National Geographic : 2018 Aug
AUGUST | 3 QUESTIONS FROM THE EDITOR ARIANNA HUFFINGTON Arianna Huffington, 68, co-founded the news and blog website the Huffington Post, and is CEO and founder of the wellness company Thrive Global. She has authored 15 books, including The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. ‘ WHEN I GET EIGHT HOURS, I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. I KNOW I’M MORE EFFECTIVE; I KNOW I’M THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF.’ INTERVIEW BY SUSAN GOLDBERG Short on Sleep Thanks for sharing your expertise on sleep, the topic of our cover story. Thomas Edison called sleep “an absurdity” and “a bad habit.” Is that idea ingrained in our culture? I think it’s deeply ingrained, but we’re at a moment of transformation. What stops people from prioritiz- ing sleep is the fear that somehow they’re going to miss out. We have so many phrases that confirm that— “ You snooze, you lose,” “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” But now there are role models, people who are priori- tizing sleep and are supereffective. You’re known as hard-charging. Did you have a moment when you said, I’ve got to change what I’m doing? Yes, in 2007 when I collapsed from sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and burnout. Being a divorced mother of two teenage daughters, I had bought into the delusion that this was the price of success and of managing all aspects of my life. It was after I collapsed that I started studying this epidemic of burn- out. There had been a lot written about the importance of nutrition and exer- cise, but sleep was still underrated and dismissed. And so I wrote the book. Will getting enough sleep ever be prioritized in our culture? Its importance is becoming more rec- ognized. Of course there are holdouts, people who still brag about how little sleep they get, but they’re increasingly like dinosaurs. One of the metaphors I use is that sleep is like the laundry. You’re not going to take out the laundry 10 minutes early to save time. You have to complete all the cycles in the washing machine. Our sleep cycles have to be completed too; otherwise we wake up and we feel like wet and dirty laundry. PETER YANG THIS INTERVIEW WAS EDITED FOR LENGTH AND CLARITY.