The night routines of notable people

26 October 2017 - mindful practices

“A good day starts the night before.” – Unknown

We’re usually more interested in the power of morning routines but it’s just as important to end our day right. What we do before we sleep determines the quality of our sleep, which impacts our mood and energy level the next day. Sleep is often overlooked as an ingredient for success, but research shows that it plays a vital role in decision-making, emotional intelligence, cognitive function and creativity. The lack of it is often the cause behind anxiety, stress, depression and other health issues.

Finding a routine that helps you unwind and recharge also reduces work-related stress, allowing you to get the most out of your evenings. So play with your pet or write a to-do list in advance—whatever puts you in a good frame of mind for the next day.

There’s no one-size-fits-all routine, but here’s some inspiration from some notable people.

1. Sheryl Sandberg

The Facebook COO leaves her office at the same time every night so that she’s able to have dinner with her children. She unwinds by reading books and watching “bad TV”. She also switches off her phone once it’s time for bed so that she has uninterrupted sleep.

2. Bill Gates

The co-founder of Microsoft reads for an hour before bed. “It’s part of falling asleep,” he says.

3. Joel Gascoigne

The co-founder and CEO of Buffer takes a 20-minute walk every evening before bed. The National Sleep Foundation found that exercising helps us sleep better. Walking—especially in nature—has been found to reduce stress and anxiety.

4. Arianna Huffington

The founder of Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night At A Time shares her tips for a night routine that ensures better sleep. Here are our favourites:

• No electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime (or remove all devices from your bedroom)
• No working on the bed
• Do some light stretching and deep breathing
• Wear pyjamas to send a sleep-friendly message to your body
• Read physical books or use an e-reader that does not emit blue light
• Drink chamomile or lavender tea
• Write a list of things you are grateful for

5. Cal Newport

Here’s the bestselling author’s “shutdown ritual”:

1. He reviews his task lists and schedules tasks.
2. He reflects about what he’s completed then reviews his plans for the weeks ahead.
3. He says, “Schedule shutdown, complete”, which signifies that everything is in order. He repeats this phrase to calm his nerves whenever a work-related thought pops up in the evenings.

6. Kenneth Chenault

Every night before bed, the American Express CEO writes down 3 things he wants to accomplish the next day.

7. Barack Obama

The former President of the United States and self-proclaimed night owl describes his typical evening routine as such: “Have dinner with the family, hang out with the kids, [work] or write till about 11.30pm, and then I usually have about a half hour to read before I go to bed [till] about midnight—sometimes a little later.”

8. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah winds down for the night by meditating, relaxing by the fireplace and reading. Before sleeping, she writes 5 things that gave her pleasure that day.

Had a stressful day at work? Here are 11 tips to calm your nerves and prepare you for a new day. 

Got your night routine down pat and want to create an effective morning routine? Here are 5 important tips.

- The Mindful Company Team