People & Human Resources, Startup Advice

Struggling to sleep in the crazy hustle and bustle of building your startup? Here’s how Arianna Huffington tackles the problem

Dinushi Dias /

Arianna Huffington

Source: EPA/IAN LANGSDON

When Thrive Global founder and Huffington Post creator Arianna Huffington collapsed from exhaustion, she mistakenly believed her mental state was “fine”.

During an interview with Talkspace, Huffington says weeks of sleepless nights had become “business as usual” and the successful entrepreneur didn’t think it was doing any real damage because she’d always been able to manage on a few hours of rest each night.

“But that’s what exhaustion and sleep deprivation do to you  —  one of the many aspects of your physical and mental health that gets impaired is your own judgment about the state of your physical and mental health,” Huffington says.

“So just because you feel like you’re doing fine on four or five or even six hours of sleep per night, it doesn’t mean you are … sleep helps our immune system fight illness, and it also enhances decision-making, creativity, and focus.”

Nowadays sleep is a big priority for Huffington and she believes other business leaders and entrepreneurs should know that burning out is not the “price we have to pay for success”, nor is it indicative of strength and dedication.

According to Huffington, these are “mistaken beliefs”.

To maintain a healthy sleep schedule of about eight hours of rest a night, Huffington says she follows a daily morning and night-time routine.

“When I wake up, instead of starting the day by grabbing my phone, I take a few minutes to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day,” she says.

“Then I’ll try to do 20 or 30 minutes of meditation and depending on the day I might fit some time in on my stationary bike or to do yoga … Then at night, the first part of my bedtime ritual involves turning off all my electronic devices and gently escorting them out of my bedroom.

“Our phones are useful for many things, but as the repositories of our to-do lists, our anxieties and our worries, they’re definitely not sleep aids.

“Then I’ll do some reading  —  of real, physical books, that have nothing to do with work.”

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Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a freelance journalist and a former StartupSmart reporter and multimedia content producer. She is the co-founder of Melbourne-based production house Dinushi & Power.

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