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  • [MUSIC]

  • Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business

  • and life you love. Now, you may have heard people say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,”

  • or, “Sleeping is for sissies,” and maybe youve even thought that yourself. Well,

  • my guest today has a very different perspective on the power of sleep.

  • Arianna Huffington is the co-founder, president, and editor in chief of The Huffington Post

  • Media Group, and the author of 15 books. In May 2005 she launched The Huffington Post,

  • a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely read, linked to, and frequently

  • cited media brands on the internet. In 2012 the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national

  • reporting. She’s been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential

  • people and the Forbes most powerful women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to

  • England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an MA in economics.

  • At 21 she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. Her 15th book,

  • The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time, on the science, history,

  • and mystery of sleep, became an instant New York Times bestseller.

  • Arianna, thank you so much for coming back on the show.

  • Marie, thank you so much for having me. Everything looks so beautiful and you have my favorite

  • flowers here too.

  • Yay, theyre mine too. So tell me, because last time you were here we talked about Thrive.

  • What inspired you to devote an entire book to sleep?

  • So I went around the world speaking about Thrive, actually. I did the first ever interview

  • about Thrive with you before the book was even out. And then as I went around speaking

  • about the messages of Thrive, redefining success to include wellbeing, wisdom, wonder, and

  • giving, and sleep was one of the foundational principles. And I realized that was what people

  • wanted to talk about more than anything, because no matter where they are in their lives, no

  • matter whether they want to meditate or not, they have to sleep. So sleep is kind of our

  • unifier. And I just realized that in the same way that in my life I had collapsed from sleep

  • deprivation, millions of people were burned out, exhausted, and sleep deprived. And a

  • lot of it had to do with the fact that weve been living under this collective delusion

  • that sleep is optional. That, in fact, in order to succeed, to achieve, we had to sacrifice

  • sleep. And it even became like a badge of honor. People, especially men, but then women

  • started emulating them, would brag. “I only need 4 hours sleep,” or, “I’m too busy

  • to sleep,” which became like code for, “I’m too important to sleep.” And then as a result

  • we had the greater and greater number of casualties of sleep deprivation in terms of health, in

  • terms of productivity, and in terms of our mental health and happiness.

  • You know, there is this cultural notion that you write about in Sleep Revolution, I’ll

  • sleep when I’m dead.

  • Yes.

  • Or, you know, sleep is for sissies. What do you say to those people who are like, you

  • know, I wanna hack everything and get as most done as possible. How do you combat that?

  • Well, I think the most important thing is to give people the data and the new scientific

  • findings about sleep, and that’s why I’ve structured the book this way. You know, to

  • start with a crisis so that you give people a clear awareness of the dangers of sleep

  • deprivation. Then move on to the science, you know. What gives me optimism is that the

  • new science of sleep, and it’s relatively a young science because the first big scientific

  • sleep center was not founded until 1970 at Stanford. But it’s so conclusive about how

  • sleep is a performance enhancer, how it affects every aspect of our health from diabetes to

  • cancer to heart disease to Alzheimer’s. And then the history of sleep, you know, we

  • need to understand how did we come to devalue it? Going back to the first Industrial Revolution

  • when we began to think that we can treat human beings like machines and just minimize downtime.

  • And one of my favorite chapters is the chapter on dreams, about the mystery of sleep, and

  • how it can become a gateway to a more spiritual dimension of ourselves. All that is the first

  • half of the book. And before we get to the hacks and the best practices and tips and

  • techniques, I really want to urge people to read the first half because if we don't change

  • our minds about the importance of sleep, it’s going to be much harder to change our habits.

  • Yes.

  • We need to convince ourselves of sleep’s importance. I kind of convinced myself the

  • hard way by collapsing from sleep deprivation, but I’m hoping that people can convince

  • themselves without having to go through a painful wakeup call as I did. And frankly,

  • Marie, I’m really grateful that I did. It could have been so much worse.

  • Yeah. One of the most shocking chapters for me was about the sleep industry. And I was

  • literally… I couldn’t believe what I was reading for folks who take medication, sleep

  • aids, to go to sleep and the devastating impact of the things that they don't know that theyre

  • doing. Getting up in the middle of the night and driving a car. I mean, this is insane.

  • So I was curious, have you had any pushback from big pharma?

  • No. You know why? Because there's nothing they can say.

  • Right.

  • And, in fact, America is the only country other than New Zealand allowed to advertise

  • sleeping pills. And so you have all these ads of happy, beautiful people frolicking

  • in the fields while a cheerful voice reads 92 devastating, adverse effects including

  • you may get in your car and drive without being aware of it. And it doesn't say that,

  • but it has happened. You may actually kill or hurt someone. And then a lot less serious

  • and sometimes people consider them amusing, but still stunning things - you may eat yourself

  • Into a stupor.

  • Into a stupor without even having any memory of it. A friend of mine received 10 days after

  • she apparently ordered them, an entire packet of clothes which all turned out to be hooker

  • clothes that she had ordered without having any recollection of it. And so some of these

  • things are funny, but the idea that you can do all of these things without any memory

  • or consciousness and the fact that people nevertheless continue to be chronically dependent

  • on sleeping pills. I’m not talking about you went through a traumatic event and you

  • need to take a sleeping pill. I’m talking about people who literally cannot go to sleep

  • without one. And the impact on their health is devastating.

  • I was in shock when I read that. And frankly sometimes, you know, if I’m watching TV

  • and I catch one of those commercials. And, youre right, there’s butterflies all

  • over the place and it’s like, you know, you may have an increase in suicidal thoughts.

  • And I’m like, “What?!” Like, this is insane. But I love that you painted that picture

  • so graphically in the first part of the book because I think it helps wakes usit wakes

  • us all up.

  • Well, and it also prepares us for the second part of the book where I walk us through all

  • the natural alternatives.

  • Yes.

  • It’s not like we don't have hundreds of natural alternatives.

  • Yes.

  • Including if you have, like, some extreme case of insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy,

  • which is incredibly effective and much more effective long term than any dependence on

  • sleeping pills. It’s just that we can’t be lazy about it.

  • Yes.

  • And we need to experiment with what works for us. And for me the key thing, Marie, is

  • creating a transition ritual between our day life and sleep. You know, most of us right

  • now literally are on our phones until the last moment, you know, texting, emailing,

  • checking social media, and then we turn off the light and we may go to sleep right away

  • because our bodies are exhausted but our brains have not slowed down. So they wake us up in

  • the middle of the night, which is normally not a problem except we can’t go back to

  • sleep easily because then we start processing our day or worrying about tomorrow. And if

  • our phone is by our bed, we are very likely to pick it up and start responding to texts

  • or checking notifications, etcetera. And that’s why I say in the book that the most essential

  • part of this transition ritual is turning off all our devices and gently escorting them

  • out of our bedroom. And for me, my ritual now is 30 minutes. But, you know, start with

  • 5.

  • Yeah.

  • Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. You know? Start wherever you can. I’m a

  • big believer, as I know you are, from all your work, in microsteps.

  • Yes.

  • But for me it starts with turning off the devices and moving them outside my bedroom,

  • having a hot bath. I love the kind of ritual of water. It’s almost like a purification

  • ritual, washing away the day. And every day however blessed we may be in our lives is

  • a mixture of good things and not so good things, you know, obstacles, incompletions. There

  • has to be a clear demarcation line between all that and the time to recharge. And I love

  • having epsom salts in my bath, having candles nearby, low lights. It’s also like a way

  • of rekindling your romance to sleep. Instead of how many people see then let me tell you

  • Marie, everything I’m saying I’ve done, you know, for years and years. You know, basically

  • seeing sleep like enemy territory. How can wehow long can we avoid crossing that

  • border?

  • Yes. It’s… I loved hearing about your rituals. I think one of the other things that

  • I really found fascinating in your book was this idea that our brain is like a dishwasher

  • and all of the toxins that it removes while were sleeping. Again, this is nothing that

  • were ever taught.

  • No, and you know, it’s all relatively new science, again. We really used to be told

  • that sleep is a time of inactivity for the brain. In fact, one of the metaphors was it’s

  • like putting your car in the garage and turning off the ignition key. And now we know that

  • sleep is actually a time of frenetic activity for the brain. It’s more like your car becoming

  • a driverless car and running essential errands for you, and one of the most essential errands

  • is cleaning up the toxins that accumulate during the day. I actually also found that

  • one of the most fascinating scientific findings and, as you know, the book has 50 pages of

  • scientific endnotes not because I expect anybody to read them from beginning to end, but I

  • want to convince even the greatest skeptic that this is not like one woman’s opinion.

  • This is conclusive, scientific evidence. And it’s almost like, you know, we used to believe

  • that smoking was glamorous. In fact, you had doctors advertising cigarettes in the fifties

  • and saying things like, you know, I smoke menthols because they refresh my throat. And

  • then the scientific evidence about the dangers of tobacco became too overwhelming to ignore.

  • I think were reaching that tipping point now for sleep deprivation.

  • I’m really happy that you're talking about this so much and that you're such a sleep

  • evangelist and youre bringing it out because one of the other, you know, bits of the book

  • that I appreciated and that actually got me thinking was about pilots and drivers and

  • all of us, you know, whether it’s an Uber driver or a taxi driver or ourselves with

  • our families taking a road trip and the extreme danger that we can put ourselves in and that

  • our society, we kind of force upon each other to work, work, work, work, work nonstop. It’s

  • unbelievable. It’s so important that we do start shifting our cultural ideas about

  • what it means to be well rested.

  • Well, in fact, that’s why we launched a partnership with Uber to raise awareness about

  • drowsy driving. Because weve raised awareness as a culture about drunk driving and we have

  • halved the crashes because of drunk driving, because of the designated driver campaigns,

  • friends don't let friends drive drunk. We need to do the same around drowsy driving.

  • Yes.

  • Because last year there were 8 thousand deaths because of drowsy driving and 1.2 million

  • crashes. And I think, in fact, what is even worse is that it’s pretty hard not to know

  • when youre drunk, unless youre unconscious. But very often people think they can power

  • through when theyre tired. Well, I’m going to get a Coke or a coffee and power

  • through. And it can take literally 2 seconds of microsleep for tragedy to follow.

  • So scary. So I’m curious, what are some of the biggest changes you made? I heard about

  • your sleep ritual that I love. What I’m curious about though now is youre Arianna

  • Huffington. Youre this amazing powerhouse of a woman. Have you bumped up against any

  • struggles for yourself? You know, like, Arianna, can you speak here, can you come here, and

  • started to change your decision making based on what youve learned from all the research?

  • I’ve definitely changed my decision making, but what is interesting, Marie, is that, I

  • mean, I’m… I know we follow each other on social media, so you know that I’m very

  • active. I think the question is what do I say no to in order to be able to get my 8

  • hours sleep, which is what I need. You know, the consensus is that the vast majority of

  • us need 7 to 9 hours. You know, you may do great on 7 or you may need 9. Unless youre

  • a short sleeper, which is a small minority of us who can do great on 4 or 5 hours. They

  • have a genetic mutation though, and you can’t train yourself to have a genetic mutation.

  • You either have it or you don't. So I… like tonight is a good example because after we

  • finish our conversation I’m going to do The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and after

  • that I was going to go to the public library Spring Gala, which is a beautiful event. But

  • tomorrow morning I have to get up really early to go to Minneapolis, so I cancelled going

  • today to the public library. So, you know, these are really the tradeoffs, but I didn't…

  • I don't have any sense of sacrifice about it because the alternative would have been

  • for me to get up at 5 in the morning to go to Minneapolis tomorrow and be a zombie for

  • the whole day. And I can’t stand myself now when I’m sleep deprived. I really don't

  • like to be around myself, and there’s nothing I can do. You know, I become irritable and

  • moody and you look at me a certain way and I take it personally and I’m not creative

  • and I just go through the motions. And I don't want to be that person. And I also now really

  • value so much loving my life. You know, I feel were so blessed and that doesn't mean

  • that there are no problems in our lives or things were dealing with, but on the whole,

  • you know, just being healthy and doing something you love is just something to be constantly

  • grateful for. And I don't want to take it for granted and I don't want to just move

  • through the motions and get stuff done. I really want to bring joy into what I’m doing.

  • And so it’s become really much easier to just make decisions based on prioritizing

  • my sleep.

  • I love it. And it gives you a really easy way to keep yourself in the state that you

  • want to be in, which is happy and joyful. I know for me anytime, you know, I do a cleanse

  • and I’m like, “Oh, I’m not gonna be eating dairy or I’m not gonna be doing that,”

  • my decision making process just gets a million times easier. So for anyone listening, hopefully

  • we know theyre gonna get the book. But what are 3 things if you could advise anyone,

  • ok, if you could just try these 3 things to start to prioritize sleep. What would they

  • be?

  • So let me just talk about a couple more elements of the transition because the transition is

  • the key, the first key thing. And anybody watching with children knows that that’s

  • what we do with our children. You know, when theyre babies we don't just drop them in

  • bed. We give them a bath, we put them in their PJs, we tell them a story. So we have to think

  • of the child in us needing also a ritual, a sacred ritual before going to sleep. And

  • beyond everything I said, I think it is very important to have no screens in bed. It’s

  • okay if you have a TV in the bedroom. Fine. Just don't watch it before you go to sleep.

  • And read real books, physical books. In fact, if anybody is reading The Sleep Revolution

  • and it helps them fall asleep, I’ll take it as a personal victory. And then I love

  • ending the night, that’s like you told me three, so the thirdthe second thing is

  • giving the closing scene of the day to what youre grateful for. Because you could give

  • the closing scene of the day to what didn't work that day or the mistakes you made or

  • the worries about the next day, and then that’s going to wake up up in the middle of the night

  • and youll be processing it. So just focusing on what we are grateful for as the last thing

  • of the night. So, you know, if you have a partner you can share it with them verbally,

  • you can write it down, you can just tell yourself. Whatever works for you. And the third thing

  • is to have like a sleep kit ready whether you are traveling or at home. And my sleep

  • kit includes an eye mask, because havingbeing in a dark room is really important.

  • If you are traveling they often give you an eye mask, but it’s often harsh and plastic.

  • So I have a beautiful eye mask and I invest in something silky and yummy. I have a pink

  • one, a