I’m Taking Arianna Huffington’s Advice and Sleeping My Way to the Top

Photo by Xautumnx 
Somehow I missed Arianna Huffington’s bedtime call to action in 2010, which is to get more sleep. At the BlogHer ’14 conference I attended, she shared how passing out was her wakeup call. 

The incident is described in the “Sleep Challenge 2010” Huffington Post article by Glamour magazine Editor Cindi Lieve, who wrote, “…as for Arianna, she had a rude (and painful) awakening two years ago when she passed out from exhaustion, broke her cheekbone and got five stitches over her eye. Ever since then, she's been working on bringing more balance, and more sleep, into her life­ with varying degrees of success.” 

At BlogHer we all laughed when Arianna said she told the Smith College graduates during her commencement speech that sleeping their way to the top was the key to success. Part of me laughed and another part wanted to scream AMEN!. 

Prior to arriving to BlogHer,  I was tired as hell. Not tired from a tough day or week. I was
Arianna Huffington tells BlogHer to put in close to 8 hours
in bed. 
tired from years of exhaustion. For the last three years I wasn’t getting enough sleep. It started when I was helping my grandfather with cancer. Sometimes there were calls in the middle of night when he was sick. And then there’s bracing yourself for that call you don’t want to get when someone is ill. Living at home was stressful. Work was stressful. Anxiety kicked in full gear.  The internet and Craig Ferguson’s Late, Late Show were my comforts. I was going to bed on average 1am every night and waking up at 7am. Six hours. That’s not enough sleep.

“Americans are increasingly sleep-deprived, and the sleepiest people are, you guessed it, women,” Lieve reported.  “Single working women and working moms with young kids are especially drowsy: They tend to clock in an hour and a half shy of the roughly 7.5-hour minimum the human body needs to function happily and healthfully.”

Single working woman—that’s me! Six hours a night—that’s me! That was me. Sleep deprivation caused me to be cranky, irritated, sometimes less focused. And I believe it played a part in how I developed fibroids, gained weight and was easy at contracting bugs. Plus, sleep deprivation is horrible for people living with depression. I knew better. I needed to make some changes immediately. 
Even after moving out, laying my grandfather to rest, and getting rid of other stressors I was still tired. I kept telling myself I needed to sleep more, but didn’t listen. 
Finally, right before BlogHer, I decided to start getting at least 8 hours of sleep. I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep because there’s so much to do during the conference. But when I got back to Oakland, I started sleeping more during the week. I was just tired of being exhausted. 
Before, I would catch up on sleep on Sunday mornings. Then I’d start the bad sleep habits Sunday night. No more. 
Now I try to be in bed by 11pm. I wasn’t sure if I could do it because I’m naturally a night owl anyway. But since going cold turkey on staying up about a month ago,  most nights I’ve slept at least 8 hours and it has made a difference. I have more energy and I’m feeling sharper. Luckily I get sleepy around 11:00, unless I’m out partying.

At BlogHer, Arianna Huffington spoke about how our culture values putting business before sleep.  And she mentioned how we brag about having very little sleep but accomplishing things. When in reality, we probably would have more or better accomplishments if we had more sleep. Our bodies need sleep to replenish itself. 
I’m over the “I worked 12 hours and got 4 hours of sleep” mentality. It may sound cool, but the bags under people’s eyes tell another story. Yeah it’s hard not to stay up late and write a blog post or watch Craig Ferguson bust jokes with his skeleton robot. But a girl has to get her beauty and brain sleep. A girl wants to get back into her jeans. A girl wants to be her own boss, full time. 
Sweet dreams. 
Photo by mmagallan




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