Though we may not realize it, routines are an essential part of our everyday lives. But this doesn’t mean that all of our routines are beneficial.
For example, many people are in the habit of looking at their phones right before falling asleep, but research shows that doing so can have adverse health effects.
Developing a healthy bedtime routine is important because it can help you get a restful night’s sleep and set you up to be in a productive state of mind come morning. Some of the most successful CEOs, athletes and entrepreneurs have realized that and have devised healthy bedtime routines. Here are a few of them:
1. Avoid Eating a Big Meal Before Bed
Consuming calories late at night is not much different than during the day. But when you continue to snack before bed, you’re more likely to overconsume calories and take in more than you need, which in turn, can cause you to gain weight.
Eating a big meal right before bed can also make it difficult to fall asleep because your body is working to digest the food. For that reason, it’s recommended that you eat your last meal of the day somewhere between two and three hours prior to sleep.
Instead, you can replace unhealthy nighttime snacks with small, healthy foods that are easy for your body to digest, like different types of nuts. If you live an active lifestyle, you could also drink a protein shake made of casein protein powder before bed to help with muscle recovery. This type of protein powder can be easily digested throughout the night and help replenish amino acids.
CEO That Does This: Me! As the CEO of Ice Shaker, I live a very active lifestyle on top of running my business. I drink a protein shake made of casein protein powder before bed to help with muscle recovery and fuel my body for the next day.
2. Set Your Goals for the Next Day
Get yourself ready for a productive next day by listing at least three things you hope to accomplish tomorrow. Whether you write this in a journal, on a whiteboard or on a small post-it, physically writing down your goals will get you in the right state of mind before bed.
You’ll feel organized and determined to make things happen.
Then in the morning, re-read these goals to remind yourself what needs to be accomplished and motivate yourself for the day ahead.
CEO That Does This: Shark Tank investor, Daymond John, writes down seven goals at a time and runs through them each night before bed.
Research shows that integrating a short, daily period of meditation improves health in a number of ways, both physically and mentally. Meditation helps to still the mind and destress the body.
Studies have found that it can lower blood pressure, reduce pain and help with anxiety and depression, in addition to creating a calmer, happier state of mind.
Practicing even just five minutes of meditation at night can leave you feeling more empowered and less stressed.
New to meditation? Check out the meditation apps, HeadSpace or Calm. The idea is to sit down, close your eyes and focus your attention entirely on your breath.
CEO That Does This: Oprah allows 20 minutes in the evening to meditate, and has noticed many beneficial results.
4. Write in a Journal
Journaling is one of the most effective ways to unpack the day’s events and is another useful method for de-stressing. CEOs are in positions with a lot of pressure, and many work through their high-intensity jobs by reflecting on their work and everyday life.
Writing these thoughts down in a journal can help you to better understand the problems you’re facing and release tension before bed, helping you get a better night’s sleep.
COO That Does This: COO, Sheryl Sandberg, keeps a gratitude journal that has helped her overcome tragedies in her own life.
5. Read a Book
These days, it seems like each of us is glued to our phones all day long, and the time right before bed is no exception. For many people, scrolling through their social media feeds or double-checking emails is the last thing they do before closing their eyes.
The problem with this is that exposing yourself to electronic blue light late at night deceives your brain and body into thinking that it’s daytime, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Instead, minimize your interaction with that electronic blue light and take advantage of this time before bed to relax with a book, magazine or newspaper.
Not much of a reader? Try listening to an audio book or podcast instead.
CEO That Does This: Arianna Huffington, creator of the online publication Huffington Post, advocates disconnecting from your phone before bed each night for improved sleep. And Alexi Nazem, the co-founder and CEO of Nomad Health, claims that “I usually fall asleep with a book in my hand.”
6. Avoid Exercise Before Sleep
The most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs tend to exercise early in the morning before heading to work. Though it may be tempting to hit the gym later in the evening as a way to avoid waking up extra early, doing so can increase your heart rate before bedtime, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Instead, try creating a morning workout schedule for yourself to increase your energy in the morning. Drink a shake with protein powder prior to your workout for improved performance and longer lasting hunger satisfaction throughout the day.
CEO That Does This: Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and Tim Cook are all known for their early morning workouts.
7. Establish a Regular Bedtime
Going to bed at the same time is a very important part of a good nighttime routine. Reducing bright lights at night and inviting natural light into your room in the mornings will help regulate your circadian rhythm.
Whether you’re a morning bird or a night owl, the important thing is that you are consistent in your sleep schedule and get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
CEO That Does This: From Jack Dorsey to Jeff Bezos, many CEOs out there have regular bedtimes that help them to maximize productivity and set their days up for success.
Practicing consistent, healthy habits before bed will allow you to sleep better and improve your productivity the next day.
So take note of these tips and start establishing a bedtime routine that works for you. While everyone is different, finding your own best practices and keeping them consistent can make a world of difference in your productivity the following day.
What bedtime rituals have helped you to be productive? Share in the comments below.