In his earlier years while engrossed in building Microsoft, Bill Gates attempted to function on minimal sleep during his 30s and 40s.
However, his perspective has drastically shifted, now valuing sleep highly and using a sleep tracker to monitor his sleep score.
In his podcast, “Unconfuse Me With Bill Gates,” he discussed this change, recounting how he used to equate sleep with laziness but has since adopted a more competitive approach towards achieving sufficient sleep. This transformation was influenced by reading “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker in 2019, which highlighted how neglecting sleep undermines various aspects of health and well-being.
1. Sleep and Brain Health: Gates recognizes the significance of sleep for brain health, especially after witnessing his father’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Deep sleep aids in clearing beta amyloids, linked to Alzheimer’s, while consistent sleep deprivation hampers memory formation and cognitive function.
2. Decision Making: Research indicates that sleep deprivation can distort decision-making. Subjects who lacked sufficient sleep made riskier choices over time, often without realizing the impairment in their judgment. Gates acknowledges his past struggles with sleepiness impacting his sharpness.
3. Creativity: Gates underscores the role of REM sleep in fostering creativity. Ideas and solutions often emerge during this phase, after several hours of sleep. He interacts with an audience through daily texts, engaging in conversations about self-care and motivation.
Gates’ shift in perspective on sleep stems from a newfound understanding of its profound impact on cognitive abilities, health, and overall well-being.
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