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Andre Iguodala and Arianna Huffington discuss sleep deprivation

Arianna Huffington and and Andre Iguodala discussed the importance of healthy sleep at a talk Monday evening. (KEVIN HSU/The Stanford Daily)

“You snooze, you lose” is not part of Andre Iguodala’s vocabulary.

Iguodala, an NBA player for Golden State Warriors, joined Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post, and Emmanuel Mignot, director of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, in a discussion Monday evening focusing on Huffington’s and Iguodala’s experiences with sleep deprivation and the importance of healthy sleep habits.

Earlier in his career, Iguodala suffered from insomnia due to a poor sleep schedule carrying over from his stressful time as a student athlete at the University of Arizona. Iguodala said he regularly stayed awake until 4 a.m. each day and took “long naps” instead of getting a good night’s sleep.

When he moved to the Golden State Warriors in 2013, he finally reached out to the team’s health director to address the problem. Iguodala worked to remove distractions from the bedroom, engaged in breathing exercises, changed his diet and began reading before bed, all in an effort to attain healthy sleep. After revamping his sleep habits, Iguodala saw markedly improved all-around performance on the court, ranging from morale to shooting to defense, ultimately culminating in Iguodala winning NBA Finals MVP for 2015.

“There was a direct correlation between sleeping a number of hours and performing well on the basketball court,” he said.

In turn, Huffington said she became what she calls a “sleep evangelist” several years ago, when she collapsed from sleep deprivation-induced exhaustion, hit her head and broke her cheekbone. After researching the problem, she came into contact with sleep research, reading the works of people like William Dement, Berry Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Mignot.

Huffington has since worked to fight the notion that sleeping too much connotes laziness; she writes about how poor sleep can negatively impact health, relationships and careers in her new book, “The Sleep Revolution.”

“Our culture is under the illusion that sleep deprivation is necessary for success,” Huffington said.

The event was sponsored by I Thrive at Stanford of the Vaden Health Center, peer health educators (PHEs), [email protected], and Stanford Healthy Campus 2020.

Contact Victor Xu at vxu ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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