A Slight Handicap
“Back in my early Microsoft days, I routinely pulled all-nighters when we had to deliver a piece of software. 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,” Gates wrote in a recent blog post.
In the book, Walker, the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science, explains how neglecting sleep undercuts your creativity, problem solving, decision-making, learning, memory, heart health, brain health, mental health, emotional well-being, immune system, and even your life span.
“I realize that my all-nighters, combined with almost never getting eight hours of sleep, took a big toll,” he wrote.
Gates’ Top 4 Tips to Sleep Better
While Gates doesn’t necessarily subscribe to all of Walker’s reporting, he still believes that ‘Why We Sleep’ is a fascinating book and credits it with helping him understand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.
The Microsoft founder ended his post with a few practical tips that any founder can employ to sleep better. He recommended:
- Replace any LEDs bulbs in your bedroom, because they emit the most sleep-corroding blue light.
- Set your bedroom temperature to 65 degrees at the time you intend to go to sleep.
- Limit alcohol. While it might help induce sleep, it “is one of the most powerful suppressors of REM [rapid-eye-movement] sleep,” Walker says.
- Short midday naps (no later than 3 pm) are likely to improve creativity and coronary health.