Countless studies will tell you about how necessary a good night’s sleep is to having a more productive day, and an overall happier and healthier life. But when it comes down to it, bedtime isn’t the same for everyone, and it can be hard to regulate a healthy sleep schedule. While the benefits of a morning routine are more widely proclaimed, a bedtime routine is arguably just as valuable for getting the most success out of each day.
Below, we’ve listed a few common (and a few not-so-common) bedtime habits of some of the world’s most successful people.
- Make a Plan
Successful people have both short and long term goals, but know that it’s overwhelming to wake up aimless and unsure of what needs to be accomplished that day. Taking a few minutes to write down a to-do list can go a long way towards achieving those goals. Every night, Kenneth Chenault, the CEO of American Express, writes down three things he wants to accomplish the next day. According to Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, a good trick is to be strategic in writing your list, making sure that the first task listed is something that is exciting enough to get you out of bed in the morning.
“The more decisions you take out of your morning, the less hectic it’s going to be,” says Julie Morgenstern, the author of Time Management from the Inside Out. She suggests packing your bag for work and prepping your breakfast at night so it’s ready to go in the morning. Then, if you’re anything like writer Macaela Mackenzie, roll out your yoga mat and proceed to tip #2.
- Do What It Takes to Own Your Morning
According to Mackenzie, after admittedly hitting the snooze button a few times, she’s up and on her yoga mat by 7:15 a.m. “I roll it out the night before so I literally have to trip over it getting out of bed.” (Hey, we never said being productive would always be glamorous!)
Mackenzie isn’t the only successful person with a slightly uncommon bedtime routine. Singer Mariah Carey surrounds her bed with 20 humidifiers to keep her voice in top singing shape. Famed science-fiction writer Stephen King has a set of rituals he goes through before getting some shut-eye, including brushing his teeth, washing his hands, and making sure all of his pillows are pointing in a certain direction!
The takeaway here is that having a productive day doesn’t mean subscribing to one set of rules or tasks the night before. Do what you need to ensure a good night’s sleep, which will subsequently help ensure a strong, productive start to your morning.
Some more end-of-day habits that can lead to a better REM cycle include mediation and self-care, which leads us to our third tip.
- Wind Down / Meditate / Self Affirmations
All of these actions fall under the important umbrella of “self care.” Successful people know that in order to run a business and care for employees, or to run a home and care for a family, it is imperative to set aside time to care for themselves.
Buffer’s CEO, Joel Gascoigne, goes for a walk every night to clear his head. He refers to this time as a wind down period during which he can gradually stop thinking about the day’s work, and “reach a state of tiredness.” Julie Morgenstern encourages her busy entrepreneur clients to practice self care each night through journaling or listening to music, while stars like Gwyneth Paltrow prefer meditation.
Ben Franklin, a firm believer in self-improvement, asked himself the same question every night, tracking his progress in a journal: “What good have I done today?” Franklin’s other pre-bed rituals, which he termed diversions, included tidying up, listening to music, and conversation. This intelligent inventor and Founding Father knew the importance of distracting oneself from the work of the day.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and EIC of The Huffington Post, has stated more than once the importance of turning electronics off at night in order to truly unwind, even putting her phone in another room to avoid temptation. Of the same mindset is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who admits it isn’t easy to do but she turns her phone completely off at night after checking her last few emails. Lifestyle blogger and author Lauren Conrad explained in a post on her website, “I have found that I need to have some time at night where I don’t check my phone, don’t send emails and actually refrain from even thinking about what’s going on with work. Think of it as scheduling personal time — even block out your calendar for it! It’s important to go home, decompress and give your mind a break.”
One of the most common nighttime habits we found among successful people? Reading before bed. No matter what time he gets home, billionaire Bill Gates says that he makes sure to devote an hour to reading. President Obama, a self-proclaimed night owl, likes to read or write for at least a half an hour before getting some shut eye. Likewise, once her phone is in the other room, Arianna Huffington is also proponent of reading a few pages of a book before bed.
Ready to follow in the footsteps of these highly successful men and women? Click here to request more information about Community Care College’s classes and offerings. Then go get some sleep!