Lessons from Arianna Huffington: you are what sleep

In her book entitled Thrive, Arianna Huffington extols the absolute necessity of having a good night’s sleep – between 7 and eight hours every night. Why?

Well there are many reasons, ranging from the negative effects that very little sleep has on our mood and productivity levels as well as general well-being say doctors at the Harvard Medical School’s division of sleep medicine. So how can we – as freelancers who are so dependent on the creativity of our ideas on a daily basis – ensure that we harness the benefits that sleep brings to our freelance practices?

Get a sleep buddy

No, this does not necessarily mean getting romantically involved with a new person! Rather, what Arianna recommends is that you get one of your friends to whom you will be accountable in terms of your sleeping habits and will provide you encouragement should you feel the temptation to pull a couple of all nighters.

Get yourself properly ready for bed

When you put on certain pieces of clothing, this is a signal to your brain that you are about to perform a certain activity. For example, when you put on your Lycra and cross-trainers, your brain knows that you are about to go to gym as you’ve put on the correct outfit. So when you go to bed, choose a pair of pyjamas that really look the part – and not an old T-shirt and tracksuit pants.

Take some sleep medicine

Arianna recommends that you steer off the prescription medication and rather try alternative methods of getting yourself into a ‘cozy-and-dozy’ state. She, herself, finds having a warm bath just before bed helps her to nod off to sleep while a friend of hers counts backwards from 300 – in multiples of three – to get her to drift off to the land of nod.

It doesn’t matter what method you follow in order to get yourself off to sleep. The important thing – freelancers – is that you do!