Arianna Huffington

Co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. Author of The Sleep Revolution

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON May 27, 2016

Discussion

Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
Hi everyone, it’s Arianna Huffington. I’m the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution, which came out of my passion for ending our collective delusion that burnout is the necessary price we must pay for accomplishment and success. Recent scientific findings make it clear that this couldn’t be less true. That’s why I’m so excited for all the possibilities of the golden age of sleep science we’re living in -- revealing all the ways in which sleep plays a vital role in our decision making, emotional intelligence, cognitive function, and creativity, and helping us all to live the lives we deserve, not just the lives we settle for.
Sydney Liu@sydney_liu_sl · Co-Founder of Commaful.com
Hi Arianna! Thanks for doing the Live chat! Had 2 related questions: 1) How did you recruit 3rd party bloggers for free to contribute? I remember you started with "influential" people like Alec Baldwin to write, at what point did you open it up to more bloggers and how did you recruit so many people to come on and contribute? 2) Facebook seemed like it REALLY propelled Huffington Post ahead and today you have among the biggest Facebook pages around! What do you see as the next big opportunities to grow your content? Is it FB Live? Snapchat? How will you approach it? Thanks! Sydney Liu https://commaful.com/
Adelaide Goodeve@adelaide_goodeve · Founder and Owner of Lilly Wild
What are your top 5 most important habits that you would advise entrepreneurs create to live a thriving life?
Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
@adelaide_goodeve The five most important habits have to do with entrepreneurs recognizing that they need to put their own oxygen mask on first, and that the collective delusion that we succeed through burnout has been disproved both by science and by all the evidence of the proliferating casualties around us. The habit I’m most passionate about – because of the impact it’s had on my own life – consists of five steps, all geared toward creating a healthy transition to sleep that begins before you even step into your bedroom. I treat my own transition to sleep as a sacrosanct ritual. First, I turn off all my electronic devices and gently escort them out of my bedroom. Second, I take a hot bath with epsom salts and a candle flickering nearby—a bath that I prolong if I’m feeling anxious or worried about something. Third, I don’t sleep in my workout clothes as I used to (think of the mixed message that sends to our brains) but have pajamas, nightdresses, even T-shirts dedicated to sleep. Fourth, sometimes I have a cup of chamomile or lavender tea if I want something warm and comforting before going to bed. Fifth, I love reading real, physical books – especially poetry, novels and books that have nothing to do with work. And a bonus sixth is a practice that my older daughter, Christina, has been using, and that I’ve borrowed: making a gratitude list part of our bedtime routine. I find that it focuses my mind on the blessings in my life— large and small— rather than on the running list of unresolved problems. For all of us, every day has its blessings and its setbacks, but it’s the setbacks and stresses that seem to take center stage in our minds once our head hits the pillow. They are the preening, attention-seeking, spotlight-hogging divas of our bedtime hours, ignoring the stage manager begging them to exit. And if we don’t stop them, they’ll drag the whole production down with them. A gratitude list— whether written in a notebook, spoken aloud, or just recited silently— is a great way to knock them down a peg, shift the spotlight, and make sure our blessings get the closing scene of the night.
Adelaide Goodeve@adelaide_goodeve · Founder and Owner of Lilly Wild
@ariannahuff This is amazing, thank you so much :)
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey! If you had to swap lives with a tech CEO/Founder for a month, who would it be and why?
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@bentossell that is a great one! I am stealing that for the quickfire round on @twentyminutevc
Brady@bradyoriginal · Founder @ Modimize Inc.
@ariannahuff - Thank you for being here! My question is related to #sleeprevolution. Like many creative types I seem to do my best work at night and many times into the early hours of the morning. Question: If I am wired to be more of a "night owl"; how can I maintain my creative "flow" but get sleep during the optimal hours of sundown?
Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
@bradyoriginal If you can go to sleep before midnight, that’s optimal. But if for some reason you can’t, then getting at least seven to nine hours (depending on your individual sweet spot in that spectrum) is the key. That said, I come from a family of night owls, and when I was growing up, my mother would regularly stay up all night cooking, reading, and organizing because, as she explained to my sister, Agapi, and me when we would protest, it was at night, when the world had gone to bed, that she could be most creative and productive. When we lived together again years later, she would often stay up all night, and it was only after cooking my daughters’ breakfast in the morning that she would finally put herself to bed. Agapi modeled her sleep habits after my mother, though thankfully she didn’t go to quite the same extremes. For most of her life, she also stayed up late, getting things done. Then she’d usually wake up tired. “But when nighttime rolled around,” she says, “my mind was fully alert, ready for work.” A few years ago, when I started talking about the importance of sleep and sending her articles and studies, she began to rethink things and to make some changes. But, as is the case for most of us, her progress was not linear. She realized that what she’d assumed was a time of great productivity actually wasn’t: “Almost the way a parent imparts lessons to her child, I’d have to tell myself, ‘Darling, it’s time to put your phone down. We’re going to have a cup of tea and take a bath.’ ” She then moved beyond putting her phone down to taking all her devices out of the bedroom. And instead of watching TV in bed, she started recording her favorite late-night shows. Eventually she developed a new routine that was all her own— as, of course, it has to be—and she learned not to judge herself when she went off track. As a natural late-nighter, she says it’s important to have a support system around her. “We night owls need our own sleep tribe if we’re going to change,” she says.
Brady@bradyoriginal · Founder @ Modimize Inc.
@ariannahuff - Thank you so much for the in depth response to my question! I was not around for the answer, which is why I asked ahead of time. I will use this as a reference to come back to when I need to remind myself of how important getting the proper amount of sleep is. I am usually pretty good about going to sleep by 12 and getting up at 7. Having 2 little kids has actually helped me more than anything to get more sleep! Thank you again for your feedback Arianna!
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
Wow this so awesome, such a big fan. I would love to hear what advice do you wish you had known when you were twenty that you know now? Always welcome on @twentyminutevc would be an honour!
Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
@harrystebbings @twentyminutevc If I could go back in time, I’d introduce my 20-year-old self to a quotation by the writer Brian Andreas: “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” If only I had learned this lesson sooner! But I hope that by sharing it here, I can make a difference in someone else’s life, and save them from the perpetually harried, stressed-out existence I experienced for so long.
Peter Skuta@peterskuta · GrowthHackersParadise
Dear Arianna! @ariannahuff how did you got traction and growth in the early days? As once in a while the Huffington Post were also a startup ;-)
Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
@peterskuta Bringing together people from different worlds and facilitating interesting conversations has always been part of my Greek DNA. So from our earliest days as a startup, the whole point of The Huffington Post was to take the sort of conversations found at water coolers and around dinner tables -- about politics and art and books and food -- and open them up and bring them online. Our growth and momentum at HuffPost have come from our commitment to keep evolving, and our secret ingredient has always been our embrace of change – our willingness to innovate. And that has brought huge benefits to HuffPost, because that way we’ve avoided what Clayton Christensen calls the innovator’s dilemma, the idea that even very successful companies, with very capable personnel, often fail because they tend to stick too closely to the strategies that made them successful in the first place, leaving them vulnerable to changing conditions and new realities. They miss major opportunities because they are unwilling to disrupt their own game.
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
Hey Arianna, congrats on joining Uber's Board! Curious how those talks came about that eventually led to you joining?
Charles Kunene@charles_kunene · Co-founder & Product Designer @Obaa
Sleep deprivation is endemic in the startup world. What ideas have you thought about that could help founders and tech workers have more balanced/sustainable lives and still be more productive?
Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
@charles_kunene The busier we are -- whether as founders or tech workers -- the more important it is that we give sleep the respect it deserves. Our sense of being indispensable -- familiar to most of us in this space -- is central to the sleep crisis we’re facing, so we need to dispense with that as soon as possible! So we can start by looking at all the latest science showing that sleep is actually the ultimate performance enhancer that helps us to be even more productive. There was a recent article by McKinsey, the management consulting firm, about just that in the Harvard Business Review titled, “There’s A Proven Link Between Effective Leadership And Getting Enough Sleep.” The authors point to the science showing that the prefrontal cortex — the part of our brain that’s the source of leadership, of problem solving, of organizing, of decision-making, of building teams, is also the part of the brain particularly affected by sleep deprivation. One study found that participants who had a good night’s sleep were twice as likely to come up with a hidden or hard to find shortcut to a given task than those who were sleep deprived. Another study they mention showed that sleep deprived brains are more susceptible to misinterpreting emotional cues from those around them and overreacting to emotional situations. Not exactly what you want in a leader of any kind.
Rohit Tirkey@rohit_ty · Co Founder, DoSelect
Hi Arianna, It's so inspiring to see you everytime. How do you set goals in life? Long term and short term. I was told of a lady in UK who was still excited to start something ( social work) at the age of 95. Any advice?
Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
@rohit_ty I love that! One of my favorite pieces of goal setting advice isn’t about what to do but what NOT to do. I did a major “life audit” when I turned forty, and I realized how many projects I had committed to in my head— such as learning German and becoming a good skier and learning to cook. Most remained unfinished, and many were not even started. Yet these countless incomplete projects drained my energy and diffused my attention. As soon as the file was opened, each one took a little bit of me away. It was very liberating to realize that I could “complete” a project by simply dropping it— by eliminating it from my to-do list. Why carry around this unnecessary baggage? That’s how I completed learning German and becoming a good skier and learning to cook and a host of other projects that now no longer have a claim on my attention.
Rohit Tirkey@rohit_ty · Co Founder, DoSelect
@ariannahuff : It's so important to have life audits in order to set goals. Thanks for the lovely advice. Wish you all the best for your life goals.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
We've been lucky enough to speak many leaders in tech on PH Live, and fairly often when asked about their routines, late nights and early starts are a part of that. Can it ever be healthy, or the right option to forgo sleep at the start of someones career to propel it forward, to take a healthier balance once established?
Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
@ems_hodge There will always be times in the life of any entrepreneur when you may have to pull an all-nighter -- maybe when you are about to ship a product. But what I’m talking about is, what is your regular, everyday practice, and how ruthlessly do you prioritize sleep on a daily basis? Because when you are clear about prioritizing sleep on a regular basis, when there is an emergency or an unexpected deadline, you are not running on empty and you have the resources to deal with it. I’m often asked what advice I would give to my younger self if I had the chance. My answer? I wish I could go back and tell myself: “Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging, recharging and renewing yourself.” That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.
Sureshkumar G@hisureshg · Co,Founder - CEO at MacAppStudio
@ariannahuff Thanks so much and its an honor to speak to you. I am a big fan of Huffington Post and wish our success story would come there one day soon. I am a night owl and some times never slept for 2-3 days during product releases. Now slowly after establishing a team and automation in process. I take sleep and health as high priority and trying to sleep 8-10 hours to the best. Usually i sleep when ever i get time before and i feel asleep immediately. I have taken lot of power naps which helped a lot in productivity and even encourage them to my fellow developers. I always felt having good sleep improves performance and refreshes the mind. You are right, it would have just taken 4 hours to finish a thing if we are refreshed rather than working continuously on a problem. I thank @ems_hodge for creating the wonderful opportunity to talk Arianna
Elizabeth Brigham@esbrigham · Director, marketing and communications
You talk about sleep as being so important to success and happiness, but I have 2 babies 2 and under. Sleep isn't really something I can control right now. What I can do to keep on top of things with a full-time career at a start up as well? It feels like my body has readjusted for almost 3 years of sleep deprivation, but not sure of the long term affects.
Arianna Huffington@ariannahuff · Author of The Sleep Revolution
@esbrigham Let me first say, as the mother of two babies – now in their twenties – I hear you! No matter how a baby sleeps, the parents are likely to be on a guided tour through the forbidding land of sleep deprivation.Working moms especially need to secure their own oxygen masks first. That’s not to underestimate the difficulties working moms face. But when we’re able to make sleep a priority, we’re able to give our best selves to the ones we love and care for – without sacrificing ourselves and our own well-being in the process. 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 term. 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 coauthor, 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 can get to a second chance at a good night’s sleep.
Elizabeth Brigham@esbrigham · Director, marketing and communications
@ariannahuff thank you for answering my question. Maybe that commute home on the train is a perfect time for a quick nap :)
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Καλημέρα Αριάννα! I've found that the best way to connect with very busy people is to be of assistance in something they care about. What would be 3 things someone can do to help you right now? Looking forward to helping you. Ευχαριστώ!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What motivated you to shift from the right further to the left on the political spectrum?
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What can be done to help (American) companies change from a 'long hours work ethic' to a culture that values results, efficiency and productivity over face time and hours spent in the office?
Charles Kunene@charles_kunene · Co-founder & Product Designer @Obaa
Arianna, what differences do you see between Lyft and Uber that give Uber a competitive advantage? Also, what about Travis and his company resonates with you?
Paritosh Praharaj@paripraharaj · Co-founder, TribesDo
How did you build your company's culture in the beginning? What were the challenges that you faced?
Tom Charde@tomcharde · Brand + UX + Web Strategist
Welcome, @ariannahuff. An increasingly concerning issue is the deliberate spread of misinformation on social media under the guise of “fake / parody / satire news” sites. When bogus content (especially politics / social issues) is shared they can spawn emotion-fueled threads, hateful comments and even offline violence — all by people who have no idea that they’re reacting to a fabrication. I see these sites becoming more and more detrimental to society. Since they hide under the protection of the First Amendment, do you think there's anything else that can be done about them?
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hi Arianna, thanks for being here today. Has anything surprised you about how people have received The Sleep Revolution?
Shanna Fujii@shannafujii · Editor-in-Chief, Bloguettes
Hi Arianna! Thanks so much for doing this! What kind of job experience have you previously had? Have you ever walked into a new company with a manager/leadership role? How do you address employees both under you and alongside you in a way that retains respect & authority?