Healthy adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Image Credit: Pexels/Cottonbro

A text message; the snooze button; a video of cats; a celebrity Instagram post – all modern-day hurdles to achieving optimal sleep. How would you rate your sleep?

Click start to play today’s Spell It and “wake” to the issues surrounding our need for reinvigorating sleep.

According to an April 2022 survey from the US-based National Sleep Foundation, the average adult in the US sleeps for seven hours on work nights, and an extra hour on weekends. But even this is not enough. They advise that healthy adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

Lack of sleep has been linked to increased heart attacks, obesity, hypertension and reduced productivity, according to US-based news magazine The Week. But it’s an issue that’s plagued people for centuries. Here are some notable insomniacs, and how they dealt with their sleepless state:

1. Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton Image Credit: Supplied

The scientist suffered from severe depression and was so affected by his poor sleep habits, he stopped working altogether. Historians attribute two of his infamous episodes to his lack of sleep. In 1678, Newton disputed with some colleagues over aspects of his theory of optics, and promptly suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1693, he had another breakdown, which ended up in him retiring from scientific research. Historians also think factors (aside from insomnia) came into play, such as chemical poisoning from experiments and the effects of depression.

2. Vincent Van Gogh

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Self-Portrait, by Vincent Van Gogh Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Dutch painter experienced insomnia during the entire period of his struggles with mental health. He tried to resolve the issue by dousing his bed with camphor (a kind of turpentine). Some scientists believe the camphor slowly poisoned him, and was one of the drivers that led to his suicide.

3. Groucho Marx

The American comedian experienced sleeplessness after the 1929 stock market crash in the US, which caused him to lose an enormous amount of money. To avoid boredom in the middle of the night, he reportedly called random strangers on the phone and jokingly insulted them. He also used the time to write reams of jokes, many of which became classics.

4. Arianna Huffington

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From left: Dr. Oz (Mehmet Cengiz Öz) Turkish American television personality, Arianna Huffington Founder of The Huffington Post and David M Clark, Professor of Experimental Psychology at University of Oxford,UK at a session on the opening day of World Government Summit 2019. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The founder of US-based news website The Huffington Post, has long been known as both a workaholic and insomniac. After a series of sleepless nights, Huffington one day collapsed from exhaustion, broke her cheekbone, and received five stitches over her eye. Since then, she has become an activist against insomnia. She calls sleep deprivation a “feminist issue”, and encourages women to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.

Do you suffer from sleeplessness? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at