Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos briefly dethroned Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the world’s richest person.
With an estimated, combined net worth of $175 billion, the two clearly have an eye for launching successful businesses and the similarities don’t stop there. Both billionaires also place a premium on one thing: sleep.
Bezos, who can now add Whole Foods to his growing empire, has long touted the benefits of getting a full night’s rest.
“I’m more alert and I think more clearly,” Bezos told the Wall Street Journal in 1999. “I just feel so much better all day long if I’ve had eight hours.”
Fast-forward almost 18 years and billions of dollars later and the retail magnate still makes sure to get in a full eight hours.
“Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority,” he says. “For me, that’s the needed amount to feel energized and excited.”
Getting an optimal amount of rest helps Bezos stay alert throughout the day, enhances his productivity and boosts his decision-making abilities.
Like Bezos, Gates now emphasizes the importance of getting adequate rest, but the businessman hasn’t always felt this way.
In 1997 he wrote for the New York Times that he envied people who can survive on three or four hours of sleep a night because they have more time to work learn and play.
The billionaire philanthropist has since changed his tune and admits that although he can give a speech without much sleep he is unable to think creatively if he isn’t well rested.
“I used to work all night in the office, but it’s been quite a while since I lived on catnap,” says Gates. “I like to get seven hours of sleep a night because that’s what I need to stay sharp and creative and upbeat.”
Bezos and Gates are not alone. Highly successful people like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and media mogul Ariana Huffington also tout the importance of getting enough shut eye.
The National Sleep Foundation says sleepiness can impede job performance and notes that when you’re groggy, the brain is unable to process and retain information well.