Kobe Bryant – the legendary basketball star who just tragically died in a helicopter crash – is one the greatest players of all time. His work ethic and practice routine are the stuff legends are made out of. It turns out that his unique sleeping habits helped contribute to his greatness.
How many hours did Kobe Bryant sleep per night?
Teammates Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh recall how, during the 2008 Olympics, they showed up for practice one morning to find Kobe already drenched in sweat and icing his knees like he just completed a full workout. Wade remembers that “Everybody else just woke up… We’re all yawning, and he’s already three hours and a full workout into his day.”
The main reason he was able to work so hard and why it seemed like he trained even while everyone else was sleeping is because, well, he was. Kobe Bryant practiced a biphasic sleep cycle, meaning that he slept two separate times per day instead of sleeping in one continuous block of time like most people do. This is similar to a polyphasic sleep cycle, where your rest is broken up so you sleep multiple times per day.
Kobe broke his sleep up into two 2-hour blocks, giving him a total of 4 hours of rest per day. This astonishingly short sleep time contrasts with fellow basketball star Lebron James, who claims that he sleeps 12 hours per night (three times longer).
Should you skimp on sleep like Kobe did?
If you think that a biphasic sleep cycle will work for you, it’s worth it to give it a try. We think that the standard 8 hours of sleep is the best option for the vast majority of people, but there are some people who are natural short sleepers, meaning that they can function perfectly with fewer hours of sleep.
Many other high-achieving celebrities tout their short sleeping habits, but there are some notable exceptions. If you experiment with a polyphasic or biphasic sleep cycle and you end up feeling tired and groggy, then you should probably go back to getting a full night of sleep. Everyone’s biology is different, and you shouldn’t fight against your nature in an attempt to seem like a harder worker. For most people, more hours spent in your bed leads to more success (as eSports “athletes” are finding out).