Our nightly routines generally consist of binge-watching old episodes of Friends, Sex And The City or 30 Rock while chugging wine and stalking the ex-girlfriends of our ex-boyfriends—perhaps this is why we’re not going to be accepting Pulitzers anytime soon. News flash: This is not what successful people do when it’s time to unwind at night. If your routine looks a lot like ours, you might want to consider an update. Here, five before-bedtime habits successful women employ nightly.
Do As We Say, Not As We Do
To be successful in most modern industries, it's necessary to be plugged in for the bulk of the day. This obsession with our devices, however, can lead to late nights spent scrolling and, as a result, avoidable sleep deficits. It's a well-known fact by now that the blue light emanating from our screens increases cortisol and inhibits melatonin production, but even if you have a phone equipped with Night Shift, which turns this blue light off at night, the content you're consuming can keep you up past well past the bedtime you need to hit in order to have an optimally productive next day. Successful people know when to unplug and shut down for the day—at least an hour of screen-free time is suggested before bed.
Warren Buffet devotes 80% of his day to reading, if that gives you any clue as to the important correlation between success and reading. Not everyone is afforded the luxury of spending such a large percentage of their day buried in books, but other bigwigs—Barack Obama and Mark Cuban among them—are big on reading, especially before bed. If you're going to do so on a digital device, however, be sure it has a Night Shift type of function—a study out of Harvard Medical School found that those who read from an e-book experienced 90 minutes of delayed melatonin onset, released half the amount of melatonin and had diminished rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Most of us lead such busy and demanding lives that it can be tough to find the time to process the events of each day. Night can be a great time to do this, as long as it's done before you actually lie down for sleep. Successful people tend to carve time out separately at night to journal, add to their gratitude lists and even create to-do lists for the following day. This practice can clear your mental noise the minute you hit the pillow, and enables better sleep.
Certain types of meditation have been shown to enhance REM sleep states, and all meditation helps reduce cortisol (read: stress) levels. If you can't find time to work through the events of the day before you climb into bed, trying 10 minutes of meditation as a quick-fix reset (using apps like Headspace or Stop, Breathe & Think if you need a little help) can do wonders as well.
If you want to ensure a good night's sleep for yourself, you must be consistent—successful people know this and keep their bedtimes and wake times the same every day. They also have unique morning routines, which you can read up on here.