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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

C-Suite Advisory

Why Sleep Is Non-Negotiable For The Richest People On The Planet

Studies have shown that getting a good night’s sleep is a critical component in maintaining people’s health and wellbeing. Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity, helping you perform to the best of your ability the following day.

Poor sleep has also been linked to weight gain, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, inflammatory problems, and other ailments, highlighting the importance of getting enough rest.

Ever-increasing demands on time make it difficult for many people to get the optimum amount of sleep they require. Those difficulties are accentuated at the sharp end of the business world, with many executives working excessively long hours and neglecting their sleep.

However, the people who have progressed to the very top of their chosen profession recognize the importance of the time they spend in bed. Read on as we look at why sleep is non-negotiable for some of the richest people on the planet.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos prioritizes sleep

As a boss of one of the biggest technology companies in the world, Jeff Bezos understands the importance of being able to function properly during the working day.

To help make the big decisions that keep Amazon’s shareholders happy, the 55-year-old sticks to a tried and trusted sleep routine.

His methods appear to be working, with Amazon generating sales of $63.4 billion during the second quarter of 2019 – a 20% year-on-year increase.

“Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority,” he said. “For me, that’s the needed amount to feel energized and excited.

“As any of us go through our lives, we don’t need to maximize the number of decisions we make per day. Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions.

“If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra “productive” hours, but that productivity might be an illusion.

“When you’re talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity.”

Sleep boosts Bill Gates’ creativity

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, once claimed that he envied people who could function without sleeping much, but it is not a practice he subscribes to himself. The billionaire recently regained his position as the second richest person in the world, having more than doubled his net worth in the last 10 years.

Now mainly focused on charitable work through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 63-year-old invests in high quality mattresses to enhance his sleep. “I read an hour almost every night – it is part of falling asleep,” he said. “Like anyone who loves books, if you get into a good book, it’s hard to go to sleep.

“I used to work all night in the office, but it’s been quite a while since I lived on catnap. I like to get seven hours of sleep a night because that’s what I need to stay sharp and creative and upbeat.

“Even though it’s 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’m not much good without seven hours.”

Collapse teaches Arianna Huffington a vital lesson

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to a plethora of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.

For Arianna Huffington, sleep deprivation caused a life-changing event that led to her re-evaluating her sleep choices.

The founder of The Huffington Post once collapsed through exhaustion, eventually waking up in a pool of her own blood. She now has a sleep routine that she refuses to deviate from.

“We have all the data now that shows how it (sleep) affects every aspect of our health,” she said. “The irony is that a lot of people forego sleep in the name of productivity. But, in fact, our productivity is reduced substantially when we’re sleep deprived.”

“Yet the myth persists that we can do our jobs just as well on four or five or six hours of sleep as we can on seven or eight.

“It’s getting worse and worse because of our addiction to devices. Now with the digital revolution, we all have a hard time disconnecting from our technology and going to sleep.

“The good news is that there’s a much greater awareness about the risks of sleep deprivation and the importance of sleep. We are seeing a huge response from millennials and people in the workplace.”

‘Unpredictable’ Richard Branson likes ‘routine’

Virgin Group CEO and founder Richard Branson is famed for his daring nature, although he admits that he enjoys routine and structure when it comes to sleep.

The 69-year-old worked hard to establish Virgin as a global brand, but says that he can’t function properly unless he gets enough rest.

“While I’m known for being predictably unpredictable – I’m always up for an adventure and love a calculated risk,” he said.

“I do, however, have a morning and nightly routine. I find structure to start and finish the day helps me to focus, and achieve the things I need to.

“Whether I’m traveling the world visiting our Virgin businesses, in the UK catching up with my family, or in the BVI with my wife Joan and guests, I always like to wrap up the evening with a sit-down dinner.

“After dinner, I like to retreat to a quiet space with a cup of tea and do a quick email and social media sweep. I make sure to switch off from the digital world for a while before going to sleep, so I my brain can unwind.


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Anna Papadopoulos
Editor, writer, teacher, consultant. Advocate for plain language, journalism, free speech, and tolerance. Feminist. Based in Sydney, Australia.
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