Media mogul Arianna Huffington describes the epiphany that changed her life

Arianna Huffington: How to turn sleep into your secret weapon
Arianna Huffington: How to turn sleep into your secret weapon

In an age where 80-hour workweeks can be a badge of honor, it's less a matter of if you'll burn out than when.

But reaching the top doesn't have to come at the expense of your health, according to Arianna Huffington, the president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.

Huffington, author of the recently released book "The Sleep Revolution," has been on a mission to extoll the virtues of a balanced life ever since 2007, when she collapsed from exhaustion in her office and broke her cheekbone.

The event served as a wake-up call.

"That's when I started looking around and seeing that millions of people are burned out; it wasn't just me," she told CNBC in a recent interview.

"We are living as a country under the collective delusion that in order to succeed, we have to burn out along the way."

Arianna Huffington
Mike Pont | WireImage | Getty Images

For most people, sleeping seven to nine hours a day is pivotal to leading a productive life, Huffington said, but more importantly, people can't enjoy life if they're tired.

"We are all very blessed to be here and alive," she said. "Why sacrifice the experience of joy and presence simply because we are exhausted?"

Huffington has achieved most worldly measures of success — regularly appearing on lists of the world's most powerful and influential people and making millions in the 2011 sale of The Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million.

And yet in her journey to the top, Huffington has learned that success is not just about money and power. Those are just "two legs of the stool," she said.

"The third leg of the stool starts with our own well-being, our capacity to tap into our own wisdom, to experience the wonders of life and to give back," Huffington said.

"When all of that is incorporated, then we truly have a successful life."