Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet are some of the most renowned individuals to ever set foot on the planet. Their contributions to technology, e-commerce, marketing, operations, and a number of other industries have, to some degree, changed how the world works.

Individuals who subscribe to the daily lives of these entrepreneurs credit their effectiveness and efficiency to their day-to-day habits, including and especially the amount of sleep they get every day. Marcel Schwantes of Forbes, for example, sees a good night’s sleep as a “key to success,” citing a new study that uncovers the sleep routines of 50 famous people that include Bezos, Gates, and Buffet. 

This article will therefore look into how much sleep the world’s most accomplished people get every day. The science behind sleep will also be detailed in a later part of this article. 

Sleep in the Business Industry

Business and commerce are a fast paced, fast moving, and rapid  endeavor. The stock market industry, for example, waits for no one. Constant monitoring of charts, graphs, statistics, and data vis-à-vis the potential for growth of certain companies is necessary if one aspires to be successful in this field.

The importance of sleep kicks in once the investor has to make informed decisions. These decisions will have a significant impact on the investor’s career, wealth, company, or business, thus, getting their mind right before even attempting to make such a decision is a prerequisite. 

Lack of sleep impairs the investor’s most vital asset: decision making. Picture yourself as a sleep-deprived corporate worker who goes to a meeting with their superiors and colleagues and has to deliver a presentation regarding the status of a project they are working on. Your lack of sleep may lead you to deliver the presentation terribly that could get you demoted or worse, fired. You may not answer the questions from your superiors as aptly and accurately as possible, which will make them lose faith in you and your capabilities. 

A study cited by Science Daily concludes that sleep plays an especially important role “in not only identifying a good business idea, but in evaluating it, and believing it is viable.” The same study enumerated several sources that indicate a connection between sleep and job performance. However, the focus of this study was to find a link between sleep and cognitive skills needed to identify and evaluate an idea.

Although experience and business knowledge both also emerged as factors that could account for better cognitive performance, sleep was, by far, the most important factor according to the study. 

The study was conducted by asking at least 700 entrepreneurs from around the world about their sleep patterns, the hours of sleep they get each day, and the types of sleep they subscribe to. They were then asked to generate business pitches which were ranked by an independent panel of business experts according to potential. 

Jeffrey Gish, one of the authors of the study says, “The evidence suggests that less sleep leads to less accurate beliefs about the commercial potential of a new venture idea.” Gish, along with three other researchers compared the individual performance of the respondents over multiple days, and found that the “results are consistent even for entrepreneurs who do not sleep as much on average as the general population.”

Studies like Gish’s prove just how helpful getting a good night’s sleep is not just for the decision-making of entrepreneurs, but for the focus of students, the creativity of teachers, the intuition of lawyers, the dexterity of doctors, and a myriad of other skills from individuals in whatever work arena. 

The Sleep of the Most Accomplished People

In an Emmett Watson article from The Seattle Times, Bill Gates is quoted as saying: “Even though it is fun to stay up all night, maybe taking a red-eye flight, if I have to be creative, I need seven hours. I can give a speech without much sleep, I can do parts of my job that way, but in thinking creatively, I am not much good without seven hours. 

Not surprisingly, the majority of successful people share the same principles as Bill Gates according to an article that collates the sleep routines of 50 successful people. The key findings of the said article are as follows: 

  • Mark Zuckerberg is a fan of working for long hours. Zuckerberg works late into the night on Facebook so he could leave as much time in the day to spend with his family and friends as possible. While he gets to bed by 3 a.m., he sleeps in until 8 a.m. for five hours of shut-eye. In other words, Zuckerberg can be considered an outlier in this list of 50 successful people, all of whom get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Elon Musk is also a workaholic who has admitted to have worked 120-hour weeks compared to the average employee who only accommodates 40 hours for work. He now manages to read a little before grabbing just six hours of sleep a night, going to bed at 1 a.m. and rising at 7 a.m.
  • Jeff Bezos claims to prioritize sleep: “I prioritize it. I think better. I have more energy. My mood is better." The second richest man in the world sleeps seven to eight hours per night. Bezos was once quoted stating that he specifically ties good sleep to his capacity to make smart decisions.
  • Donald Trump, also known as "the third most powerful person in the world," is one of the individuals in the list with the shortest amounts of sleep. Trump works right up to bedtime and sleeps only three hours!
  • One of the longest sleepers, on the other hand is National Football League quarterback Tom Brady and National Basketball Association point guard Stephen Curry. Both athletes get an astounding nine hours of sleep per night! 
  • Bill Gates’ evening habit is to first read for one hour before finally hitting the sack. He believes that reading improves his sleep which usually lasts for around seven hours. 
  • Warren Buffet is known as a notoriously wide and big reader. But next to reading, what he does the most is sleep. Buffet prefers sleeping for 8 hours and sometimes even more.

The 50 successful people cited in the article may not all agree on a uniform amount of sleep, but the variety of their sleep patterns tell us that everyone has a different evening ritual, type of sleep, and habits before sleeping. A solid, reliable, and lucrative work pattern necessitates a bedtime routine that perfectly suits oneself.

This is therefore a task for all of us to assess different bedtime routines and choose whatever one suits us the best and gives us the most efficient, effective, and productive day. 

The Science Behind Sleep

We have all had days when we just want time to fast forward to night time so we can finally recover from consecutive sleepless nights. If truth be told, these days were never the best for any of us. We were irritated and petty about the tiniest details. We lacked focus and attention and would say things that make absolutely no sense to the person we were speaking with. And we just felt foggy and sleep-deprived. 

A poor night’s sleep will have significant impacts on your brain’s function. Foremost, the recommended amount of sleep is warranted for brain plasticity, which is essentially the brain’s ability to adapt to input. If you sleep too little, you become unable to process the lessons you learned in class, or any learning during the day at that. It is likely that you will have no recollection of learning these concepts in the future. 

Researchers believe that sleep may promote the removal of waste products from the brain cells. This process occurs less efficiently when the brain is awake, and way frequently when the brain is resting. Sleep is vital not just for memory and focus, but for the rest of the body as well. When people cannot get enough sleep, the risks of health issues will rise.

Studies say that sleep-deprivation is directly correlated with depression, seizures, high blood pressure, and migraine. Without sleep, the immunity of a person is compromised and the likelihood of illness and infection are therefore increased. In metabolism, missing sleep can create a prediabetic state in an otherwise healthy person. 

Health and sleep are connected in more ways that you could ever imagine. Not only will it help you think more creatively, it will also increase your chances of living a longer and healthier life. 

Final Thoughts

Although often neglected, sleep is a vital component of every person’s health and wellbeing. It enables the brain to come up with creative ideas and enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Getting the recommended amount of rest every day also helps prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration. 

In the business industry, sleep helps entrepreneurs enrich their creativity to come up with business pitches of high potential of profitability. For executives, their decision making is made better thanks to healthy sleep that helps them keep their focus and attention. 

Sleep should be prioritized by all individuals, and not just entrepreneurs and individuals in the business industry. It is an endeavor that helps all of us recharge to be physically and mentally prepared for the day. 

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