Arianna Huffington is a walking, talking, snoozing definition of success.
The co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the The Huffington Post, 66, is also the founder and CEO of well-being business Thrive Global, an author (15 books and counting), columnist, presenter, speaker and mum.
And what's her (super simple) secret? Sleep. And lots of it.
In her bestseller Thrive, she wrote about the need to redefine success through well-being (she learned the importance of looking after herself the hard way after collapsing from exhaustion in 2007, two years after launching The Huffington Post) and the subject of sleep seemed to strike an especially powerful chord.
Her latest book 'The Sleep Revolution, Transforming Your Life One Night At A Time' looks at the 'sleep deprivation crisis' we are living through, and its consequences on our health, work, relationships and happiness. What is needed, she argues, is nothing short of a sleep revolution.
The game-changing book includes cutting-edge research, practical tips on how to improve your sleep and guided night-time meditations. And to mark its release in paperback (and ahead of this weekend's spring clock change) Arianna has shared an excerpt on the power of napping...
THE POWER OF A CATNAP by ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
"One question I get asked all the time is, what do you do when, for whatever reason - a sick toddler, a bad cold, jet lag, a project deadline, or a late night out - you just can't get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep? Fortunately, there's a great remedy to that problem: the nap. Naps are a cheap and readily available way to enjoy what the National Sleep Foundation calls "a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation."
"In fact, as it turns out, naps are great for us even when we are getting good sleep at night. According to David Randall, the author of Dreamland, even a short nap "primes our brains to function at a higher level, letting us come up with better ideas, find solutions to puzzles more quickly and identify patterns faster and recall information more accurately."
"While chronic poor sleep can have long-lasting effects on our health, naps can help mitigate some of those effects, at least in the short team. According to a study by the Sorbonne University in Paris, short naps were found to lower stress and boost the immune system. "Our data suggests a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep," said one study co-author, Brice Faraut. "This is the first study that found napping could restore biomarkers of neuroendocrine and immune health to normal levels." Short of time travel, a next-day nap may be the closest we get to a second chance at a good night's sleep.
"So when is the best time to nap? Experts say that the best "circadian timing" for a nap is the early afternoon. But you don't have to worry about nailing the timing to get the benefits, so nap as soon as you can after you feel your energy flagging, and don't overthink it. In the course of our over-stuffed days, there aren't many opportunities to nap. Take them when you can get them. In other words: Carpe dormio!
"Our workdays, especially in the afternoon, have a way of taking on a survivalist tinge - how, we ask ourselves, are we going to make it through the rest of the day, trekking with flagging energy through enemy territory mined with meetings, emails and expanding to-do lists? So we squirrel away provisions - usually unhealthy ones - and, like addicts, we think about where that next shot of caffeine or that next sugar bomb is going to come from. But there are other options. Rather than reach for our fifth cup of coffee or third doughnut to deal with the usual post-lunch lull, consider, a twenty- or thirty-minute nap.
In fact, if you're deciding between the two - caffeine - or nap - the science is clear that, in a productivity version of rock-paper-scissors, naps trump caffeine.
"When I feel in need of a nap, I use the couch of my office - so that I don't occupy our highly publicised nap rooms at The Huffington Post, which are always in high demand. I used to close the curtains of the glass wall in my office that looks out over the newsroom, but one day it dawned on me that leaving the curtains open sends a clear message to the newsroom that not only is there no stigma - at least at HuffPost - attached to napping, it's also the best thing we can do to recharge ourselves. So now the curtains stay open."