The people who need very little sleep

Helen Thomson, for BBC:

What would you do if you had 60 days of extra free time a year? Ask Abby Ross, a retired psychologist from Miami, Florida, a “short-sleeper”. She needs only four hours sleep a night, so has a lot of spare time to fill while the rest of the world is in the land of nod.

“It’s wonderful to have so many hours in my day – I feel like I can live two lives,” she says.

Short-sleepers like Ross never feel lethargic, nor do they ever sleep in. They wake early – normally around four or five o’clock – raring to get on with their day. Margaret Thatcher may have been one – she famously said she needed just four hours a night, whereas Mariah Carey claims she needs 15.

I’ve always been quick to sleep and quick to wake. I don’t need much more than five hours of sleep. The only difference is that I’m a night owl — without the need to match the schedule of others, I’d quickly revert to my natural 4 AM to 9 AM schedule.