He barely needs any introduction. The South African born, American inventor, investor & entrepreneur has captured the imagination of millions with his work on audacious projects like Tesla – the greatest new car company ever to be seen in the last century, SpaceX – making travel and colonization of Mars and other planets an actual possibility along with many other achievements and projects.
But how does he balance it all? Being the CEO of one company is stressful enough with the problems of that company being distilled and routed to the CEO on a daily basis. Imagine getting that distilled problem set for multiple companies across multiple channels (your leadership, emails, memos, etc.). Most of us would wilt under the work pressure and sleep would be definitely affected both in terms of quantity and quality. Elon is in his 40s and has managed to maintain his hectic work schedule for decades now. It baffles many including his own biographer Ashlee Vance.
Elon tweeted “A little red wine, vintage record, some Ambien … and magic!” on June 2017 suggesting that he uses the popular medication Ambien to de-stress towards sleep. This is the same medication that shared blame in Heath Ledger‘s death in 2008. Jack Nicholson similarly warned against Ambien use after he nearly drove off a cliff while trying the drug out. The anecdotal evidence supporting Ambien’s safety is not great with high profile celebrities denouncing it. Therefore it is surprising that Elon would cite the use of Ambien in 2017 when his resources would allow for far more sophisticated means to de-stress.
Elon is a billionaire and could do the following instead to sleep more soundly and wake up more refreshed.
- He could invest in an elite Yoga teacher for instance and 30 minutes of pranayama should give him better results than Ambien.
- He could invest in a Fisher Wallace Stimulator and go to sleep in the most futuristic way possible. This method would certainly appeal to his futurist instincts. This has been written about on the Bulletproof blog post on electrosleep.
- He could actually hire famous or elite biohackers to directly track and optimize his sleep schedule. It would be wise for him to hire Dave Asprey, Tim Ferris, Ben Greenfield or any of the many elite biohackers out there. We can infer from his tweet on Ambien that he hasn’t sought any external help on sleep as none of the elite biohackers would ever recommend a medication like Ambien to put you to sleep. Even reading just one of their books would make for a more productive day after a sound sleep. Dave Asprey, for instance, sleeps for just 4 hours on most days and feels much more full of energy because of his use of biohacking techniques and technologies. Imagine what Elon could do in an additional 2 hours of productive waking time.
- He could invest in state of the art sleep systems, tracking devices & white noise machines to ensure he has deep, restful sleep.
To his credit, Elon does not appear to be a bedtime procrastinator so it looks like he sleeps on a reasonably regular schedule between 1 am and 7 am. It’s probably not enough given how stressful his days are but at least it’s regular. Looking at how often he travels though and we would quickly realize that there might be a problem when he switches time zones. Having a $ 70 million private jet certainly, will help as he would be able to follow his regular sleep routine even as he jets across time zones. Flying coach would definitely limit this option but thankfully it does not appear to be an issue for Elon.
I’ve written more about his lifestyle habits in my book “Mind of Musk” that delves into the psyche and thought process driving Elon to sacrifice so much for his vision to become reality.
In conclusion, Elon would have to prioritize his health higher up in order to maintain himself to a level that would eventually allow him to actually visit Mars, survive the trip there and assist in building a colony. How many of you future Elon Musks are taking your sleep seriously?