Arianna Huffington came to speak at work a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of the writer turned politician turned online journalism pioneer. I expected arrogant and out of touch and instead found her funny, down-to-earth and insightful.
The core of her talk revolved around her new book, On Becoming Fearless, which I’ll share more on later. But she also shared one of her keys to success: get enough sleep.
In recent years, I feel like it’s become a requirement of success not to sleep at all. Bill Clinton claimed to sleep four hours a night. Martha Stewart came to work to speak a few months ago and also talked about not needing much sleep. Sleep, it seems, is the a lazy man’s crutch; the successful learn to conquer it, health impacts be damned (and there are a lot of health problems that come with getting too little sleep, including heart attacks). As someone who needs eight hours a night, it’s pretty disheartening to hear I’ll be limited professionally by my need for Zs.
That’s why it was so refreshing to hear Huffington praise sleep. She said she spent years not sleeping enough, only to pass out one day from exhaustion and realize the error of her ways. She now gets at least seven hours a night and wishes everyone else would too.
“I was having dinner with a man, I won’t say who, who bragged about only having five hours of sleep,” she said during her talk. “I thought to myself, ‘Well, this dinner would be a lot more interesting if you’d gotten a few hours more.'”
So on this lazy, post-Thanksgiving day, now I can sleep in and feel smart and successful at the same time. And if I can’t follow Huffington’s advice, I’ll take after Winston Churchill. He believed in the afternoon nap. Mmmmm.