April 6, 2014

TECH STARTUP AS SELF-DEFEATING SWEATSHOP? How Sleep Deprivation Drives The High Failure Rates of Tech Startups.

There are also subtler degradations in thought capacity and performance that can come from less extreme kinds of sleep deprivation. A study in Sleep, the journal of the American Sleep Disorders Association, found significant declines on “divergent” thinking, a category of mostly creative brain functions. The study found double-digit declines in tests for fluency, flexibility, and originality of thought using the Torrance Test, a standard measure of the different categories involved in creative thought. Another meta-survey of sleep deprivation research found a strong correlation between weakened long-term memory, impaired decision-making abilities and lessened visuomotor performance, while people living with chronic sleep deprivation took significantly longer to return to normal than those who’d been subject to extreme but limited forms of sleep deprivation. This year, researchers at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania found that going without enough sleep can kill brain cells and lead to permanent damage to neurons associated with alertness.

How can any work ethic connected to such dimming of cognitive function produce anything worth having? Any culture that celebrates the loss of sleep as a virtue must inevitably become a backwater of degraded thoughts and fragile idealism.

Even in college, I tried hard to get enough sleep. Sometimes in law school I went 5 hours a night, but never for more than a few days. You’re better off working with a clear head.