Arianna Huffington founded the Huffington Post, which she recently left to dedicate her time to her new health and wellness startup, Thrive Global. After a personal breakdown she wrote The Sleep Revolution and became a vocal advocate of better sleep habits. Here’s her prescription for a better night’s sleep—so you get up and at ’em every morning:
Know the danger of fatigue
On the morning of April 6, 2007, I was lying on the floor of my home office in a pool of blood. On my way down, my head had hit the corner of my desk, cutting my eye and breaking my cheekbone. I had collapsed from exhaustion and lack of sleep. In the wake of my collapse, I found myself going from doctor to doctor to find out if there was any underlying medical problem beyond exhaustion. There wasn’t. It was a painful wake-up call. The glamorization of sleep deprivation is deeply embedded in our culture—and this is nowhere more evident than in the world of business. But we are in the middle of an incredible transition, from executives congratulating employees for working 24-7 to CEOs like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos speaking publicly about needing eight hours of sleep.
Naps are great for us even when we are getting good sleep at night. At HuffPost, there was skepticism when we first installed nap rooms in New York in 2011. HuffPosters were reluctant to be seen walking into a nap room in the middle of a bustling newsroom. But now the spaces are perpetually full, and we’re spreading nap rooms to our offices around the world. I expect the nap room to soon become as universal as the conference room.
Develop a nightly routine
Create a ritual around your transition to sleep, like we do with our young children. Here’s mine, which I treat as sacrosanct: After escorting my devices out of my bedroom, I take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a candle flickering nearby. I don’t sleep in my workout clothes, as I used to—think of the mixed message that sends to our brains!—but have pyjamas, nightdresses, even T-shirts dedicated to sleep. Sometimes I have a cup of camomile or lavender tea. And I love reading physical books—especially those that have nothing to do with work.