwood/Corbis

Eleanor Roosevelt

One of the nation's most beloved first ladies and later chairwoman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, she was an eloquent crusader for civil rights and basic human rights. To prepare herself for a public speech, she often took a short snooze.

Underwood & Underwood/Corbis

Salvador Dali

The surrealist painter attributed some of his creative genius to his habit of napping. He specialized in frequent but extremely brief naps. He would fall asleep holding a spoon. As soon as he nodded off, the spoon would fall out of his hand, crashing onto a plate on the floor and waking him up.

David Gahr/Getty Images

Ronald Reagan

Reagan, who was president during the fall of communism, often found time to nap. He once joked with members of the press: "No matter what time it is, wake me up, even if it's in the middle of a Cabinet meeting."

Dirck Halstead/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

John D. Rockefeller

One of the world's richest men and most generous philanthropists, he made a habit of napping for an hour or two after lunch. "A little rest now and then helps a man to accomplish more," he said.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Bill Clinton

He was famously caught on video napping during a Mets baseball game and at a memorial for Martin Luther King Jr. The former president, who claims that he could fall asleep leaning against a wall, is unapologetic. "On the days when I'm a little short of sleep," he told CBS News anchor Dan Rather, "I try to work it out so that I can sneak off and just lie down for 15 minutes, a half hour, and it really makes all the difference in the world."

Swoan Parker/Reuters

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Published September 2012