Why Arianna Huffington Raves About the Importance of Sleep
Arianna Huffington on sleep.
Arianna Huffington talks about sleep a lot. One google and you will find that she is all about sleeping and sleeping well. She argues that if you want to be successful, you need to get more sleep. Why is she so passionate about it? It’s personal.
In her book, Thrive, she talks about the importance of sleep extensively. The book starts with her waking up in a pool of her own blood, she had a broken cheek bone and after a series of sleep deprived nights, her doctor had diagnosed her with exhaustion.
One of the most successful writers of our time, now focused intently on getting a good quality night’s sleep.
It’s so important in fact, that she wrote a book on it entitled ‘The Sleep Revolution’ whereby she describes sleep as a non-negiotable human need.
Sleep isn’t negotiable
It’s so easy to be tempted to swap an hour of sleep for an extra hour at the office or working on our side projects. In fact with the side hustle revolution due to be in full swing over the next 7 years, we perhaps need to be more careful than ever about managing our sleep. When we take from the sleep pot we feel it the next day. Ultimately we end up more irritable, we lack focus and we are less productivity. On top of that, lack of sleep has serious long term health implications. Not sleeping enough leads to all kind of medical problems.
We should get between 7–9 hours a night. Sleep is not one of those things we can look for efficiencies within. This isn’t lean management, there is no wastage. It’s between 7–9 hours. Not 6.5 hours so you can get an extra half an hour working on that presentation.
It’s not cool to not get enough
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” Warren Zevon
Pursuing endeavours and not prioritising sleep is a disaster. It used to be the cool thing to say that you only get 3 hours a night and you run on caffiene. Stories of Wall Street traders staying up all night, partying and getting to the office at 5am, after a single hours sleep to start it all over again. Blood-Shot eyes, some greasy food and a double espresso is the recipe to get through the day. But we know these types are on a fast road to burn out and it’s a total cliche of the trading world.
It’s a fast way to get all the material things in life but none of the real ones. Lack of sleep means we are temperamental and agitated, not a good way to go into any interaction, especially not with your spouse or kids. Arianna Huffington rates having sleep and we should too.
Enough quality sleep leads to other areas of your life prospering
When prioritised, other areas of your life get better. Arianna Huffington insists that the benefits from Huffington Post came after she started prioritising sleep she says:
“I have to assure you that the success at the Huffington Post happened after I started taking care of myself”
Now there is an argument to say that if you work all the hours under the sun, there is some real success to be had and that actually you have to work all the hours when you are first getting started. To that Huffington says:
I’m not saying that you can’t succeed by burning out. But you can succeed much more effectively, and much more sustainably, and with much less damage to your health and your relationships. From CNBC.
It’s about succeeding well. You can succeed and feel like total crap or you can succeed and feel well. Sleep is one of the things you need to prioritise if you want to succeed well.
Focus on sustainability
No one wants to burn out. No one wants to use up their holiday for catching up on rest. We’re here, hopefully, for a while. We’ve got the time to cultivate good habits. Habits that will last a lifetime. Working till 2am and being in the office for 5am might be working right now but it’s not a sustainable way to live long term. And for the very few it might work. However, in general, good quality sleep, between 7–9 hours is the recommendation.
Most of us want to get to the top. We have burning desires to get to the top and we want to get there quickly. However, getting to the top and being utterly exhausted that you need to immediately climb back down and get some rest isn’t the way to do it.
The aim is to create good sleeping habits, habits that give you enough energy to have a good day. We’re not looking to squeeze every ounce out of the day, every single day. We’re looking to have a good day most days. It’s practical, sustainable and realistic.
Marathon not a sprint.
Looking after ourselves sometimes feels like an added thing on the never ending to-do list. After you’ve put the shopping away, wrote for 2 hours, been at work all day, then you need to think about what you body needs and get round to doing that? Eurgh.
Choosing to prioritise ourselves is a conscious action to see our health and wellbeing as a long term investment. If you get enough sleep today, you might not see any benefits. Sure, you might even have got 5% more work done yesterday if you went to bed an hour later. Instead this is about long term results. This is about understanding what makes up a happy day for you. It’s about looking out for your future self.
Sleep is one of the ways we take care of ourselves. Just like eating right, drinking enough, prioritising our sleep is important for a number of reasons. Be as ambitious as your hearts will us to be. We should work as a hard as our brains can convince us we can. We should also get as much rest as we need to feel at our best.
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