To sleep or not to sleep? That is the question we ask ourselves in periods when we have lots of work. And forced to make a decision, many people choose not to rest. Some even brag about it as proof of professional success. Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the newspaper of the same name, has become “an evangelist for sleep” and claims that sleep is the key to reaching the top.
Arianna Huffington knows from experience that it is essential to let the body and mind get necessary rest. In 2007 she went through a crisis because of lack of sleep: “I collapsed, fell and broke a cheekbone,” she told an interviewer. It was then that she learned it was necessary to change her habits, and went from sleeping four hours a night to eight. She says the benefits are endless, as described in her book The Sleep Revolution.
Her experience made her ask herself what really constitutes success and what does it mean to lead a full life. She says that nowadays in many parts of the world people believe that the good life equals having money and power. But there’s something missing in that equation: wellbeing. Sufficient rest will not only have a positive impact on physical and mental health but will also benefit work. “Going to the office without sufficient sleep is like going when drunk,” says Huffington, while admitting that throughout her life she herself has made many wrong decisions when she was tired.
Success does not mean working long hours and then staying up until dawn answering emails. Arianna Huffington insists that the important thing is the “energy” consumed in each of our tasks and that lack of sleep can be an impediment to giving the best of ourselves. She gave an example of this in a TED Talk in 2011: “The other day I had dinner with a man and it was disappointing. He told me he had slept only four hours the night before. And if he had slept eight? Maybe then the dinner would have been more interesting.”
In her crusade in favor of rest, Arianna Huffington invites everyone to sleep for a half hour longer during a period of time. “Anyone can find thirty minutes for that,” she insists. Afterward, when observing the results, people must ask the question again: to sleep or not to sleep?