do you sleep more than Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos?

do you sleep more than Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos?

Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos (left) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Axel Springer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Sleep Foundation recommend adults get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. But who has the time for that?

Certainly not Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Inc., who has been working over 120 hours per week since taking ownership of Twitter Inc. in late October. Despite admitting to struggles with sleep, Musk only gets about six hours of shut-eye before immediately checking his phone for new emergencies.

Musk’s grueling schedule has become legendary, with fans in awe of his single-day itinerary, which includes testifying in a lawsuit, attending a Tesla event and meeting with Tesla’s artificial intelligence team late into the night. He’s even provided beds for his Twitter employees and sleeps at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

But Musk is not alone in his sleepless pursuit of success. Famous historical light sleepers include Nikola Tesla, who would go on as little as two hours of sleep while working on an invention, and Thomas Edison, who believed more than five hours of sleep was unproductive and indulgent. Benjamin Franklin restricted his own sleep to less than four hours, while Thomas Jefferson slept only around two hours per day.

While most are struggling to hit snooze, the Sleepless Elite are up and at ’em, tackling their mountainous responsibilities. These are the lucky few who possess the ‘Thatcher gene’, a genetic mutation that allows them to function normally on less sleep.

Take Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook. He rises at 3:45 a.m. every morning to get a head start on the 700 to 800 emails he receives each day. For Cook, sleep is nothing but a hindrance.

Although tempting to believe that sleeping less is the key to success, a 2017 study in the Annals of Neurology reported that not getting enough sleep can lead people to make to riskier decisions without realizing it. Sure, Tesla and Apple may be doing fine, but the consistent lack of sleep could be taking a toll on the health of these successful CEOs. As Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill show, not all great minds eschew sleep, with Einstein sleeping for 10 or more hours and Churchill getting his eight hours by taking a long afternoon nap.

As the founder of Inc.Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about making important decisions and leading a successful company. And he believes that getting enough sleep is crucial for his ability to do so.

In an interview with David Rubenstein, Bezos emphasized the importance of making high-quality decisions as a senior executive. He argued that it’s not worth sacrificing the quality of those decisions for the sake of working longer hours or cutting back on sleep.

There may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to balancing work and sleep, but it’s important to prioritize rest and recognize the impact of sleep on cognitive function and overall health.

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