Here's What Working 120 Hours a Week Like Elon Musk Really Does to the Body and the Mind


August 22, 2018

Those idolizing Elon Musk might rethink that notion after learning more about his punishing schedule. It's a routine experts say could make people less productive, less creative and even shave years from their lives.

Facing mounting pressure to meet production goals at Tesla, Musk says he's been working 120 hours some weeks. He also says he hasn't taken time off in years and he sometimes resorts to using sleep medication.

These habits seem to have taken their toll on Musk. The often upbeat and witty founder told the New York Times he felt exhausted. He "alternated between laughter and tears," at several points in the recent Times article and sometimes stopped talking altogether, possibly overcome by emotion.

"It's not been great, actually," Musk said. "I've had friends come by who are really concerned."

Research has found that some people are resistant to sleep deprivation but those people are few and far between, says Charlene Gamaldo, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Neurology Department and medical director at Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep. Furthermore, little research has been done to study the long-term health effects on those people. 

While you can technically function on very little sleep, you won't operate at your body and mind's highest levels. When sleep deprivation becomes a lifestyle, you can short-change yourself in the long-term. "The purpose of life is to be able to function," says Andrew Westwood, a board certified sleep expert and assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical College.

Here's how inadequate sleep can seriously damage your health and significantly lower your creativity and potential. [read more]