Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post // © 2016 Arianna Huffington
Feature image (above): Huffington hopes to change our culture’s perception of sleep. // © 2016 iStock
The Huffington Post co-founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington wants to reignite our love of sleep. In her new book “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time,” Huffington explains how our culture devalues sleep, seeing it as an option rather than essential for health, happiness and productivity.
But the tide may be turning.
“We’re starting to get back to that recognition,” Huffington told TravelAge West in an interview. “Many hotels are even prioritizing the sleep experience.”
This means companies such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and others offer amenities including soundproof rooms, purified air and blackout curtains. Others are installing specialty mattresses and lighting, Vitamin C-infused showers and hiring “sleep concierges.”
Huffington commutes regularly between New York and Los Angeles and also jets around the entire world, launching international editions of The Huffington Post including Australia, U.K., Canada, Italy, Brazil, Japan and more. If anyone knows a thing or two about the importance of sleep while traveling, it’s her.
Below, find Huffington’s sleep tips for travelers, as well as which travel agency books her trips — and saves her time for more sleep.
What’s a common misstep people make in terms of sleep while travelling?
One of the things sleep deprivation does is rob us of joy. It makes us more reactive, more moody and more cranky — all the things we don’t want to be.
Do not schedule anything the minute you get off the plane. You need some transition time. You need to be able to get to your hotel, take a shower and a nap. Then, you will be much more effective for your meetings or activities.
Minimizing alcohol and salty foods and drinking lots of water are basic travel tips seasoned travelers are aware of. What other advice to you have?
Prepare a little travel kit for the plane with an eye mask — maybe some lavender spray or a silk pillowcase. A travel kit doesn't take up a lot of room but creates an environment where you can find it easier to go to sleep on the plane, no matter what goes on around you. I swear by my Bose noise-canceling headphones. Have these things ready and available to you.
Some things are beyond our control, including flight delays that push back our sleep or a baby who cries for the whole flight. In what ways can we control sleep when we’re traveling?
We may not be able to control certain things, but we can control how we get on the plane — such as not getting on in an exhausted state because we’ve been running around getting everything done before leaving. We can control how we schedule ourselves once we arrive at our destination.
We’ve all seen lighted screens emitting from people’s devices when the plane’s lights are turned off during a night flight. How does technology impair us when we’re trying to sleep?
I think we have not learned to prioritize sleep. People must first change their minds about the importance of sleep. Once they recognize how critical it is, then it will be easier to change habits. You’ll create a transition to sleep.
At home, mine starts with turning off my devices, charging them outside the bedroom, having a hot bath with Epsom salts and lighting candles to help me slow down my brain. I get into bed with special sleep clothes and read physical books, not books on screens.
Do you have a travel agent?
Yes, I use Altour. I love my travel agent because she knows exactly what I need. When I tell her where I’m traveling, she will eliminate a lot of things that I don’t like. For example, I don't take connecting flights if there is a nonstop flight. I like an aisle seat because I drink so much water; I want to be able to go to the bathroom without climbing over people. I love being in the front row if possible so I can stretch my legs. Having a travel agent who knows what you like is a huge time saver.
Does your travel agent have a copy of your book?