SLOW YOUR ROLL

Arianna Huffington is working like crazy to sell you her rest and relaxation brand

Obsession
Life as Laboratory
Obsession
Life as Laboratory

Arianna Huffington can’t stop working. But she’d really like you to try.

The former Huffington Post chief famously collapsed from exhaustion in 2007, then had an epiphany, took up meditation and yoga, and wrote a best-selling book. Thrive, released in 2014, positioned Huffington as one of the nation’s most vociferous workplace well-being evangelists. This April, she released another book, The Sleep Revolution, which argues that the US is in a sleep-deprivation crisis that can only be fixed by “renewing our relationship with sleep.” All of the above is part of Thrive Global, Huffington’s nascent wellness empire, which she quit The Huffington Post in August to run full-time.

“The idea behind Thrive is to end the delusion that we have to burn out in order to succeed and provide specific micro-steps, as we call them, that can make us not just survive, but thrive,” Huffington told Fortune.

In an abstract way, Thrive is selling the power of chilling out—even though Huffington, currently on a whirlwind promotional tour, and seems incapable of slowing her own roll. But since sleep is, you know, free, Thrive also sells actual stuff: corporate partnerships, training programs, and sleep-related products. Thrive’s website also offers wellness-focused content from contributors like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The Thrive online store—to be bolstered by pop-up shops like the one that sprang up in New York earlier this month—offers everything from non-pharmacological sleep aids to meditation guides to high-end silk sleeping masks. Huffington has also partnered with sleep-pod makers and wellness enthusiasts on products that help people disconnect, like a family phone charger shaped like a bed, or a cheeky $88 pillow that says “sleep your way to the top.”

There’s some irony in all of this, being told by a burned-out workaholic to sleep more so that we can lead a happier, better, healthier (but still super productive) life. Huffington seems to have just recently discovered relaxation—she calls it “the third metric” of success, alongside money and power—as if it never occurred to her before that life is about more than accomplishments and prizes. She’s an unlikely chill guru, to say the least.

Thrive bears that out: Huffington’s latest array of products and solutions makes sleep seem complicated, elusive, attainable only with the help of a yoga habit and a $249 brain-sensing headband. It’s all just so…exhausting. Then again, maybe that’s the point.

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