Arianna Highlights Pro Athletes Who Have Improved Their Game Thanks To Sleep

Star players like Andre Iguodala and Roger Federer rely on rest to perform their best on game day.

Several professional athletes are catching on to the notion that sleep is paramount to their success, and are attributing a solid night's rest to playing better, Huffington Post Media Group Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington writes in her new book, The Sleep Revolution.

Golden State Warriors MVP Andre Iguodala told Huffington that getting eight hours of sleep per night has even allowed him to foul other players less, she said Monday during an interview with PBS's Charlie Rose. 

Star tennis player Roger Federer also "talks about how essential sleep is before game day," Huffington added. "Before Wimbledon, he has a separate house for himself and [one] for his family so his sleep isn't disturbed."

People began to "scorn and devalue sleep" during the first Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, Huffington found through her research. "We began to think that human beings could be treated like machines," she explained.

Even visionaries like Thomas Edison, she said, called sleep an "absurdity," and predicted that there would be a time when people would eliminate it entirely.

Edison has been proven wrong. Studies have shown that a nap in the morning can boost creative thinking, while afternoon naps can help people feel better physically. 

A lack of sleep has been proven to increase our body's levels of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone.

"Every day we have new scientific connections about sleep and every aspect of our health, from obesity and hypertension to heart disease, cancer, every aspect of our emotional intelligence and mood," Huffington said.

The corporate world is even getting on board. Consulting firm McKinsey, she noted, published a study in the Harvard Business Review in February that proves sleep deficiencies "undermine important forms of leadership behavior and eventually hurt financial performance."

Huffington highlighted these conclusions in a conversation with CNBC on Tuesday morning, and encouraged business leaders to get more shuteye.

"Leaders who are sleep-deprived are less likely to come up with solutions, less likely to be able to build and motivate teams, less likely to find shortcuts through problems," she said. "We used to believe that sleep was a time of inactivity, it was like turning off the ignition in the car. In fact, it is a time of frenetic activity." 

The Sleep Revolution hit shelves Tuesday.

This article has been updated with comments from Huffington's CNBC interview. Ryan Grenoble contributed reporting.



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