Seven Bedtime Rituals of Successful People

The way you prepare for sleep at night can impact your success in business and in life. Business Insider magazine interviewed successful people to learn what habits they practice before going to bed. They came up with a list of seven rituals you can put into action.

Some of these rituals you may already be doing. Some are simple, and some will require a little effort, but all of them will improve your life. They are:

1. Disconnect from work – Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of The Humor Advantage, recommends you don’t obsessively check your email. Instead, give yourself a buffer zone of time before bed when you absolutely do not think about work.

2. Unplug completely – You need not just to disconnect from work, but to unplug entirely. Research shows any type of screen time before bed interferes with quality sleep. The blue light from electronic devices mimics the brightness of sunlight, telling your brain to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm.

3. Reflect – Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, writes down three moments of joy every night. Many people keep a “gratitude journal,” which reminds you of all the things in your life that are going right. Remember to be kind to yourself. Benjamin Franklin asked himself every night, “What good have I done today?”

4. Decompress – Take a little time to breathe, relax and unwind. New York executive coach Dale Kurow says meditation is an excellent way to relax your mind and your body. If you do not meditate, there are many resources to help you get started, from the Internet to local classes.

5. Plan out your sleep – Most successful people interviewed make it a priority to get enough sleep. The easiest single way to do that is to go to bed at the same time every evening. Sleep experts recommend a consistent bedtime as key to healthy sleep. Some people set an alarm – not for waking up, but for signaling it is time to prepare for bed.

6. Make a to-do list – Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, takes a little time before bed to write down the three key things he intends to accomplish the next day. Writing down pending tasks puts them in a box, freeing your mind from nagging concerns.

7. Avoid fattening snacks and alcohol – Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post consulted several sleep specialists for her book, Thrive. They all agreed that while alcohol can initially make you sleepy, it can interfere with the deeper, more restorative phases of sleep.