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TEDWomen 2010

Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep

December 7, 2010

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 - Journalist
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and former 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

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
My big idea
00:15
is a very, very small idea
00:17
that can unlock
00:19
billions of big ideas
00:21
that are at the moment dormant inside us.
00:24
And my little idea that will do that
00:27
is sleep.
00:29
(Laughter)
00:31
(Applause)
00:33
This is a room of type-A women.
00:37
This is a room
00:41
of sleep-deprived women.
00:43
And I learned the hard way,
00:46
the value of sleep.
00:48
Two-and-a-half years ago,
00:50
I fainted from exhaustion.
00:52
I hit my head on my desk. I broke my cheekbone,
00:54
I got five stitches on my right eye.
00:57
And I began the journey
01:00
of rediscovering the value of sleep.
01:02
And in the course of that,
01:05
I studied,
01:07
I met with medical doctors, scientists,
01:09
and I'm here to tell you
01:11
that the way to a more productive,
01:13
more inspired, more joyful life
01:16
is getting enough sleep.
01:18
(Applause)
01:21
And we women are going to lead the way
01:26
in this new revolution, this new feminist issue.
01:29
We are literally going to sleep our way to the top, literally.
01:33
(Laughter)
01:36
(Applause)
01:38
Because unfortunately
01:43
for men,
01:45
sleep deprivation has become a virility symbol.
01:47
I was recently having dinner with a guy
01:51
who bragged that he had only gotten
01:53
four hours sleep the night before.
01:55
And I felt like saying to him -- but I didn't say it --
01:57
I felt like saying, "You know what?
02:00
If you had gotten five,
02:02
this dinner would have been a lot more interesting."
02:04
(Laughter)
02:07
There is now a kind of sleep deprivation
02:10
one-upmanship.
02:12
Especially here in Washington, if you try to make a breakfast date,
02:14
and you say, "How about eight o'clock?"
02:17
they're likely to tell you, "Eight o'clock is too late for me,
02:19
but that's okay, I can get a game of tennis in
02:21
and do a few conference calls and meet you at eight."
02:23
And they think that means
02:26
that they are so incredibly busy and productive,
02:28
but the truth is they're not,
02:31
because we, at the moment,
02:34
have had brilliant leaders
02:36
in business, in finance, in politics,
02:38
making terrible decisions.
02:41
So a high I.Q.
02:44
does not mean that you're a good leader,
02:46
because the essence of leadership
02:49
is being able to see the iceberg
02:51
before it hits the Titanic.
02:53
And we've had far too many icebergs
02:56
hitting our Titanics.
02:59
In fact, I have a feeling
03:01
that if Lehman Brothers
03:03
was Lehman Brothers and Sisters,
03:05
they might still be around.
03:07
(Applause)
03:09
While all the brothers were busy
03:12
just being hyper-connected 24/7,
03:14
maybe a sister would have noticed the iceberg,
03:17
because she would have woken up from a seven-and-a-half- or eight-hour sleep
03:20
and have been able to see
03:24
the big picture.
03:26
So as we are facing
03:28
all the multiple crises
03:30
in our world at the moment,
03:32
what is good for us on a personal level,
03:35
what's going to bring more joy, gratitude,
03:38
effectiveness in our lives
03:41
and be the best for our own careers
03:43
is also what is best for the world.
03:46
So I urge you
03:49
to shut your eyes
03:52
and discover the great ideas
03:54
that lie inside us,
03:56
to shut your engines and discover the power of sleep.
03:58
Thank you.
04:01
(Applause)
04:03

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Arianna Huffington - Journalist
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and former 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.

Why you should listen

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of many books. She is also co-host of "Left, Right & Center," public radio’s popular political roundtable program, as well as "Both Sides Now," a weekly syndicated radio show with Mary Matalin moderated by Mark Green. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that has quickly become one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently cited media brands on the Internet.

Huffington's health and wellness company, Thrive Global, is set to launch in November 2016.

The original video is available on TED.com
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