Arianna Huffington’s on a mission to get Americans to do one simple thing: sleep more. Her latest book, The Sleep Revolution, came out earlier this week, she’s letting one lucky Airbnb guest sleep in her personal bedroom, and she chatted with Business Insider about the importance of sleep and some best practices to get more of it.
Why is she all of a sudden a sleep champion? Here’s the backstory: In 2007, Huffington collapsed, hit her head on a desk, and broke her cheekbone. The accident, which was caused by sleep deprivation, was Huffington’s wake-up call. Since then, she’s been encouraging the one in three Americans who don’t get enough sleep to hit the hay more often.
“We all know that when we've been sleep-deprived for a little while, we are more likely to catch a cold because our immune system is suppressed,” Huffington says. “But sleep is much more important than that, because every disease, whether it's heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, is connected to sleep deprivation.” In her conversation with Business Insider, she shares how we can get a better night’s rest. Below, we round up her tips.
- Turn off all your electronic devices 30 minutes before going to bed. “Everybody has to see what works for them, but for me the key is to every night before I'm going to go to sleep, 30 minutes before, turn off all of my devices and gently escort them out of my bedroom. That is key. Disconnecting from technology means disconnecting from our daily lives, with all the challenges and the obstacles that we all face.”
- Do something that relaxes you and put on comfortable pajamas. “I personally like to have a hot bath—it's kind of washing away the day—but you can have a hot shower if you prefer. I always wear something to bed that is not what I wear to the gym, even if it is a different kind of T-shirt.”
- Read an actual book. “In bed I only read physical books—I don't read on my iPad or any screen. Again, it's just disconnecting and getting ready for that precious time when we truly recharge ourselves so that we are ready to face the next day, not just efficiently, but joyfully.”
- Get everything off of your mind by making a list. “Write down everything that is on your mind, everything that remains incomplete, everything that you want to accomplish the next day, or the next week, or the next year, and then they're down. That's it, they're no longer in your mind at a time when there's nothing you can do about it.”
- Be grateful for what you have. “For some reason, just before we go to sleep, the things that are not going well take front center. And we need to change that by focusing on the things that we're grateful for. They can be tiny things, it doesn't matter. It just changes the focus of our brain and makes it easier to switch off and be able to have a peaceful and restorative sleep.”
Learn more about Huffington’s sleep revolution by purchasing and reading her book.