10 Things Successful People Do Right Before Bed
Do you know that the very last thing you do before bed has a significant contribution to your mood and energy level the next day? Experts suggest that your activities usually determine how well and how much you sleep.
Successful people understand the importance of mental and physical health. They recognize that success can start and end with the person’s well-being, which is almost always dependent on your sleeping habits.
That’s why establishing bedtime routines is a key ritual for many successful people. Your healthy habits the night before can prepare you for winning the next day. If your habits are not good, you’ll end up waking up feeling more tired the next day. You’ll feel sluggish and low in energy. You’ll be in a bad mood, and you won’t be productive.
If you haven’t established a bedtime routine for success, take a look at these few tips that many successful people do before bed:
1. Read an actual printed book
Read a printed book, not on an electronic device. Many experts have observed that reading is what most successful people do before they go to sleep.
According to Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work,” he knows several business leaders who block off time before bed for reading. They go as far as scheduling it as a “non-negotiable item” on their calendar.
Aside from improving creativity, reading boosts brainpower. In research by Haskins Laboratories, Ken Hugh, Ph.D., president and director of research, found that when reading, some parts of the brain that are meant for other functions, such as vision and language, connect in a specific neural circuit.
Reading enables successful people to acquire information like catching up on news stories for the day, skimming tech blogs, or browsing Reddit and Twitter. It also cultivates their minds when they read books about their interests or for leisure, such as when reading fiction novels or ancient philosophy. Bill Gates is known to usually spend at least an hour before bedtime, reading books on different topics.
If you’re a business person, you can spend 30 minutes before bed reading a fiction or non-fiction book that’s not related to business. It will help give your brain a break, especially when you’re feeling stressed or you had a big day. Reading before bed can help relax your brain so you can have a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling fresh in the morning.
2. Create a brain dump or simple to-do list
Many successful people make their to-do list for the next day or create a brain dump to clear their minds. This exercise is important because clearing your mental space ensures better sleep. In addition, it helps you to be ready for the next day.
Creating a to-do list allows them to address unattended items for the day and line them up for the next day. It frees up their headspace so those items will not invade their thoughts during the night.
Michael K. Sculling, director at Baylor’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory, found in a study that those who wrote down a simple to-do list fell asleep faster. He noted that most people would keep their to-do lists in their heads. Their research explored how the act of writing could address difficulties with falling asleep.
Set aside at least five minutes before bed to brain dump your ideas or create a simple to-do list. Offloading any worries about your unfinished tasks for the day could help you sleep. It will give you some comfort that tomorrow, you’re ready to tackle them.
3. Spend quality time with family
It’s important to spend some quality time with your loved ones. Set aside time to chat with your spouse, bond with your kids, or play with your pet. Not everyone can go to bed at the same time as their partner, but if you do, spending a few minutes chatting about how your day went is a good practice.
In an interview with People magazine a few years ago, former first lady Michelle Obama shared that she and her husband, former US President Obama, have a ritual where he tucks her in because she usually goes to bed before anybody. “He’ll come and turn the lights out and give me a kiss and we’ll talk. He’s like, ‘Ready to be tucked?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, I am.’”
Spending quality time and sharing what’s going on in your life are vital parts of building relationships. Connect with your friends, family, or partner. Developing this habit of building connections and relationships not only contributes to your well-being but the whole family as well. Remember that in every success, there’s a family who has always been behind you when you experience failure and difficulties.
4. Take time to reflect on what happened that day
Successful people spend time reflecting on that day. Write down your thoughts, including three things (or more) you’re grateful for among the things that happened that day. Keeping a gratitude journal can also remind you of the progress you’ve made that day in all aspects of your life. When you count your blessing, you can stay motivated, especially during difficult times. Take time to think about the positive experience you have, and it will put you in a grateful mood.
One study suggests that people who do reflection and journal before bed can settle their minds and emotions. Reflecting on your mistakes or the not-so-good events can also help you think about what you’ll do next time. Remember not to beat yourself up for your missteps. Instead, reflect on the lessons you learned and know that they’re part of your journey to success.
Studies show that meditation helps you sleep better. It helps reduce insomnia and prevent sleep trouble because it brings overall calmness and inner peace. Many successful people set aside at least 10 minutes before bed to meditate.
Stress and worry usually cause sleep problems. Meditation relaxes your body and quiets your mind so you can fall asleep faster and get your much-needed rest. It helps your body release sleep hormones called melatonin, which lowers heart rate and blood pressure. It also activates parts of the brain that control sleep.
Additionally, meditation allows you to manage your emotions as you reflect on your thoughts. As a result, you tend to fall asleep faster because you’re no longer stressed or anxious. You can focus on the present and let go of your worries.
Start practicing meditation with these simple steps:
- Close your eyes and allow yourself to be present and focus on your mind and emotions
- Examine your thoughts
- Relax your body
- Take deep breaths, then inhale and exhale slowly
- Visualize a peaceful moment
It can be hard to focus on your own, so you can use guided meditations and apps that you can find on the internet. With guided meditations, all you have to do is relax your body and listen to the voice and music in the recorded meditation guide.
6. Plan and establish your sleeping time
Jeff Bezos once shared that he likes to get eight hours of sleep every night. He said that quality sleep makes a big difference, so he protects and prioritizes sleep. When he gets the sleep he needs, he is more energized and excited to tackle his day.
Having a consistent time to go to bed each evening is a key habit that all sleep experts recommend and many successful people do. You’ve probably heard about the dangers busy people face when they have sleep deficits. So, you need to make sleep a priority.
Although, it’s understandable that workaholics and entrepreneurs will have difficulties in getting enough sleep. When you establish a bedtime routine, it becomes easier as your body gets used to the cycle.
Determine when you’re going to wake up, then count back to determine what time you should sleep to get seven to eight hours of sleep. Set your alarm and remind yourself not to hit the snooze button in the morning. You have limited willpower, so don’t waste it arguing with yourself whether you should sleep in for five more minutes or get up.
Medical professionals recommend that you use an alarm one hour before bedtime. It will help establish a bedtime routine like how an alarm wakes you up in the morning. Following a consistent sleep pattern trains your brain to start winding down a few hours before bedtime. Your body will know when it’s time to slow down, so it’s easier to fall asleep.
7. Don’t do anything work-related
Successful people disconnect from their work before bed. Don’t be obsessed with checking your email all the time. Instead, take time to unplug and give yourself a break from thinking about work.
You shouldn’t be waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the last email from an overzealous sender. Also, if you think about work when you’re in bed, studies have shown that your body will start to associate your bed with work. As a result, you’ll have a hard time falling asleep.
8. Think positive thoughts
End your day on a positive note. Sometimes, you keep on replaying negative situations from the day and wish you’ve handled them differently. But no matter how bad the day was, successful people manage to avoid falling into the trap of pessimistic thoughts. You should know that it will only create more stress.
When you dwell on negative thoughts, it puts you in a state of heightened awareness. When that happens, you tend to scan your surroundings for danger, making it difficult to sleep.
Instead, practice positive affirmation and tell yourself that you’ve done your best for today and earned your rest. It will help replace stress and anxiety with positivity, so your mind and body will be relaxed and ready for sleep.
9. Unplug completely
Aside from setting a buffer period and not working before bed, you should also turn off all your devices. Television, mobile phones, and laptops can stimulate the mind and excite your brain. They emit blue light that can decrease melatonin and interfere with your circadian rhythm. You may experience sleep deprivation and insomnia.
Successful people choose a good night’s sleep over mindlessly scrolling through social media or streaming TV shows. They know that getting enough sleep contributes to better well-being the next day.
Choose to unplug. You may also want to put your devices in another room, away from your bed. If you want to read, use a physical book. Also, use an old-fashioned alarm clock instead of a mobile app.
10. Visualize tomorrow’s success
Many successful people take a few minutes before retiring for the day visualizing positive outcomes unfolding for their projects. It typically comes from having solid resolution skills.
Picture your success by painting an image of what success means to you. When you visualize your success vividly, it helps solidify your goals in your subconscious mind. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, calls this “envisioning your chief aim,” which is your mission statement in life.
When you practice visualization before bed, it activates your creative subconscious while you sleep.
Build Your Success Habits
Set yourself up for success by creating a healthy bedtime routine. Start training your mind and body, and you can reap the benefits in many ways. Begin with the tips above: read physical books, clear your mind by creating a brain dump or to-do list, spend quality time with your loved ones, reflect on your day and be grateful, meditate, prioritize sleep, unplug from work, think positive thoughts, and visualize your success.
You are a product of your habits. If you do things that will help you stay focused, motivated, driven, and healthy both in mind and body, you will achieve great success.