- Elon Musk has had a rough year.
- The Tesla CEO opened up to The New York Times in an interview, where he said he was working 120 hour-weeks and relied on Ambien to sleep.
- Doctors warn that Ambien’s side effects can cause disorientation and depression, among other cognitive side effects.
- Musk has admitted to tweeting on Ambien before.
Elon Musk has had a rough year. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has often taken to Twitter – sometimes late at night – to air grievances, make puzzling statements like suggesting Tesla will sell “thigh high socks with pockets for lipliner & cards,” and even to make unexpected company announcements (like his recent proclamation that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private).
“It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien,” Musk told The Times. Musk’s use of Ambien – as well as other recreational drugs – has reportedly worried Tesla’s board, according to The New York Times. The board reportedly believes Musk’s reliance on Ambien could be contributing to his late-night Twitter use.
Doctors warn that it’s not a good idea to take Ambien if you are sleeping for less than 7 to 8 hours.
In The Times interview, Musk said he has recently been pulling 120-hour work weeks, meaning his work days are a minimum of 17 hours, seven days a week. Based on his own estimate, that leaves only seven hours per day when he’s not working – so he’s probably getting less than seven hours of sleep at night.
While Ambien can be a useful tool for people who can’t sleep, it has both physical and cognitive side effects. According to the American Addiction Center, Ambien use can lead to memory loss, depression, disorientation, and, less frequently, suicidal thoughts or feelings.
It may also lead heavy users to lose their “pleasure in daily life,” according to the Addiction Center.
Ambien can also be linked to erratic behaviour like impaired judgment and sleepwalking when taken in high doses, or when taken for nonmedical reasons, according to the Addiction Center.
Musk has admitted to tweeting on Ambien in the past. “I’ve learned some lessons…such as tweeting on Ambien isn’t wise,” he tweeted in 2016.
When someone suggested to Musk on Twitter that there’s “something really special” about his late night tweets, Musk replied: “It’s probably the Ambien.”
In May, comedian Roseanne Barr blamed Ambien on tweets in which she compared Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, to an ape.
That led ABC to fire her from the eponymous show. Sanofi, the pharmaceutical giant behind Ambien, responded to Roseanne’s accusations: “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
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