How One Inspiration Transformed the Way I Sleep

I believe inspiration can hit me in any form, from anywhere, and at anytime… but this one surprised me.

Sitting on my back porch this past summer, watching Super Soul Sunday on my computer, one of the most powerful women in the world inspired me to sleep only with my wife.

Oprah Winfrey was interviewing Arianna Huffington, founder of the popular Huffington Post. They were talking about Arianna’s #1 New York Times Best Seller, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.

Arianna shared about an experience that changed her life and inspired her to write her fourteenth book1.

“I actually collapsed from exhaustion on April 6, 2007, two years after I had founded The Huffington Post. I hit my head on my desk. Broke my cheekbone. Got four stiches on my right eye. I was very lucky I didn’t lose my eye.”

The doctors found nothing wrong with her medically, but the incident made her reflect on the way she was leading her life and what she was prioritizing.

Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, she began asking herself one of the big questions of life, “Is this success?”

Working eighteen-hour days, seven days a week left her with little time or energy for anything else. It was obviously taking a serious physical toll on her. She collapsed and woke in a pool of blood.

She became determined to make some big changes in her life. Defining success based on the two conventional factors of money and power was not enough. Success for her life needed to include something she calls “the third metric.” She would redefine success to make room for these four pillars:

  1. Wellbeing
  2. Wisdom
  3. Wonder
  4. Giving

But the biggest change she made in her life was in her sleep habits. She began prioritizing sleep every night. “That changed everything,” she says, “I would wake up re-charged!”

These are the changes she made in her sleep habits:

  • Increased sleep time from 4-5 hours to 7-8 hours
  • Made her bedroom a “device-free sanctuary”
  • Only read “real” books in bed
  • Takes a 20-minute nap during the day if she feels tired

Regarding her newly found device-free sanctuary, Arianna declares, “Disconnecting from our technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential.”

She advises to put your energy into what really matters and give it your full attention. That got me. I knew the important health implications of proper sleep, in fact, I’ve written about it. But was I giving it my full attention?

I was motivated to make these changes in my bedroom after watching Arianna’s Big Wake-Up Call:

  • Leave my cell phone in my closet every night
  • Added room darkening curtains to the bedroom
  • Switched off the power strip for our TV set-up – when it’s switched on, four devices emit light throughout the night and when it’s off, there’s pure darkness
  • Eliminate everything from my night stand (except a bottle of water) – no electronic devices, no power cords, no nothing
  • Use my FitBit to measure my goal of getting eight hours of sleep every night, not just eight hours in bed

Arianna Huffington inspired me to sleep only with my wife. Everything else has been removed or completely turned off, and I am sleeping better than ever.

  1. Forbes.com: The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women

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