The New Yorker cast a folksy eye on sleep in its Dec 10 issue. The article by Zoe Heller, entitled Why We Sleep and Why We Often Can’t, discusses the still persistent belief that high achievers should take a measure of pride in disregarding slumber. Breaking down the misconception is happening, but perhaps slower than expected.
Heller brings up the case of Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution. Huffington was not always a believer in the power of sleep, instead opting to burn the candle at both ends—often to the extreme.
“These days, she retires at an eminently sensible hour each night, takes a hot bath with Epsom salts, drinks a cup of lavender or chamomile tea, and, just before getting into bed, writes a list of the things she is grateful for,” writes Heller. “As a consequence of her sleep-hygiene regimen, not only has her quality of life improved but her business has done fabulously, too. Sleep isn’t the enemy of success and ambition, she’s discovered, it’s the royal road to the corner office. ‘Sleep your way to the top!’ she jauntily enjoins us.” And yet, not everyone can so readily retire to a genteel night routine. Heller explores the why and why not of obtaining proper sleep in the 21 st century.