“I didn’t sleep too well last night,” declares Ananya Birla as we settle down for a chat on the side lines of the Thrive Global India Leadership Summit. That’s hardly surprising. She is the rising star of Indian artistes singing in English with five platinum hits under her trendy belt, and there’s no stopping her.

She just released her pop collaboration “Day Goes By” with Jamaican-American hitmaker Sean Kingston, launched a clothing line inspired by her choices, and is set for a five-city tour this October. Of course, this is besides the three ventures she is already helming.

Lack of sleep is one of her current challenges. “I can feel it when I’m sleeping less, I feel dizzy and my thoughts run a little slowly, I zone out while talking to someone, and am more prone to feeling depressed.”

The extremely health conscious singer-entrepreneur has worked it out though. “It is very important to sleep very well. I need my eight hours of sleep, even if it is catching a half-hour nap during the day, it really helps me.”

Refresh routines

Besides sleep, being around people she loves helps her recharge. Another nightly ritual is: “Talking to my best friend about how I’m feeling, how my day went, general funny things about what’s going on in our lives. It is important to feel connected outside your lifestyle, to feel loved and understood, feel more than just that role.”

Then there’s music. When not performing, she is rehearsing or just listening to music.

“I’m particular about my skin, so I use different products and drink at least three litres of water every day. Also, I have to have my masala chai twice a day!”

Before bed I say a short prayer, relax my entire body, and tend to fall asleep very naturally

Ananya Birla

It’s all about rituals

The eldest daughter of Kumar Mangalam Birla and Neerja Birla, she is very grounded in her upbringing and says she draws a lot of inspiration and courage from her parents.

Being conscious about sleep patterns has helped her focus better. “Before bed I say a short prayer, relax my entire body, and tend to fall asleep very naturally,” says Birla who sometimes has to stay awake well into the early hours for work.

“I try not to look at my phone as soon as I wake up because your mind gets stimulated very fast. I try to settle in, breathe, think about what I have to do today.”

Another penchant is the latest news: “I like to feel connected!” Post chai, a couple of poems, a dose of music and she is ready to take the world on, “When I have my shield on, that’s when I pick up my phone and respond to my e-mails, look at social media, and start my day.”


  • Kuheli Sen

    Writer, Editor, Storyteller

    Kuheli Sen is a writer-journalist by choice and loves to explore human interest inspirational features. She has worked with leading media houses in India and abroad. Her keen investment in seeing the world a better place makes her challenge ideas and hunt for solutions. When not working, she can be found sketching, reading, learning new activities, baking/ cooking and motivating herself to do more.