Billionaire Bill Gates revealed he would sleep as little as possible while building his Microsoft fortune, calling the need for shuteye lazy and “unnecessary.”
The tech titan said he realized the folly of his thinking while discussing brain health during a podcast with comedian Seth Rogan and his wife, Lauren Miller Rogan.
“In my 30s and 40s when there would be a conversation about sleep, it would be like: ‘Oh I only sleep six hours, and the other guys like: ‘No I only sleep five’ and ‘Well sometimes I don’t sleep at all,’ and I’d be like: ‘Wow those guys are so good. I have to try harder because sleep is laziness and unnecessary,” Gates said during the first episode of the couple’s podcast, “Unconfuse Me,” last month.
However, since Gates’ father passed away in 2020 of Alzheimer’s, the Microsoft co-founder said he’s reversed his opinion on the need for proper sleep.
“Now what we know is that to maintain brain health, getting good sleep even back to teen years is super important,” Gates said on the episode, which centered around Alzheimer’s disease.
“One of the most predictive factors of any dementia, including Alzheimer’s, is whether you’re getting good sleep.”
Rogan agreed, recalling that “when I was young, the convention was ‘you’ll sleep when you’re dead.’”
He added that the shift in cultural attitudes towards sleeping have shifted similarly to attitudes towards smoking cigarettes.
“They used to think smoking is healthy. It is similar. That’s where we are culturally — the things people think and understand about their own brains are where they were in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s so far off from what actual science is reflective of,” the Canadian actor said.
Gates has started tracking his daily “sleep score,” which monitors the length and quality of sleep, he said.
Representatives for Gates didn’t immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
This wasn’t the first time Gates confessed that he had unhealthy sleeping habits while serving as the chief software architect, then chairman, of Microsoft — roles he held up until 2014, when he transitioned away from the tech behemoth to focus on his philanthropic work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“I felt that sleeping a lot was lazy,” he wrote in a 2019 review of the book “Why We Sleep,” which was posted to his blog, GatesNotes.
He described the book as “an expert explaining the benefit of a good night’s rest,” starting the blog post with another memory: “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.”
However, after reading the Matthew Walker novel, “I realize that my all-nighters, combined with almost never getting eight hours of sleep, took a big toll,” the billionaire penned.
And though he admitted to not buying into all of Walker’s reporting, “such as the strong link he claims between not getting enough sleep and developing Alzheimer’s,” he recognized that “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.”
Gates went on to share takeaways from the book on how to improve sleep hygiene.
Tips, according to Walker, included replacing LED lightbulbs in your bedroom, keeping the room’s temperature to a cool 65 degrees, limiting alcohol intake and taking a short midday nap sometime before 3 p.m.