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This is a room of type-A women. This is a room of sleep-deprived women. And I learned the hard way, the value of sleep. Two-and-a-half years ago, I fainted from exhaustion. I hit my head on my desk. I broke my cheekbone, I got five stitches on my right eye. And I began the journey of rediscovering the value of sleep. And in the course of that, I studied, I met with medical doctors, scientists, and I'm here to tell you that the way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.
Because unfortunately for men, sleep deprivation has become a virility symbol. I was recently having dinner with a guy who bragged that he had only gotten four hours sleep the night before. And I felt like saying to him -- but I didn't say it -- I felt like saying, "You know what? If you had gotten five, this dinner would have been a lot more interesting."
There is now a kind of sleep deprivation one-upmanship. Especially here in Washington, if you try to make a breakfast date, and you say, "How about eight o'clock?" they're likely to tell you, "Eight o'clock is too late for me, but that's okay, I can get a game of tennis in and do a few conference calls and meet you at eight." And they think that means that they are so incredibly busy and productive, but the truth is they're not, because we, at the moment, have had brilliant leaders in business, in finance, in politics, making terrible decisions. So a high I.Q. does not mean that you're a good leader, because the essence of leadership is being able to see the iceberg before it hits the Titanic. And we've had far too many icebergs hitting our Titanics.
In fact, I have a feeling that if Lehman Brothers was Lehman Brothers and Sisters, they might still be around. (Applause) While all the brothers were busy just being hyper-connected 24/7, maybe a sister would have noticed the iceberg, because she would have woken up from a seven-and-a-half- or eight-hour sleep and have been able to see the big picture.
So as we are facing all the multiple crises in our world at the moment, what is good for us on a personal level, what's going to bring more joy, gratitude, effectiveness in our lives and be the best for our own careers is also what is best for the world. So I urge you to shut your eyes and discover the great ideas that lie inside us, to shut your engines and discover the power of sleep.
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In this short talk, Arianna Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night's sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness -- and smarter decision-making.
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. She is the co-host of “Left, Right & Center,” a political roundtable radio program. Full bio »