Arianna Huffington, Andre Iguodala share benefits of sleep with Stanford students

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala
Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala in the team’s final game of the regular NBA season, Wednesday, April 13, 2016. Earlier in the week, Iguodala visited Stanford’s campus to speak to students about sleep. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Quick quiz: What’s the topic of discussion when you bring together a media entrepreneur, a NBA basketball player and a narcolepsy expert?

Answer: Sleep! Or rather, the lack of it, the importance of it and our quirky cultural norms surrounding that oh-so-essential daily activity.

Sleep was the topic of a conversation last week on Stanford’s campus between ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, founder of The Huffington Postand ANDRE IGUODALA, award-winning forward with the Golden State Warriors, who were introduced by Stanford narcolepsy expert EMMANUEL MIGNOT.

The occasion was the release of Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution, which calls for Americans to rethink their relationship with sleep, which is integral to health, mental well-being and performance. Huffington’s passion for all-things sleep started when she collapsed, suddenly, due to sheer exhaustion. (For the story, check out her 4-minute 2010 TED talk).

Huffington’s story is inspirational. But Iguodala’s made a reporter want to grab some special jammies and a cup of chamomile tea and snuggle up in a dark, cool room.

Iguodala said he was able to truly excel in basketball after consulting with former Stanford, now University of California, San Francisco, sleep expert CHERI MAH. He once stayed up late, rising early to practice and then getting his major chunk of sleep during a 4-hour midday nap.

No more. Now, Iguodala’s nap is short, an hour or so. He watches what he eats at night — no spicy or heavy foods right before bed. There’s no TV. He reads before going to bed. He keeps his bedroom nice and cool. He performs breathing exercises to calm down and has a stretching routine. And the pajamas? He has special ones—ones that he says emphasize the importance of the task.

“You have to put yourself in the right state of mind. It’s almost like getting ready to go to work,” Iguodala said.

To address his current injury, Iguodala is spending even more time snoozing, a change he attributes to allowing him to return a bit earlier than planned.

Huffington and event organizer CAROLE PERTOFSKY, a director of wellness and health promotion services at Vaden Health Center, challenged the students to emulate Iguodala — by prioritizing sleep and getting at least seven to eight hours each night as often as they can.

This item was originally posted on the Medical School’s SCOPE blog.

You can view video of the event here.