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Expert Advice: Secrets for Better Sleep from Arianna Huffington

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Expert Advice: Secrets for Better Sleep from Arianna Huffington

March 2, 2018

Evidently, you can sleep your way to the top. At least that’s what Arianna Huffington says—”sleep,” to be clear, meaning a good old-fashioned night’s rest. In her latest book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, the Huffington Post founder, author, and businesswoman advocates a return to prioritizing sleep over being constantly available and plugged-in. It’s a philosophy Huffington puts into place in business (her company, Thrive Global, is dedicated to wellness in the workplace) and in life (she had a nap room designed in the SoHo headquarters featuring mattresses from Greek company Coco-Mat and scents such as eucalyptus and lavender—an idea we can get behind).

So how does a high-powered entrepreneur rest up at home? Turns out, Huffington has a few unbreakable rules: No pets on the bed, no working in bed (sex and sleep only), and no electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime. “I love the idea of rekindling the romance with sleep,” she told Fast Company. We asked Huffington how she’s set up her bedroom for the ideal night’s sleep—and how we can do the same. Here are her tips.

A restful bedroom in designer Michaela Scherrer’s home (note the lack of paperwork and electronics). Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home.
Above: A restful bedroom in designer Michaela Scherrer’s home (note the lack of paperwork and electronics). Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home.

Remodelista: How have you set up your own bedroom for a good night’s sleep?

Arianna Huffington: My bedroom is dark, and I keep it cool. But more important is what’s not there—a charger for my phone. Our phones are repositories of everything we need to put away to allow us to sleep—our to-do lists, our inboxes, the demands of the world. So putting my phone to bed outside my bedroom as a regular part of my bedtime ritual makes me much more likely to wake up as fully charged as my phone.

RM: So where do you store your phone at bedtime?

AH: In the next room! And if I’m traveling, it will go as far away from my bed as possible, which often means the bathroom.

An analog bedside clock, spotted at Hollywood-Style Zen in Malibu: Nobu Ryokan Guesthouse on Carbon Beach. Photograph by Laure Joliet.
Above: An analog bedside clock, spotted at Hollywood-Style Zen in Malibu: Nobu Ryokan Guesthouse on Carbon Beach. Photograph by Laure Joliet.

RM: So do you use an old-school alarm clock instead?

AH: I have an analog alarm clock. I highly recommend them, since the alarm function is the reason a lot of people keep their phone by their bed.

RM: What’s allowed into your bedroom and what’s kept out?

AH: No laptops, no iPads, no screens. I do love having newspapers all over the place, magazines and books too!

A serene, no-tech bedside. See more at The Soulful Side of Old Cape Cod: Justine’s Family Cottage.
Above: A serene, no-tech bedside. See more at The Soulful Side of Old Cape Cod: Justine’s Family Cottage.

RM: What else is on your nightstand?

AH: A pile of books, often some flowers, a candle, a note pad, water, and always photos of my daughters.

RM: Is there a way of arranging the furniture in your bedroom that you’ve found to be helpful for sleep?

AH: It was just about what felt comfortable, which is the most important thing. Anxiety is such a sleep killer, so if something doesn’t feel good in your bedroom, change it.

Photograph from Unfussy Jersey Bedding from Dehei in New Zealand. (See also Linen Logic:  Tips for Taking Care of Your Bedding.)
Above: Photograph from Unfussy Jersey Bedding from Dehei in New Zealand. (See also Linen Logic: 20 Tips for Taking Care of Your Bedding.)

RM: What about bedding: Do you prefer linen or cotton sheets? A blanket or a down comforter?

AH: Now that I live in New York City—instead of Los Angeles—I have seasons again. So it changes. Fluffy down comforters and blankets in the winter, which changes to lighter blankets and quilts in the summer. And cotton sheets and down pillows—lots of them.

RM: What’s your position on TV versus no TV in the bedroom?

AH: I have a TV, but it’s never on when I’m getting ready to go to sleep.

Among our favorite pajama sets: the J. Crew Vintage Pajama Set in white. See Editors’ Picks: loading=
Above: Among our favorite pajama sets: the J. Crew Vintage Pajama Set in white. See Editors’ Picks: 12 Best Pajamas for Lounging for more.

RM: What is a small habit shift that’s made all the difference at bedtime?

AH: I don’t sleep in my workout clothes as I used to—think of the mixed message that sends to our brains—but instead now wear pajamas or nightgowns or even T-shirts dedicated only to sleep.

We like this purifying Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask; $ from Natala Natala. Find more design-forward travel essentials at From Japan with Love: 8 Accessories for the Seasoned Traveler.
Above: We like this purifying Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask; $24 from Natala Natala. Find more design-forward travel essentials at From Japan with Love: 8 Accessories for the Seasoned Traveler.

RM: What about when you’re traveling. What can you pack to ensure a good night’s sleep?

AH: For long plane trips, I pack comfortable sweatpants, noise-cancelling headphones, some downloads of my favorite guided meditations, and a fabulous eye mask. Those are all handy for the hotel, as well.

More on designing the bedroom for optimal sleep:

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