The Arianna Huffington rules for sleep—you know you've always wanted to know them.
Huffington—author, pundit, entrepreneur, workaholic—knew her life was out of balance when, in 2007, she passed out from exhaustion, waking to find herself in a pool of blood with a broken cheekbone.
To her, it wasn’t a wake-up call. It was a "get some sleep”"call.
Speaking at a New York Women in Communications’ Cocktails and Conversations event last week, moderated by Bloomberg Media COO Jacki Kelley, Huffington told a packed house how that moment lead her to found her latest venture. Thrive Global, a media, training and commerce platform, aims to improve how we take care of ourselves—as well as how our employers view self-care as well.
Huffington has also worked since then to get better at getting to bed. Today the author of says she's about 90 percent successful following her own rules but says if you do, "I promise you categorically that your life will improve."
And so, here are Huffington’s Rules for Sleep:
1. Create a transition to sleep.
"You don't just drop your child into bed. Your child needs a transition to sleep," she says, so why would we be any different?
Well, first we all have smartphones. That’s why they have to leave our bedrooms at night, says Huffington, who wrote the parody, , to give a little extra encouragement. "It's essential because your phone is your portal to every distraction in your life."
Huffington’s own transition to sleep lasts 30 minutes, but she says to start with even a one-minute approach if that’s all you can handle right now.
"I prefer a hot bath,” she says. "It washes the day away and you're ready to fully recharge."
2. Wear dedicated sleep clothes to bed.
"I used to sleep in the same clothes I wore to the gym," says Huffington, but that doesn’t help create a sense of bedtime. "I love rekindling the romance of sleep with beautiful lovely lingerie. Or wear a t-shirt, but only wear it to bed."
3. Read books (only) in bed.
Again, no screens.
To Huffington, the tactile pleasure of reading an actual book soothes, but be sure to avoid work-related tomes. Instead, go for history, philosophy, poetry—anything to give a little perspective at the end of a long day.
And remember, she adds, no one gets everything done every day: "If you can say that, then your job isn't that interesting."
So yes, cut yourself some slack too.
Trouble sleeping for other reasons? Sometimes all it takes is a change of position.