Leadership

Why Arianna Huffington literally tucks her phone into bed every night—and why you should too

Bill Gates reads for an hour before bed. Oprah Winfrey enjoys meditating prior to catching some Zs. And billionaire media mogul Arianna Huffington, founder of wellness site Thrive Global, tucks her phone into bed every night.

In an interview with CNBC Make It, the media mogul explains why she performs this nightly ritual. Putting her phone to bed, she says, allows her to unplug, forces her to focus on her well-being and makes her much more productive when she wakes up. Here's how it works.

Huffington says that she uses a charging station, which looks like a bed, that has room for ten devices, including slots for iPads.

"You put your phone under the blanket and you tuck it in and say goodnight," she tells CNBC Make It.

Huffington explains that most people bring their phones into the bedroom, which in turn brings in work stress, to-do lists and the glare of the phone's light. "The idea is human beings learn through ritual and the charging station lives outside everybody's bedrooms," says Huffington.

This leads to a better night's rest, which most Americans aren't getting. In fact, although two-thirds of American workers admit they would be better employees if they got more sleep, few get the recommended eight hours.Yet numerous studies have shown that even one night of not getting proper sleep decreases your focus at work and negatively impacts your health.

By tucking your phone in, outside of your bedroom, you are able to fully recharge while your phone is also recharging.

This method is particularly beneficial for the incoming generation of children who are growing up in a digital-first world. "When you have a child, you [can] teach your child to put the phone in its bed," says Huffington.

But taking a break from your digital devices isn't just reserved for the nighttime. Huffington says that by taking time out of your day to unplug, you begin to discover more about yourself.

"We all have those deeper parts," she says. "Peace wisdom, strength. It doesn't take long to discover them."

Huffington adds that taking a break from your devices is a simple yet crucial well-being tip that people aren't giving enough attention. However, unplugging is becoming increasingly important as we become more and more addicted to our phones and to social media.

Taking a break from your smartphone, and all that comes with it, can also boost your career success.

Richard St. Branson, a success expert who has interviewed the likes of Bill Gates and Martha Stewart, tells CNBC Make It that unplugging will make you much more likely to reach your professional goals.

"Every minute you spend on social media is a minute lost on your career. One will make you money, the other won't," he says.

Putting your phone on mute also helps strengthen your relationships, another predictor of future success, and become much more self-reflective.

Arianna Huffington recently spoke with CNBC about the importance of self-care.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Arianna Huffington recently spoke with CNBC about the importance of self-care.

Huffington gives examples of times this can come into play as well as the benefits: "To have a meal with a friend without being constantly tempted to check your phones. To be able to sleep with your phone charging outside your room. To wake up in the morning and not rush to your phone immediately. To take five minutes to remember what you're grateful for and what your intention is."

Celebrities like Katy Perry and Selena Gomez who young people look up to as role models are also discussing the importance of taking a break from your phone and doing a "digital detox," she says.

Gomez told Thrive Global in 2016 that she had a 90-day digital cleanse during which she did not use her cell phone. "It was the most refreshing, calming, rejuvenating feeling," she told the publication. "Now I rarely pick up my phone, and only limited people have access to me."

Huffington does the same. In fact, she created the Thrive app, which allows her to deactivate her phone when she doesn't want to be reached. If her phone receives a text while it's on "thrive mode," she says, the sender receives an automatic text back explaining that she is in thrive mode for a set time period.

"That way, we change the cultural norms from always validating and always honoring people who are always on," says Huffington, "to honoring and validating people who prioritize their own well-being, their own relationships and themselves."

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