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Before Sleep—Bedtime Routines of 5 Leaders

January 24, 2022   By Danielle Herrera

What do you do right before bed? Your evening rituals can either lead to better sleep or a lousy next morning. Finding the perfect pre-sleep habits will set you up for a good night’s sleep and a productive next day. You can create your own reliable evening routine much like the following leaders and stars.

From athletes to heads of state, these figures have found constructive activities to help them wind down, get ready for sleep, and anticipate the following day. In the end, you might pick up a thing or two from the common elements of their sleep schedules.

Pro Athlete: Lebron James

King James has been in the NBA for almost twenty years and has been considered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. With all the physical exertion he needs to make during practice and during games, Lebron James makes sure he gets enough sleep. He sleeps an average of 12 hours in one day: He sleeps through the night for eight to nine hours and naps the other three or four hours throughout the day.

Sleep is his recovery pill. To maximise his recovery in-between days and games, he ensures that his environment is most conducive for sleep. He sets the temperature at the right level. He blocks all light sources, creating a dark space. He also turns off all his electronic devices 30 to 40 minutes before bed. Lastly, he plays calming sounds such as rain pattering on leaves through an app. This nightly routine, when paired with his morning routine, keeps the NBA legend in top-top shape for basketball.

Life Guru: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah needs no introduction. The talk show host sleeps between 10 in the evening and 6 in the morning, logging eight hours of sleep. Creating a work-life balance, Oprah disengages from all her projects through meditation. In addition, the last thing she does before sleeping is journaling. She writes down five things that gave her great pleasure or five things that she was thankful for. This habit allows her to wind down and relax while promoting great mental health right before she heads off to whatever Oprah dreams of.

Business Magnate: Elon Musk

Since the rise of his Tesla and SpaceX startups, Elon Musk has been at the front of people’s lips in the business. His success comes from his intense work ethic that allows for late night sleep only. He goes to bed at 1am straight from work and wakes up at 7am, which means around six hours of sleep.

As a night owl, Musk finds that this routine is his sweet spot. He works well for the rest of the day, but when he does lack the sleep he needs, he ends up being grumpy and his productivity suffers. As long as he sticks to his sleep routine past the middle of the night, he can work his best.

Tech Leader: Bill Gates

Even after retiring, the figure of Bill Gates looms large over the tech world. While in Microsoft, the tech figure used to pull all-nighters, fuelled by adrenaline and caffeine. However, since retiring, he has found the importance of sleep, sleeping seven hours a night himself.

Before hitting the sack for rest, Gates makes it a point to read. He reads for at least a half hour. It can be business reading, inspirational reading, or any other kind of reading. What’s important is browsing different sources of information not only to gain know how but also to ignite greater creativity in work and life.

Former Head of State: Barack Obama

Much like Bill Gates, the former President of the United States reads for 30 minutes before bed. When he was still in the Oval Office, he made it a point to have a few hours of alone time to centre himself at the end of each day. He then heads off to sleep anytime between 12 and 2 am. He wakes up at 7 am the next day with five to seven hours of sleep.

What these successful people have in common?

As you can see, some have nightly routines that would be recommended by experts, while the others have unique elements such as sleeping late. Regardless of whether their routines are ideal or not, one thing is clear: these individuals use their bedtime rituals to prep themselves for sleep. Then, with adequate sleep, they can perform their best in their workplace and personal lives.

You can create your own pre-sleep routine with the same goal in mind. Whatever you do, whether it’s reading, journaling, meditating, or just jumping off work, you must be able to wind down, relax, and sleep appropriately. Enough sleep should help you wake up refreshed and fuelled to work and live life, just like the figures you came to know here.

You can research many other well-known and trending figures such as co-founder Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, billionaire and COO Sheryl Sandberg of Meta Platforms, Joel Gascoigne of Buffer, singer Mariah Carey, and others to find out what their nightly routines are. You may still learn more from others and find what works for you by trying them out.

How to Spend the End of the Day

Nightly routines aren’t hacks that magically help you to restful sleep. The “routine” means regularity and repetition. This means that you have to repeat the same activity again and again for it to take effect. Only then can you see if it helps you sleep well or not. Try out different kinds of nightly routines over a long amount of time. You can then find what really works for you. You will find yourself ready and set for every morning you wake up.

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