12 Unsexy Things People With The Best Lives Do Every Night Before Bed

Follow their lead.

Last updated on Mar 11, 2023

woman reading book in bed at night UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock

By Maggie Puniewska

We love to pick the brains of successful people. Because if they've achieved great things, they must be doing something right, right?

So we were curious to get the details of their bedtime routines. Do they go on Netflix binges as we do? Cross things off their to-do list? Calm down with deep breathing?

We tapped 12 people—entrepreneurs, doctors, authors, real estate agents, and more—to see how they make use of their time before they turn in.


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Here are 12 things people with the best lives do every night before bed:

1. They dress to decompress.

"I don't sleep in workout clothes anymore. Like a lot of people, I did it for a long time because I wanted to have zero excuses for exercise—if my leggings and sports bra were on, it was a cue I had to go. But I realized that was a confusing message to be sending my brain before bed: Workout gear is on, but it's time to wind down. I switched to pajamas, nightdresses, or just T-shirts—ones that are only used for sleep—and my brain now gets the message that it's time to rest." —Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution.


2. They set the table.

"Every night, I set the table for breakfast the next morning. It's important to me to have a sit-down meal with my family—not one of those eating while standing or running out the door ordeals. It's nothing too fancy or over the top, just placemats, plates, napkins, and cups. Sitting down for breakfast sets the tone for the day, and it's time that I'm able to spend with my kids." —Keri Glassman, MS, nutritionist and founder of The Nutrition School

3. They read quotes.

"I open a quote book to a random page—I'm loving this one lately—and reflect on the message. In some ways, I think there is a bit of fate involved in the selection of the quote and what I should be focusing on in life. I do this with my kids as well; it's a thought-provoking way to reflect on the day and calm the mind." —Tami Halton Pardee, founder, and CEO of the real estate firm Pardee Properties

4. They zone out to foreign TV.

"On evenings when I'm really amped up and need to wind down, I watch shows on Amazon or Netflix in French, a language I started learning in high school. The act of having to slow down and really listen to what the actors are saying forces all the areas of the brain to focus, so my mind can't wander. I always watch on a computer or mobile device with the blue light waves omitted so it doesn't disrupt my sleep when I'm ready to crash. Side note, it seems to be working—my French friends said they have noticed a difference!" —Matthew Amsden, CEO of ProofPilot

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​5. They work out aches and pains with a foam roller.

"I turn off my computer half an hour before getting into bed and spend about 10 minutes lying on a foam roller, kneading out my legs, glutes, and back. Research has shown that foam rolling reduces muscle fatigue and soreness, whether you are doing it after a tough workout or after sitting in the office all day. It's a relaxing ritual, and it helps me to wake up less stiff in the morning—I'm getting old!" —Amanda Freeman, founder of SLT in New York City

6. They have a bedtime snack.

"When I was a little girl, my mother would give me milk and a cookie to send me off to dreamland. Today, I do a healthier version: About 30 minutes before I turn in, I like to pair protein with a complex carb, like cheese and whole wheat crackers or Greek yogurt and granola. And milk products contain tryptophan, which—especially when combined with complex carbs—converts to the snooze-promoting hormones serotonin and melatonin." —Carole Lieberman, MD, media psychiatrist, and author

7. They get inspired.

"I scroll through my favorite Facebook and Instagram pages on design, photography, and art; Tom Dixon, Colette, and Garance Doré are a few of my favorites. At work, we do so much visual and creative thinking, and skimming these pages fuels my own creative spirit and sparks ideas while I sleep." —Sabrina Tan, founder of Skin Inc

8. They figure out tomorrow's blueprint.

"I'm old school: I carry around a physical calendar. It's color-coded, and I stick pieces of paper with reminders in it. It is my life bible, and I probably look like a crazy person with it, but it works for me. At night I figure out the next day. I juggle the TV show, two different offices in different cities, charity events, family, marriage, and so on. I need it all in one place—the big picture at my fingertips. Once I go to bed, I am prepared. It's my sense of security." —Andrew Ordon, MD, FACS, cohost of syndicated daytime series "The Doctors"


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9. They daydream.

"During the day, you get so caught up that you don't look at the bigger picture. So at night when I'm alone and relaxed, I like to let my mind wander. Of course, I'm thinking about my company but not in the sense of feeling frantic. Rather, I'm allowing my mind to meander peacefully so that I can gain a new perspective. During this 'me' time, I'm recapping the events of the day, thinking about what I did well, what I could've done better, and what I need to do tomorrow. By organizing myself mentally—but in a really relaxed state of mind—at night before I go to sleep, I feel better prepared for what's to come when I wake up in the morning. I give myself new goals, and I let myself get inspired by new ideas." —Roni Frank, cofounder and head of clinical services at Talkspace

​10. They totally unwind, guilt-free.

"I light a few candles, pour some wine, and turn on some trashy television. I teach several intense cycling classes a week, which means I not only burn a lot of energy physically, but I'm also always mentally engaged: prepping for a class, pushing my students, or brainstorming new ways to make classes more challenging and fun. So when I get home, I put on 'Real Housewives of 'Dance Moms' or something equally horrific and I detach from my day." —Bree Branker, master instructor and director of creative integration at IMAXShift, a boutique cycling studio in New York City

11. They take a trip down memory lane.

"I pull up YouTube videos of songs that bring back good memories, like "More Than a Feeling" by Boston (freshman year of college) or "Bad" by Michael Jackson (the birth of my first child). It helps me reconnect to friends, family, and good memories; settles me down mentally and physically; and leaves me with a soothing feeling of nostalgia." —David Givens, general manager at Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii


12. They do a DIY massage.

"I like to rub down my feet with coconut oil. Running my own chiropractic clinic, I am standing all day working with patients, so by the time I get home, my feet are sore and pulsating. I was looking up alternative medicine remedies online and saw that coconut oil is said to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. My feet also get really hot at night, and it used to wake me up, but with the coconut oil, I don't have that problem anymore. I have been rubbing my feet for a year now, and not only does this habit get rid of the pain, but the massage also helps me relax after a busy day and puts me in a calm state before bed." —Rubina Tahir, DC, Philadelphia-based chiropractor

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Maggie Puniewska is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in CNN, Forge, Medium, MSN, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and more.