Arianna Huffington,the high-energy founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, knows all about entrepreneurial burnout. Until recently, she was famous for carrying four cell phones, and jumping into waiting cars for up to 17 appointments each day on her global business trips. Now she is hoping to become famous as a guru on the health crisis being caused by such non-stop ambition. As she warns, “we are in the midst of a sleep-deprivation crisis.” Her new book is The Sleep Revolution, inspired by her own professional meltdown, which culminated with her collapse, breaking a cheek bone on her desk as she fell down. She was later diagnosed with sleep deprivation and burnout.
During a recent CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria, Huffington now declares that everything in your life gets better if you just get enough sleep – your health, creativity and capacity to lead all get better, and you are less stressed. In fact, she cites that earlier civilizations revered the power of dreams so much, they had sleep temples to ensure the population was rested and creative. Huffington decided to study history to find out how we started devaluing sleep and found that it traced back to the first industrial revolution, when workers started being treated like machines. She added that it escalated with the 2nd industrial revolution with Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb. And now the 3rd industrial revolution is digital, making us all addicts to our devices, as she puts it.
Huffington’s cure is to create a ritual for sleep. “We need to power down our brains at night because otherwise technology makes it harder to transition to sleep.” She adds that parents know how to get a child ready for bed with a bath and a lullaby. But we also need to give ourselves a way to let go of the stresses of the day. Her ritual? Huffington starts 30 minutes before bedtime by lowering the lights and turning off all her electronic devices, taking a bath with Epsom salts (hot showers also work) to wash away the stress, and then reading a physical book (not on a device) or meditating until she is ready for sleep. For more information on how you can use sleep to power up your career instead of burning out, visit http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/253098/the-sleep-revolution-by-arianna-huffington/9781101904008/ or listen to her CNN interviews at http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/04/11/exp-gps-huffington-intv-sleep.cnn and http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/04/08/exp-gps-web-huffington.cnn.