Why Entrepreneurs Can't Sleep
Posted by Pierre de la Fortune on March 25, 2015 @ 12:07 a.m.
Written by Jason Freedman's
What's the connection?
Why do so many entrepreneurs have insomnia? I've got a few theories I want to share. These are all based on observation and personal experience. I would love to hear your thoughts. For those of you still in school, I would love love love to see what actual research has been done. Please leave any good research finds in the comments here or on Hacker News.
Theory 1: It's Genetic. The same set of genes that makes for an entrepreneurial predisposition also causes insomnia. Just by using the word 'genetic' I can say confidently that we're beyond my pay grade. Go to it grad students! Who has research to support or refute this claim?!?! I have some thoughts that it's related to hypomania, but that's for another post.
Theory 2: Insomnia makes 'normal' careers too difficult I wonder what my life would have been like if I could have gotten up at 6am. I remember my one normal internship as a consultant in college. We were due in the office at 7:30am and it was an hour commute. I was a zombie that entire summer. There were many reasons that I didn't like that career direction, but I do wonder how many times smart, driven people have shied away from a career path because the mornings were just too painful. Have any of you had this experience? With the traditional 9-5 jobs so physically challenging, the ability to work later in the day as an entrepreneur become almost a necessity.
Theory 3: Entrepreneurs create a self-perpetuating night owl culture Normal 'office hours' in our startup are 11am to 3am'ish. At my buddy's startup, they started offering really good lunches to encourage people to get out of bed and come into the office. Want time with the founders? Join them at 11pm when the office is in full gear. We have one guy on our team that has really bad delayed sleep phase syndrome. When he's around, everyone else also shifts a few hours later in the day.
Theory 4: Entrepreneurs need to focus. Night is simply more productive. When we were building FlightCaster, we were dealing with some gnarly shit. As an engineering team, our guys couldn't really focus on tough stuff until everything settled down. Even with 'wired-in' rules, quiet rooms, and no meetings, there's still lots of commotion during the day. At night, no one bothers you and you can focus for 8 hour chunks. One of the reasons I didn't care about the morning start time was that our guys were being so damn productive at night. And more productive than normal people. In fact, for a period we tried a normal schedule and it destroyed our productivity. So, those are my theories. I usually try to offer stuff with this blog, but this time I'd love your collective help. Insomnia affects a huge number of us. Please do include any research you find in the comments and on Hacker News. For more info please visit: http://www.humbledmba.com/why-entrepreneurs-cant-sleep
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