Arianna Huffington's Advice to Sales Professionals: Get Some Sleep

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2016-06-15 Print this article Print
Arianna Huffington

"They're saying, 'It's not just good for you, it improves our bottom line,'" said Huffington.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes a point of getting eight hours of sleep a night, she said, paraphrasing Bezos to explain, "If I make fewer decisions because of more sleep time, but they're 5 percent better, it's financially worth it to Amazon."

Encouraged, Huffington believes a shift is underway.

"We're at a moment [with sleep] where were at in the '50s and '60s with smoking," she said. "The data was in, but it was still being glamourized. … But there's a big culture shift happening. … Finally, the culture is catching up with the science."

Best Practices

Stop. Right now. Without looking, how much battery life is left on your smartphone?

Huffington made the point that most people can answer that question, but are oblivious to their own physical state.

"The day I collapsed, if you had asked me, 'Arianna, how are you?' I would have said, '"Fine.' … I didn't realize my battery was at 0 percent," she said, making the point that "we all take better care of our smartphones than we do our bodies."

She called exercise and nutrition a two-legged stool in need of a third natural leg—sleep.

"I want to give everyone here permission to sleep in instead of hitting the treadmill!" she told the audience.

How do we change our approach to sleep? Take microsteps, she advised. Begin by putting 'your electronics to bed and then taking as much care to calm yourself before bedtime as most would a child—use a routine.

"We need a 'Goodnight Moon' for adults—'Goodnight smartphone, goodnight terrible boss, goodnight client who didn't call back,'" Huffington said, discussing the need to accept the day for what it was and mentally put a close to it.

"Montaigne, the French philosopher, said there were many terrible things in my life, but many of them never happened," she added, illustrating the negative paths we tend to go down, laying awake at 3 a.m., reviewing the details of our week and fearing the worst.

Her own transformation has included a 30-minute pre-bedtime ritual (a microstep would be to start with a 10-minute ritual) that includes a bath with Epsom salts, dedicated sleeping clothes (changing her old habit of falling asleep in her gym clothes) and reading a physical book unrelated to work. But her most critical step of all: buying an alarm clock so the smartphone can sleep in a different room.

While people can and do function without proper sleep, she reiterated, creativity is absolutely slaughtered by it. Smartphones are a portal to distractions that kill creativity.

"It's why we have our best ideas in the shower!" she insisted. "I'm terrified that Apple will produce a waterproof iPhone. And that'll be the end of good ideas in the shower."


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