Health and Wellness

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and other highly successful people who sleep 7 to 8 hours a night

Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon, can be seen on the fringes of the company's novelties event.
Andrej Sokolow | picture alliance | Getty Images

Accomplished people from Apple CEO Tim Cook to singer Dolly Parton claim that waking up extremely early is the key to making the most out of a workday.

But when it comes to productivity, success and health, getting a solid night's sleep is just as important.

Tobias Lutke, founder and CEO of the e-commerce company Shopify, said in a tweet Thursday that he has to sleep a full night in order to be successful at work.

"I need 8ish hours of sleep a night," Lutke wrote. "Same with everybody else, whether we admit it or not." Indeed, it's recommended that adults get seven or more hours of sleep a night, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Tobias Lutke tweet

Lutke's tweet was in response to a debate on Twitter about whether it's necessary for employees to work nights and weekends.

Jason Fried, CEO and founder of Basecamp, said that requiring employees to work long hours is a sign that a company is "broken." However, Ryan Selkis, CEO and co-founder of bitcoin company Messari, argued: "If you don't work nights and weekends in your 20s, you're not going to have a successful career. Sorry."

Jason Fried tweet

However, plenty of people who have had successful careers also swear by sleep.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates said that he used to regularly pull all-nighters in the beginning of his career at Microsoft.

"I knew I wasn't as sharp when I was operating mostly on caffeine and adrenaline, but I was obsessed with my work, and I felt that sleeping a lot was lazy," he recently wrote on his blog.

Now, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder gets at least seven hours of shut-eye, and wrote that all people need that much, "even if you've convinced yourself otherwise."

Jack Ma

Jack Ma, billionaire entrepreneur and founder of the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, has said that sleep is key to handling stress and problem-solving.

"If I don't sleep well, the problem will still be there," Ma said at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos. "If I sleep, I have a better chance to fight it."

Research supports Ma's habit: Studies suggest that sleep deprivation negatively impacts your cognitive functioning, which includes decision-making, creativity and memory.

Jeff Bezos

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has said that getting eight hours of sleep helps him make the high-level decisions that are necessary for a senior executive.

"Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority," Bezos told Thrive Global in Nov. 2016. "For me, that's the needed amount to feel energized and excited."

LeBron James

NBA star LeBron James' job requires him to perform at his peak both mentally and physically, which is why sleep is such a big part of his recovery routine.

James gets at least eight hours of sleep a night, and sometimes aims for nine, he said on a Nov. 2018 episode of the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show." While he doesn't always "wake up and feel 100%," making sleep a consistent habit is the best way to recover, he said.

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