Musk Is Worried About Himself. So Is His Mom

'Severe back pain,' lack of sleep appear to be taking a toll
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2023 11:00 AM CST
Updated Feb 11, 2023 6:00 AM CST
Musk Is Worried About Himself. So Is His Mom
Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Courthouse in San Francisco on Jan. 24.   (AP Photo/ Benjamin Fanjoy, File)

Elon Musk scored a court victory last week over some business tweets, but the trial brought to light a different concern—that he's a 51-year-old guy working insane hours while running Twitter, SpaceX, and Tesla. The Wall Street Journal digs in, noting that at one point during the San Francisco trial, Musk told a lawyer: "I had trouble sleeping last night, so unfortunately, I'm not at my best." He added later: "I'm sorry for squirming around. I have quite severe back pain." In November, Musk told an investor conference that his usual workweek of up to 80 hours had been increased to "probably 120," per Fortune. "I go to sleep, I wake up, I work, go to sleep, wake up, work—do that seven days a week," Musk said.

Musk has had at least two surgeries to ease his pain, which he says began when he wrestled a sumo wrestler years ago at one of his birthday parties. He's also posted about taking Ambien to help him sleep when he finally gets to bed about 3am. After the Journal story went up, Musk himself tweeted: "Last 3 months were extremely tough, as had to save Twitter from bankruptcy, while fulfilling essential Tesla & SpaceX duties. Wouldn't wish that pain on anyone. Twitter still has challenges, but is now trending to breakeven if we keep at it. Public support is much appreciated!" And when a supporter told him to take care of himself, Musk responded, '"I'm worried about me too."

If he is indeed working 120 hours a week, "Musk would need to compress all the time needed for sleeping, eating, relaxing, and other tasks like hygiene into a combined seven hours a day—a superhuman regimen that could prove damaging for one's health," per Fortune. Investors at SpaceX and Tesla have been worried about the added toll of Twitter, but Musk's business allies aren't the only ones concerned. After he won his court victory last week, the Journal notes that Musk's mother congratulated him on Twitter, then instructed him to "catch up on sleep." (More Elon Musk stories.)

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