6 Bedtime Habits Successful People Adopt Before Bed
“With the same habits, you’ll end up with the same results. But with better habits, anything is possible.” — James Clear
Successful people often have a healthy, well-functioning routine. We often talk about how they start the day, but what about their nighttime habits? Here are 6 good habits to adopt before going to sleep, tested by the best, and approved by science.
1. Take a walk
The busy CEO of Buffer explained that he particularly enjoys his little walk before bed. He uses his walk to disconnect from work and let go of fatigue. For busy people, this type of nightly routine is perfect for disconnecting after a stressful day.
In addition to the obvious health benefits, a daily walk has many other advantages. In fact, one study showed that walking can stimulate creativity. When you walk, your brain doesn’t work as fast, which “frees up the flow of thoughts.” So if you have a big problem that you can’t seem to solve, maybe a nice evening stroll is just what you need to find a creative solution that will work.
After fainting from exhaustion, which had earned her a head injury and five stitches, Arianna Huffington, creator of the pure-player of the same name, never stops preaching “disconnection”. Every night before going to bed, she puts her cell phone in another room, which avoids any temptation to distract her but also avoids waking her up. And science would prove her right.
According to Dr. Charles Czeisler, professor of sleep medicine at Harvard University, the light produced by our cell phone screens disturbs our bodies. In particular, it alters the rhythm of our natural sleep. The lights emitted make our body believe that it is daytime, and that it should not fall asleep. These lights send a message to our brain to prevent certain chemical components from being released. These are the very chemicals that make us sleepy.
Bill Gates, creator of Microsoft, is a great reader. Every night before going to sleep, he says he reads for about an hour. His readings tend to be on political or social themes.
Daily reading has been proven to reduce stress and improve memory. If you are not a big reader, however, you should know that it is not necessarily necessary to read as much as the famous billionaire. A University of Essex study published in 2009 revealed that reading for 6 minutes a day could reduce stress levels by 68%.
Another proven benefit of reading at night is that it can increase your mental health in the long run. Reading is a bit like exercising, but for your brain. A study in England showed that people who stimulated their brains through activities like reading reduced age-related brain decline by about 30%.
4. Let your creativity work
Fashion designer Vera Wang told Fortune magazine in 2006 that her nightly routine includes some time dedicated to design, and “especially concepts.” Sometimes, the quiet of the night can be an effective remedy when facing a creative block.
In fact, one study has proven that nighttime is ideal for creativity, even if you’re tired from your long day. Researchers at Albion College have shown that “activities requiring creativity were more effective during non-optimal periods of the day”, i.e. when you are tired. The researchers explain this by the fact that your brain is less focused on the tasks at hand and you may come up with ideas or reasoning that you would not have otherwise.
Famous TV presenter Oprah Winfrey is a big fan of daily meditation. To end her busy days, the star never fails to perform her session.
The benefits of meditation have often been questioned. However in 2014, researchers were interested in the subject, and conducted a large study on 19,000 people. The results were clear-cut: meditation reduces stress, anxiety, depression and even pain.
6. Set tomorrow’s goals
Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, likes to manage his time, so that’s what he does (too) before he goes to sleep. He plans 3 things he’d like to accomplish the next day. So when he gets up in the morning, he can go to work with the most important tasks in mind for the day.
Once again, science agrees with our leaders’ habits. A group of researchers followed young people through their high school years and found them at the end of their university studies. They tested them on how well they managed their time in high school and found, four years later, that the students who managed their priorities best had better grades in their studies. In fact, time management was more important to their academic success than their natural abilities. What a good way to question our good habits…