In life, we don’t know everything, even though a few of us pretend to think we do.
According to Socrates “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” And I totally agree as I could not believe my ignorance when it came to healthy sleeping.
I love to write and do many other things and so have never understood how people could be bored or lose themselves in TV. I could go for months without watching TV because my imagination was more than enough to amuse me.
One day I was introduced to Arianna Huffington on a Tim Ferris podcast. I loved her story and decided to know more about her life by googling.
I discovered she founded Huffington Post, which she sold for many millions. She was a very hard working woman that continued to push herself. From Huffington Post, she started a new platform for Health & Wellbeing called Thrive Global.
I did more research on this and realised it was movement where she preached on sleeping, eating and feeling well.
Thrive Global is a holistic Health & Well-being platform with sound scientific research behind it. She had also raised millions of dollars to ensure the work succeeded.
She said in the interview that one day, she collapsed from overwork and exhaustion and it became a wakeup call for her. What impressed me in all this was the end of the interview when she gave away her email address, which I took down carefully.
I nursed her address for months before mustering the courage to contact her and told her a bit about myself. She emailed back to say she thought that I could write for her platform and gave me a link to a staff member. It took me many more months to write my 1st article for Thrive Global titled “At last…. I get what freedom means to me…” It was published, and I actually liked it.
Afterwards I downloaded her podcast and periodically listened to her interviews with various celebrities. I loved the fact that she had an accent (like me!) and secretly started calling her ‘Mama Arianna’.
This was because she kept going on and on about sleeping. I was getting irritated because to me, sleep was the least important of things. I did not want to miss an iota of my life, good or bad, but sleep interrupted that! Sometimes, I would go to bed at about 2 or 3 am (or even 4 am at weekends) and still get up for work.
For years, I had been able to survive on 6 hours of sleep (normal for me) and managed on 4 to 5 hours (difficult but doable). I also could not remember the last time I dreamt and actually remembered it. My luck was that once I landed my head on the pillow, I was gone!
I developed some health issues and never once linked this to my sleeping habit. Then there was ‘Mama Arianna’ going on and on about sleeping 7 to 8 hours a day! Was she crazy?
How was I meant to achieve that?! She would then say if you slept less than 7 hours, you were part of 1% of the population who were genetically predisposed to do this. I felt special!
Perhaps the preaching finally seeped in, and I decided to start going to bed earlier and waking earlier, as opposed to working through the night.
I was still doing 6 hours a night and always woke up energetic. I listened to another of Arianna’s interview with a well-known American broadcaster and then came that nagging voice again “you must sleep 7 to 8 hours a day. It is scientifically proven. Here comes our sleep expert to tell you more…”.
So I decided to give in and test this sleeping for 7 hours. The first night was a Friday, so I went to bed late and left the alarm off. I woke up groggy and had slept for 10 hours! That was too long, and I had developed a headache.
I then tried again and slept for 8 hours (not too bad). I now take a regular 7 hours sleep(still working on 8 hours). The most marked change was that I began to remember my dreams. I was happier, prayed more, and did more work in less time!
In fact, I owe her a big thanks. If you used to be like me, try and change your habit; you will not believe the difference.
Thank you, ‘Mama Arianna’!
I have a popular herbal tea combo that knocks me out if I don’t drop off(rarely happens). Email me if you want it. I cannot promise it would do the same for you but worth a try.
Originally published at stellaahmadou.com on December 27, 2018.