Thrive by Sleeping Your Way to the Top


Okay, okay, get your minds out of the gutter!  The concept of redefining and attaining success by improving our strained relationship with sleep is presented in my latest read, Thrive by Arianna Huffington.  This book has been on my reading list since it came out in early 2014.  We were encouraged to take one of Arianna’s suggestions and attempt a 7-day challenge (keep phone plugged in another room at night, 8 hours of sleep a night, unplug completely on weekend, etc).  For today’s post, I’m sharing how things went during my personal 7-day challenge.

While reading the book, there were a few messages that really stuck out for me:

I personally have always had a very strained relationship with time.  Dr. Seuss summed it up beautifully: “How did it get so late so soon?  It’s night before it’s afternoon.  December is here before it’s June.  My goodness how the time has flewn.  How did it get so late so soon?” ~ pg. 7

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life.  But there was always some obstacle in the way.  Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.  Then life would begin.  At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. ~ Fr. Alfred D’Souza ~ pg. 21

Esther Sternberg explains that “healing is a verb; the body is constantly repairing itself.  That’s what life is.  You know, a rock just sits there and it eventually gets into sand or mud or something as the elements affect it.  But a living being is constantly repairing itself against all of these different insults at a very molecular level, at a cellular level, at an emotional level.  So disease happens when the repair process is not keeping up with the damage process. ~ pg. 37

We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.  Sleep, or how little of it we need, has become a symbol of our prowess.  We make a fetish of not getting enough sleep, and we boast about how little sleep we get.  ~ pg. 74

Getting a good night’s sleep, of course, is an easier resolution to make than to keep.  We had to tune out a host of temptations – from Jon Stewart to our email in-boxes.  And most of all, we had to ignore the workaholic wisdom that says we’re lazy for not living up to the example set by notoriously self-professed undersleepers.  ~ pg. 79

By sleeping more we, in fact, become more competent and in control of our lives.  It gives new meaning to the old canard of women sleeping our way to the top. ~ pg. 80

{ My Personal Challenge // Sleep My Way to the Top }

My goal was simple.  As we typically get an early start to our day – up by 5 am – I needed to be in bed by 10 pm each night in order to get ~7 hours of sleep.  To be honest, sometimes I set the alarm for 4:45, and allow myself to hit snooze a couple of times.  And sometimes when the alarm goes off, and I tell the hubby that I need to sleep a little longer and I will walk in to the office.  There was the added challenge the weekend before last of “losing one hour” due to the Daylight Savings time change.  On the flip side, it was unusually warm all week, so I made the conscious decision to sleep until 6 am and walk in to work every day.  I only captured 5 nights of data, because on 2 nights, I had dinner parties which lasted WAY PAST my 10 pm goal…and made me sleep in WAY PAST my 6 am clock.

Overall, not too shabby!!!  One thing I immediately noticed is that I used to feel like it took me FOREVER to fall asleep.  But by sticking to a fairly simple routine for a week, it took me less than 10 minutes to fall asleep each night.  My routine consisted of the following:  watching TV with the hubby until about 9-9:30 (depending on when our current show ends), putting on my PJs, turning on the fan and humidifier, covering up the LCD clock (it emits a bright green glow throughout the room), turning on my bedside lamp to the lowest setting, and reading in bed for a good 15-30 minutes.  Once I find myself re-reading a sentence, or my eyes getting droopy, I roll over and turn off the lamp.  Down and out.

You may also see the trend that with each passing night, my actual sleep time became less and less…  Perhaps this is typical of a work week?  Perhaps I’m motivated and well-rested at the beginning of the week, and then as my days gets fuller and my stress level gets higher, it takes me a bit longer to unwind at night.  I am sure this is why weekends feel so welcoming to most of us…we get a chance to “catch-up” on our sleep!  Although, I have noticed, that if I keep a fairly consistent schedule, and meet my body’s required amount of sleep, there are days when I wake up right before the alarm!  I can actually pet the cat and smile at the hubby – instead of hitting the snooze button, shoving the cat off the bed, and grunting at the hubby.  Those are the good days!  Those are the days that my body feels rewarded…that my mind feels refreshed.  I believe we could all use a few more of those days.

A few other things I noticed, which were ‘consistent’ with the findings in multiple studies cited in the book: my energy lasted throughout the day; I felt more will power to exercise; and to be honest, I felt more creative in my work.  I know there are multiple factors that can contribute to these results, such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, etc., but I did notice that I felt rested…not yawning throughout the late morning, and not feeling as grumpy in the early evenings.

Moving forward – I definitely don’t think I can maintain 8 hours every night…but I feel that I can easily stay between 7 and 7.5 hours – which is still pretty good in my book!

This post was inspired by Thrive by Arianna Huffington who challenges women unplug and sleep more to create a balanced life.  Join From Left to Write on March 19th as we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

So what’s your biggest obstacle to getting a full night of sleep?



4 thoughts on “Thrive by Sleeping Your Way to the Top

  1. 99%! That’s impressive. That’s good to know about falling asleep more quickly once your body is trained for it.

  2. Pingback: Book Club Challenge: Thrive by Arianna Huffington - From Left to Write

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