Building an empire takes tremendous hard work and dedication, but the secret to long-lasting success also requires something that may surprise you: quality sleep and restorative rest.
Overworking and burnout are serious problems in the professional world. We’re often told that in order to succeed, we need to burn the candle at both ends and become averse to relaxation. The reality is that we can only work for so long — we NEED quality sleep and rest to achieve our goals and accomplish great things.
One of the world’s most successful female authors and entrepreneurs champions this idea of prioritizing sleep and rest. Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington has made a name for herself through her many publications as well as her overwhelmingly successful news aggregator and blog HuffPost, formerly The Huffington Post.
Huffington and co-founders Andrew Breitbart, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti founded The Huffington Post in 2005, and it quickly rose to prominence through its mix of journalist contributions and blogging.
In 2016, Huffington left her editor-in-chief position at The Huffington Post in order to focus on her new business venture, Thrive Global. Thrive Global offers behavioral change technology for companies to improve their employees’ quality of life. Her company promotes healthier work-life balances and encourages professionals to avoid overworking and burnout.
Arianna Huffington also holds a special place here at Greatness.com because our founder, Lewis Howes, was inspired to start our website after he visited Huffington’s offices! Through the years, Huffington has shared incredibly valuable insights all about how she built her media empire. She also has tremendous guidance for getting better rest so you can be the best version of yourself.
Money and Power: Building a Powerhouse Media Empire
Arianna Huffington’s media career began with various books and articles she published through the 1970s and 1980s, including an informative biography on Pablo Picasso titled Picasso: Creator and Destroyer.
In total, she’s authored fifteen books, including her more recent works, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.
She became more prominent in the 1990s when her now ex-husband Michael Huffington ran for U.S. Senate, and she made various contributions to television. She was even nominated for an Emmy in 1997 for her work on Bill Maher’s show, Politically Incorrect.
Huffington and others founded The Huffington Post in 2005 with the idea that news sources would become more internet-centric as time passed. The company partnered with world news sources to use different international contributors and provide the publication in different languages. The publication is currently available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Japanese, and Korean.
In 2012, The Huffington Post became the first U.S. digital media enterprise to receive the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for David Wood’s 10-part series Beyond the Battlefield, which shares an intimate look at the plight of wounded American veterans.
Although she had tremendous success with The Huffington Post, Arianna failed to maintain a healthy work-life balance in the early days of the publication. She didn’t prioritize her sleep or rest, leading her to collapse from exhaustion from sleep deprivation. She found the experience incredibly eye-opening and began taking better care of herself.
Today, Huffington focuses on educating the public about the importance of getting quality sleep and rest.
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The Power of Sleep
One of the biggest lessons Ariana Huffington learned when starting The Huffington Post is that you don’t need to sacrifice your sleep and emotional well-being to build your company. There’s certainly nothing wrong with working hard to accomplish your goals, but you need to rest and get quality sleep to recharge. Sleep is invaluable for your success, so you need to adopt the best tools for getting a good night’s rest.
Are Six Hours of Sleep Enough?
Science says no. You should be averaging eight hours of sleep every night. Prioritizing your sleep is a MUST for your mental health, so if you’re wondering how to function on no sleep, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities. Your sleep health is far too important to ignore.
Tips from Arianna Huffington’s Sleep Revolution Manifesto
Arianna Huffington features a Sleep Revolution Manifesto on her website that’s dedicated to helping the public understand the importance of getting quality sleep. Her manifesto features twelve key points:
- Understand that sleep is fundamental for your well-being, and you should not compromise when it comes to getting enough sleep.
- Accept that sleep reinvigorates us and enables us to see the world with a fresher perspective.
- Sleep directly impacts our behaviors and who we are.
- Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are inherently bad. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
- A good day starts with the previous night’s sleep.
- Your smartphone isn’t the only thing needing recharging. Sleep until you are fully recharged.
- Allow your bedroom to be a relaxing escape rather than a place of work.
- Don’t bring your smartphone to the bedroom.
- Never drive while drowsy. Drowsy driving is almost as dangerous as drunk driving.
- Have dedicated clothing for your sleep.
- Pick sleep over busywork.
- When you enter your bedroom, leave your problems behind.
In addition to her manifesto, Huffington also promotes twelve great tips for sleep. Use these tips for getting to sleep faster and staying asleep:
- Keep your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees, and ensure that it’s both quiet and dark.
- Don’t use electronic devices within thirty minutes of bedtime.
- Keep your smartphone out of your bedroom. If you need to keep it in your bedroom, do not charge the phone next to your bed.
- Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m.
- Only use your bed for sleep and sex. Never work or watch television while in bed.
- Don’t allow pets on your bed.
- Before going to bed, take a hot bath with Epsom salts. This will help calm your mind and body so that you get to sleep faster.
- Wear designated sleepwear, such as pajamas, nightdresses, and sleep-designated T-shirts. If you wear the clothing at the gym, don’t wear them to bed.
- Before bed, do light stretches, yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.
- If you read in bed, make sure it’s either a paper book or an e-reader that doesn’t have blue light. Also, read books that don’t have anything to do with your work.
- Have some chamomile or lavender tea before bed.
- Write down what you’re thankful for before bed.
Prioritizing your sleep is an absolute must for a successful, well-adjusted life. According to the CDC, not getting sufficient sleep has been linked to a number of serious conditions, including diabetes, obesity, depression, and even cardiovascular disease.
Regardless of how busy you feel, ensure you get sufficient quality sleep to recharge.
The Importance of Focusing on Your Mental Health
As the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington focuses on educating the public about how the modern workplace has become detrimental to employees’ mental health.
Huffington refers to mental health issues as being a “silent epidemic” fueled by overworking. What makes the issue even more insidious is that it’s hard to track because there are still stigmas surrounding the subject — people often don’t feel comfortable discussing issues regarding their mental health, and many never seek treatment.
We need to work to remove the stigma of discussing mental health in the workplace so that people feel comfortable discussing their problems and seeking the help they need. Additionally, it’s essential to recognize that chronic stress and overworking directly contribute to mental conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Although there’s no alternative to professional mental health services, we can use certain practices to reduce our stress levels and improve our day-to-day mental well-being, such as meditation.
How to Prioritize Meditation in Your Busy Schedule
Arianna is a huge proponent of practicing meditation and recommends that people introduce five minutes of meditation daily. You can slowly increase your meditation duration to fifteen minutes or even more.
The most crucial part of getting started with meditation is forming the habit. Even if you start with just a minute or two of meditation, that’s still beneficial for your mental and emotional health.
When getting started with meditation, it’s important to remember that the key is doing nothing. With most habits and practices, we’re required to take some form of action, and meditation is the complete opposite — it’s all about letting go of your day and taking a moment to do nothing.
Rather than acting as if meditation is something on your to-do list, you can think of it as a moment to catch your breath and take a break from your busy schedule.
How to Avoid Burnout
Arianna Huffington is passionate about debunking the myths surrounding overworking and burnout. Burnout is NOT critical for your success. In fact, it’s detrimental to your well-being and will negatively impact every facet of your life, including your work life. Many people view burnout as necessary for achieving greatness, but Huffington describes this idea as a “collective delusion.”
Prioritizing your sleep and adopting healthy practices for relaxation, such as meditation, are performance enhancers. They’re far more beneficial to your work performance and success than overworking and burning yourself out.
So what are some other ways we can avoid burnout in addition to sufficient sleep and meditation?
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Joy’s Role in Avoiding Burnout
Huffington promotes the idea that the key to avoiding burnout is joy. Studies indicate that joy reduces anxiety, lessens our pain, improves our heart health, and decreases stress. Joy is distinct from happiness because it’s more of a moment-to-moment feeling. Happiness is more of an overarching feeling of contentment rather than an instantaneous sensation.
We can experience joy from many sources, but perhaps the best source is our relationships with others. Joy is contagious, and we can experience more of it as we grow in our relationships.
Believe it or not, we can also experience joy in our work, and it actually improves our work performance. According to research found by author Shawn Achor, we are 31% more productive when our brains are in a more positive state, such as joy. Stress and negativity actually decrease our productivity, so if overworking makes you feel miserable, you’re actually becoming increasingly less productive.
Huffington teaches that everyone should have the opportunity to find joy in work.
Not every day or task needs to be inherently pleasurable and induce joy, but we can find joy through our work relationships and by caring about our work. If your work no longer brings joy to your life, it might be time to take on different responsibilities in your profession or move on to something new.
Learn More Tools for Success and Sleep from Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington has accomplished so much with The HuffPost and her company, Thrive Global, and one of the invaluable keys to her success is sufficient quality sleep.
You need more than a strong work ethic and drive to accomplish your goals — you also need to get plenty of rest and sleep to recover from your work. Additionally, you can avoid burnout through meditation and by bringing more joy into your life.
If you’re interested in learning more about Arianna Huffington and her tips for success and better quality rest, you can visit Thriveglobal.com for numerous resources for meditation, better sleep, and improving your mental health.
Hard work is an important part of achieving your dreams, but you SHOULD NOT ignore your well-being. Prioritize your sleep, recovery, and relationships so that you can live happier and more joyfully on your journey to greatness!