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Bill Gates wants you to sleep more in 2020 and here’s why

Gates credits a book for helping him understand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 02, 2020, 08.57 AM IST
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​Bill Gates realised that all-nighters, combined with almost never getting eight hours of sleep, took a big toll​ on him.
Bill Gates realised that all-nighters, combined with almost never getting eight hours of sleep, took a big toll on him.
Founders and entrepreneurs are no stranger to pulling all-nighters, especially on the eve of a big pitch or investor meet. But Microsoft founder Bill Gates is urging more founders to prioritise sleep and sharing a few practical tips from his own arsenal.

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.


It wasn’t until Gates read Matthew Walker’s 'Why We Sleep', on the recommendation of his daughter and American investor John Doerr, that he realised how sleep deprivation had slowly cost him.

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.

Bill Gates, Ratan Tata, Jack Ma: Business Leaders Who Accepted Their Biggest Mistakes

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Faux Pas

18 Jul, 2019
Bill Gates recently said that his ‘greatest mistake ever’ — reportedly worth $400 billion — was to not create Android at Microsoft. A look at other regrets of businessmen.(In pic from left: Bill Gates, Ratan Tata, Jack Ma)
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