The Sleep Revolution: How Arianna Huffington is changing the way we think about sleep one page at a time

We are huge fans of Arianna Huffington's new book The Sleep Revolution. It contains valuable insight into the way sleep plays into our waking lives and our health, including reducing the risks of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Arianna highlights that although we may feel like we are getting ahead by cutting back on sleep the consequences can be dangerous and that with sufficient sleep both our personal and professional lives will be far richer.

A deep dive into the prevalent sleeping pill industry is also discussed as well as setting up simple habits such as a sleep schedule to help us live so much better are included.

Simply put, you can't cheat sleep and some of the most successful people in the world prioritize sleep in their daily lives. Arianna highlights Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Eric Schmidt of Google.

We highly recommend spending some time checking out this book, the better the quality of your sleep the better life you'll live, it's as simple as that.

Stay in bed tonight

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Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized - Via Brain Pickings

“In both writing and sleeping,” Stephen King observed in his excellent meditation on the art of “creative sleep” and wakeful dreaming, “we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”

Over the years, in my endless fascination with daily routines, I found myself especially intrigued by successful writers’ sleep habits — after all, it’s been argued that “sleep is the best (and easiest) creative aphrodisiac” and science tells us that it impacts everything from our moods to our brain development to our every waking moment. I found myself wondering whether there might be a correlation between sleep habits and literary productivity. The challenge, of course, is that data on each of these variables is hard to find, hard to quantify, or both. So I turned to Italian information designer Giorgia Lupi and her team at Accurat — who make masterful visualizations of cultural phenomena seemingly impossible to quantify — and, together, we set out to explore whether it might be possible to visualize such a correlation.

First, I handed them my notes on writers’ wake-up times, amassed over years of reading biographies, interviews, journals, and other materials. Many came from two books — Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey and Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors by Celia Blue Johnson — as well as from the Paris Review interviews and various collections of diaries and letters.

We ended up with a roster of thirty-seven writers for whom wake-up times were available — this became the base data set, around which we set out to quantify, then visualize, the literary productivity of each author.

One important caveat is that there is an enormous degree of subjectivity in assessing a literary — or any creative — career, but since all information visualization is an exercise in subjective editorial judgment rather than a record of Objective Truth, we settled on a set of quantifiable criteria to measure “productivity”: number of published works and major awards received. Given that both the duration and the era of an author’s life affect literary output — longer lives offer more time to write, and some authors lived before the major awards were established — those variables were also indicated for context.

Lastly, I reached out to Wendy MacNaughtonillustrator extraordinaire and very frequent collaborator — and asked her to contribute an illustrated portrait for each of the authors.

The end result — a labor of love months in the making — is this magnificent visualization of the correlation between writers’ wake-up times, displayed in clock-like fashion around each portrait, and their literary productivity, depicted as different-colored “auras” for each of the major awards and stack-bars for number of works published, color-coded for genre. The writers are ordered according to a “timeline” of earliest to latest wake-up times, beginning with Balzac’s insomniac 1 A.M. and ending with Bukowski’s bohemian noon.

The most important caveat of all, of course, is that there are countless factors that shape a writer’s creative output, of which sleep is only one — so this isn’t meant to indicate any direction of causation, only to highlight some interesting correlations: for instance, the fact that (with the exception of outliers who are both highly prolific and award-winning, such as like Bradbury and King) late risers seem to produce more works but win fewer awards than early birds.

The most important point, perhaps, is a meta one: A reminder that no specific routine guarantees success, and the only thing that matters is having a routine and the persistence implicit to one. Showing up day in and day out, without fail, is the surest way to achieve lasting success.

Pore over (click the image to zoom) and delight in drawing your own conclusions or merely in taking some voyeuristic enjoyment:

The visualization is available as a gorgeous giclée print, with a third of the proceeds donated to literacy nonprofit Room to Read and the rest split between Accurat and Wendy.

Sleep: My Time Away From Time

Strangely sleep that activity in which we will spend a third of our lives, remains largely a mystery. We know that sleep is important. The fact that an activity which demands we lay dormant and vulnerable for hours on end, has survived through evolution is testament to sleeps vital importance. And yet this haunting mystery looms over the strange everyday of human experience.

Our brains are as “awake,”and active sleeping as when we are conventionally thought to be awake. So how can we justify such an unjustified waste of time?

Holly Books refers to sleep as a “taste of death,” and for much of my own life this was my attitude towards it - reluctantly reverent and accepting of its necessity. But as time passes and more and more I experience the hustle and flow of everyday, the endless passing of people and time – I have come to greatly value my time away from time. I have come to love the mystery of sleep and the time it generously affords me of myself.

After some curious investigation – the reasons for sleep are as numerous as the nights of our lives. Each day’s struggle offers new inspiration for sleep, rest and meditation. My time asleep the whole world disappears and I am afforded respite from tired days. Sleep is full of experience. And although I often do not remember my dreams, I know like childhood these are experiences which I will have and which will stay with me as an integral part of my life.

Nile Threads