10 Famous Modern and Historical Nappers

Discover some of the most famous nappers in history, from Salvador Dalí to Jimmy Buffett and others.
Churchill knew how to tackle those midday slumps.
Churchill knew how to tackle those midday slumps. / Keystone/GettyImages

Napping is great, and everybody knows it. Studies have shown that taking a regular siesta could have some benefits, especially where physical and mental health are concerned. Even leading neurosurgeons recognize the restorative benefits of dozing off.

In fact, many famous folks throughout history—including politicians, artists, musicians, actors, and athletes—discovered the benefits of napping for themselves and incorporated it into their routines. Below is a list of 10 figures who definitely appreciated a good midday rest.

1. Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Edison
He reportedly regarded sleep as a waste of time. / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

Renowned inventor Thomas Alva Edison makes the list for good reason. He reportedly despised sleep—which he viewed as antithetical to productivity—and instead preferred periodic naps, often in one of the many cots he spread across his property. Other times he would catch 40 winks outside on the ground, and he was known to nap even while hosting company at his home. Edison is said to have awoken from his rest feeling rejuvenated and ready to continue his work—maybe it was even the secret to his 1093 patented inventions.

2. Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill - Prime Minister
Folks seeking the "blessed oblivion" of a good nap would be in good company with Churchill. / Central Press/GettyImages

Winston Churchill was another avid napper. In his memoir, Churchill shared his view that people were not meant to work a full day without the “blessed oblivion” of a nap, even one as short as 20 minutes. While his doctor did not prescribe the prime minister naps the way he prescribed him alcohol during Prohibition, Churchill typically spent every afternoon during World War II napping for an hour or more. He helped lead the Allied armies to victory. Coincidence?

3. Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dali
The "key" to a good nap is in your hands (literally). / George Konig/GettyImages

No list of famous nappers is complete without mentioning Salvador Dalí, a pioneer of surrealist art, and apparently, also in napping regimens. In his 1948 work 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship, Dalí claimed napping was essential and shared his “secrets” to napping effectively: The key (pun intended, wait for it …) is to sit in a chair lightly holding a heavy key or object between your thumb and forefinger while also dangling your arm over the side of the chair.

According to Dalí, after dozing off, you’ll eventually drop the key, and the noise will wake you. At times, he also used a metal mixing bowl and spoon in place of keys (he’d place to bowl in his lap and hold the spoon, and awakened once it dropped into the bowl). This unique approach to snoozing was all part of his “Paranoiac-Critical” method, a series of practices Dalí explored to help him access his subconscious and enter into a kind of waking yet dream-like state. Adventurous nappers might also want to follow his recommendations of specific foods (like sea perch head) and wines to tee up for the perfect nap, too.

4. Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett
Good ideas come to those who nap. / Michael Putland/GettyImages

What better way to follow a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” than with a snooze? In a 2016 interview with The New York Times, Jimmy Buffett talked about his love of napping—in fact, the story of the Margaritaville brand begins in 1996 with Buffett’s wife waking him from a nap. Years later, Buffett went on to name his final album, 2023’s Equal Strain on All Parts, after his grandfather’s description of a nap.

5. Axl Rose

Axl Rose
Don't cry if you miss the soundcheck, guys—Axl is snoozing. / Michael Putland/GettyImages

It wasn’t exactly “Paradise City” back in 2011 for the metal band Steel Panther after they agreed to open for Guns N’ Roses at The Forum in Los Angeles. According to drummer Stix Zadinia and bassist Lexxi Foxx, they weren’t allowed to hold a soundcheck during the four hours preceding the concert. The reason? Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose shut down the arena so he could nap. While this isn’t necessarily one of the more controversial things Axl has done over the years, that’s a rock and roll move if ever one was!

6. Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Maybe it's not a real nap unless you're posting about it on social media, too. / Mat Hayward/GettyImages

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creative force behind Hamilton and the Encanto soundtrack, hasn’t said anything explicit about this love of naps. But his fondness for them couldn’t be any clearer based on these photos from 2013, 2015, and 2019 of him catching a few winks, all of which were posted on his Twitter (now X) feed. If Alexander Hamilton had been more like Lin-Manuel, maybe his duel with Aaron Burr would have turned out differently …

7. Natasha Lyonne

Natasha Lyonne
"SNL" and naps don't exactly mix. / Tommaso Boddi/GettyImages

Native New Yorkers don’t necessarily fit the stereotype of the napper, but actress Natasha Lyonne isn’t shy about her love of a little siesta. Back in 2022, she claimed hosting Saturday Night Live really threw off her usual nap regimen, describing the show as “real wake-up central.” It’s not the only time she's spoken up about her love of a good snooze, either. In 2014, she told Interview magazine that she “definitely would rather take a nap than get angry.” Words to live by!

8. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
When napping doesn't do the trick, meditation can. / Andy Cheung/GettyImages

Novak Djokovic might be the No. 1 ranked men's singles tennis player by the Association of Tennis Professionals, but he also takes his sleep schedule very seriously, at times turning to short naps to supplement his target 8.5 nightly hours. Djokovic’s dozing tends to run for up to about 30 minutes and he awakens feeling recharged. He supplements with meditating, and recently claimed, “Sometimes it’s just five [minute] breathing exercises or something that will just recharge me and allow me to have a bit more energy for the rest of the day. Basically, yeah, that’s the whole routine.”

9. Jacoby Brissett

Jacoby Brissett
Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Jacoby Brissett, quarterback for the Washington Commanders, considers napping as important as meditation for calming his nerves and unwinding after a tough game. “Just a couple minutes just to be to myself and kind of just relax in the midst of all the commotion of meetings and walkthrough and working out and stuff like that. Just trying to relax a little bit,” the quarterback said in 2022. Even former coaches agree: “He’s a big nap guy,” Drew Petzing, former quarterback coach for the Cleveland Browns, said of Brissett.

10. Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin
Olympians love naps just as much as the rest of us. / Jonas Ericsson/Agence Zoom/GettyImages

Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin is enthusiastically vocal about her dedication to napping. “[T]he first thought I’ll have [upon waking up] is: I cannot wait for my nap today. I don’t care what else happens. I can’t wait to get back in bed,” Shiffrin told Outside magazine in 2017. She reportedly catches extra z’s for an hour or so daily, sometimes even getting a little shuteye in the snow during downtime in competitions.