Pillow Talk

Arianna Huffington on Sleep

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Arianna Huffington came to the subject of sleep through experience.
Arianna Huffington tackles sleep as a subject in her book “Thrive.” Photo credit: Peter Yang.

 

Regenerate and recharge: these two important watchwords jumped out at me from Arianna Huffington’s introduction to her book Thrive, the subtitle (The Third Metric to Redefining and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder) is a long but very evocative one that expresses her discovery as to why she had reached such a point of exhaustion that she came to in a pool of blood after passing out and hitting her head on the corner of her desk.

 

Arianna Huffington and Her Sleep Revolution

 

If you haven’t ordered the book and are unsure you want to do so, The Atlantic encapsulates the story in this online piece titled “Burnout: The Enemy of Sleep.” I remember how much buzz the book garnered when it was published, her follow-up marketing efforts around #sleeprevolution as brilliant as her savvy building her mega-powerful Huffington Post.

Being in the sleep business myself, I deemed it a necessary read, and her philosophies outdistanced a mere discussion on sleep quite quickly, this paragraph a wise one as she introduced her point of view: “To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. These four pillars make up the four sections of this book.”

 

The Changing Measure of Success

She tells readers that she began this new journey by redefining her own life path and priorities, which led her to see a global awakening that is taking place: “We are entertaining a new era. How we measure success is changing.” And not a moment too soon, she adds, especially for women. She recounts a growing body of data that shows the price of the false promise of success is higher for women than it is for men.

“Women in successful jobs have a nearly 40-percent increased risk of heart disease, and a 60-percent greater risk of diabetes,” she explained. “In the past 30 years, as women have made substantial strides in the workplace, self-reported levels of stress have gone up 18 percent.” She notes that the millennial generation is at the top of the chart for stress levels—more so than baby boomers and “matures,” as the study she is citing dubbed those over sixty-seven.

 

Arianna Huffington describes her bedroom as her sanctuary.
Arianna Huffington describes her bedroom as her sanctuary.

 

“The Western workplace culture—exported to many other parts of the world—is practically fueled by stress, sleep deprivation, and burnout,” she continued. “I had come face-to-face—or, I should say, face-to-floor—with the problem when I collapsed.” I really respect the way she explored the subject of sleep deprivation, and not just on a personal level, but from a world-event perspective. Her citations include the crash of the Exxon Valdez, the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, and the deadly Metro North train derailment in 2013 when the engineer feel asleep at the controls.

 

Core Personality and Sleep

There’s so much excellent information in this book I will be reviewing different aspects of it in the months to come. I’ll leave you today with this food for thought: “Over 30-percent of people in the United States and the United Kingdom are not getting enough sleep. And it’s not just decision-making and cognitive functions that take a hit. Even traits that we associate with our core personality and values are affected by too little sleep. According to a study from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, sleep deprivation reduces our emotional intelligence, self-regard, assertiveness, sense of independence, empathy toward others, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, positive thinking, and impulse control.”

 

Antique textiles from Pandora de Balthazar
Like Huffington, we believe that beauty in the bedroom is a key ingredient to rest and renewal. Our antique linens photographed by Bruce Barone.

 

Huffington goes on to say that the only things the study found that increase with sleep deprivation are “magical thinking” and reliance on superstition. “So if you’re interested in fortune-telling, go ahead and burn the midnight oil.” I think we could hash-tag that #NuffSaid, don’t you?

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