“Sleep Your Way To The Top”

This is the advice given by Arianna Huffington, voted by Forbes in 2014 as the 52nd Most Powerful Woman in the World. 

In her new book, “The Sleep Revolution” she reveals the global sleep deprivation problem and the benefits to be reaped of getting sufficient sleep – an improved quality of life and sharper business decision-making.

A Personal Epiphany

Last week Huffington was in Johannesburg to address the Discovery Summit.  She revealed that her wake-up call came a couple of years ago when as Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief of  The Huffington Post, she was continually working long, arduous hours.

She woke up one evening in her home office in a pool of blood as she had collapsed and broken her cheek bone on the desk as she fell to the floor.  Diagnosed as suffering from sleep deprivation and burnout, Arianna realised she had to make some radical changes.

A Cultural Problem

In “The Sleep Revolution”, Arianna Huffington says, “the glamorisation of sleep deprivation is deeply embedded in our culture and celebrated, “You snooze, you lose” … “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

“The combination of a deeply misguided definition of what it means to be successful in today’s world – that it can come only through burnout and stress – along with a 24/7 wired world, has imperilled our sleep as never before.”

Her view is that our emphasis on being busy and productive has produced busy leaders who often make terrible decisions; as they seldom spot the iceberg before it hits the Titanic.

The Consequences

As a result of losing sleep, we lose creativity, memory consolidation, and our ability to learn and solve problems and manage our stress.

Huffington highlights modern technology as being a major reason our relationship to sleep has become so compromised.  “Our houses, our bedrooms – even our beds – are littered with beeping, vibrating, flashing screens. It’s never ending,” she states.

She quotes the total annual cost of sleep deprivation to the US economy as more than $63 billion.  This is from both absenteeism and a problem with presenteeism, as people may be physically present but not mentally focused.

The Benefits of Sleep

Arianna espouses the view that the way to succeed is to get more sleep – to prioritise it.  You can enhance every aspect of your life.  Sleep unlocks the key to the great ideas that lie inside you. Sufficient sleep results in improved decision making, emotional intelligence and creativity.

Sleep brings more joy into your life, gratitude and is best for your career.

A Recipe for Sleep

As the end of year holidays are in sight and they bring an opportunity for you to reset your sleep clock and bring better balance to your life, I thought I’d share with you Arianna Huffington’s  recipe for getting the right amount of sleep.

She suggests the transition to sleep begins before we even step into our bedroom and treats her own transition to sleep as a sacrosanct ritual:

  • Turn off all electronic devices and gently escort them out of the bedroom.
  • Take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a flickering candle.

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