What Jeff Bezos Says About Sleep
Before my soon-to-be three year old offspring arrived into the world, I didn't really think much about sleep. Weekend lie-ins were frequent, jetlag was a semi-normal byproduct of my day job, and late nights in bars and restaurants were a reasonably frequent occurrence.
Back in 2004/5, when I started doing the "startup thing" I had a very weird sleep schedule. I was single then, my own boss, and was building a technology business. I had read books full to the brim with Silicon Valley lore. Late nights, sleeping under desks. Work hard, play hard. #startuplife.
So I thought it was totally okay to stay up all night coding, go to sleep in the morning, snooze for the day, get up, write some more code, freshen up, then meet some friends at a local bar. Some nights - even weeknights - I'd make it to a local nightclub, returning home at 3am. More coding, then sleep.
The cycle continued.
I was in my early twenties then. I am not in my early twenties now. And, although late night newborn feeds unlocked magical staying powers I didn't realise I had, the reality is I need my sleep more than ever. I'm still young, but I'm not an endless vat of energy. My priorities are different now.
So I loved hearing Jeff Bezos talk about the value of sleep. His sleep hypothsis is simple. Every single day of our working lives we're tasked with making a small number of very high quality decisions. These decisions could have long-term implications, so likely require deep thought.
A lack of sleep leads to a lack of thoughtful decision making. These days - in the knowledge economy at least - we're paid for what's in our brain, not what's on the clock. Our experience, stored within our brains, is what creates value. If our brains our tired, that value stays under lock and key.