Executive Insights

Jeff Bezos explains why he thinks getting 8 hours of sleep is key to making important decisions in the workplace

Business Insider US


  • Jeff Bezos says he made sure to get eight hours of sleep every night, explaining that he didn't want to risk making poor executive decisions because he's "tired or grouchy."
  • The Amazon CEO also said he would take on "mentally challenging" discussions and decisions only before lunch — even if it meant leaving them for the next morning.

To ensure he's not "tired or grouchy" when making important decisions, Jeff Bezos says he makes an effort to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.

In a interview last week with David Rubenstein, the cofounder and co-executive chairperson of The Carlyle Group, the Amazon CEO discussed some of his habits and daily life at Amazon.

"I prioritise it," Bezos said of sleep. "I think better. I have more energy. My mood is better."

See also: Jeff Bezos admits Amazon has 'the weirdest meeting culture you will ever encounter'

"As a senior executive, you get paid to make a small number of high-quality decisions," he said. "Your job is not to make thousands of decisions every day. Is that really worth it if the quality of those decisions might be lower because you're tired or grouchy?"

Bezos has talked about the importance of getting eight hours of sleep before.

"Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority," Bezos said in a 2016 interview. "For me, that's the needed amount to feel energised and excited. Mostly, as any of us go through our lives, we don't need to maximise the number of decisions we make per day. Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions.

"If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra 'productive' hours, but that productivity might be an illusion. When you're talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity."

Speaking with the crowd at the Washington Hilton, Bezos also said he participated in "high IQ" meetings that could be "mentally challenging" only before lunch — even if it meant waiting until the next day.

"I go to bed early and I get up early," Bezos said. "I like to putter in the morning. So I like to read the newspaper. I like to have coffee. I like have breakfast with my kids before they go to school.

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