June 19, 2013
The CEO Sleep Conundrum
Posted by David Zaring

One of the reasons I got interested in the business section of the paper, lo these many years ago, was because of stories like this:

 Martha Stewart has claimed to sleep about four hours a night, as has Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo (PEP). Her predecessor, Steve Reinemund, has gotten up around 5 a.m. to run 4 miles most mornings of his life after going to bed around 11. "I sleep normally between five, six hours," he said in an interview. "I've never gotten more." But it seems to be enough: "Most of the time I don't wake up with an alarm."

Is not needing much sleep a secret to success -- giving people a chance to work long hours and still have a life?

It was almost as if the world recounted in the business pages covered stories about the world real people lived in - and you can't say that about the other sections of the paper.  I have to think a lot more about sleep than I do about cloture.

But CEOs-don't-sleep, while still a meme, is no longer the meme on sleep.  The meme is now this: people who don't sleep or eight more hours per night are crazy, lying to you, and/or cheating themselves and others of their best waking efforts.

Hence this:

Think you do just fine on five or six hours of shut-eye? Chances are, you are among the many millions who unwittingly shortchange themselves on sleep.

Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.

According to sleep specialists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, among others, a number of bodily systems are negatively affected by inadequate sleep: the heart, lungs and kidneys; appetite, metabolism and weight control; immune function and disease resistance; sensitivity to pain; reaction time; mood; and brain function.

Yikes!  I'm still waiting for the new bien pensant thinking to be reconciled with the hard charging CEO who had to claim he got by on 3.5 hours at night and a ten minute catnap during the day.

I also want to know how to reconcile the new meme with new parents, who don't just stop producing/obtaining resources for their children/etc, or Skadden associates, who I don't think are getting outcompeted by associates who make sure they get in their 8 squares per night.

But what do I know?  I had to dispense with sleep entirely long ago.  Can't let the other guy read more law review articles than you.....

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