9 Things Successful Women ALWAYS Do Before Bed

Photographed by Cory Dawson.
Getting good sleep is everyone's goal — but it's not as easy as it once was to just drift off to dreamland. Anyone who's had trouble falling asleep knows that's the truth, but as Arianna Huffington points out in her book, The Sleep Revolution, certain things about the modern woman's life — our technology addiction coupled with our super-busy schedules — make it especially difficult.
In fact, a recent survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that some 30% of adults today sleep less than the recommended seven hours a night. Obviously, not sleeping well can ruin your mood and make you feel pretty crappy the next day, but chronically not getting enough sleep has also been linked to an increased risk for a variety of health problems, from diabetes to depression.
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The best way to get enough every night is to develop a routine that helps you settle down. Experts often recommend things like going to bed at the same time every night or limiting your caffeine, but in the context of our busy lives, many of us need more than the basics. Plus, what works for one person may not work for others.
So, with that in mind, we chatted with nine super-successful women to ask how they really wind down after a busy day. Whether it's a no-tech rule, a beauty product, or simply a scent, these tricks could help you wake up refreshed.
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Photo: Courtesy of Negative Underwear.
Lauren Schwab & Marissa Vosper, cofounders of Negative Underwear

Lauren Schwab
Age:
31
Sleeping hours: Anywhere from 10 p.m. to midnight until 7 or 7:30 a.m.

"I'm up working pretty late, and this isn't a good thing, but I often bring my computer into bed with me. But falling asleep has never been a struggle. I've made my bedroom into a serene, calming place. There's no TV, it's all white, there's a dreamcatcher — it's my favorite place in my apartment.

"Previously, I lived in an apartment that was very colorful and bright, but I found the energy to be really strong. So, when I moved, I chose a color palette that was more calming — muted neutral colors, white, silver. I wanted my bedroom to feel like a cloud."

Marissa Vosper
Age:
31
Sleeping hours: midnight to 7:30 a.m.
"My nighttime routine is a work in progress. Right now, I'll be on my computer or my phone until pretty close to bedtime. But my husband and I have a tradition of making tea before bed and watching a television show together. It's so nerdy. He makes sleepytime tea and I make peppermint.

"If I can't fall asleep, I keep an old iPhone by my bed that has two apps on it: One is a sleep-timer app called Sleep Cycle that helps determine when it's time to wake up based on your REM cycle. The second is a crossword app, which I do at night to take my mind off things. It's good for the brain and helps me disconnect myself from working, like an alternative kind of meditation."
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Photo: Courtesy of Parachute Home.
Ariel Kaye, founder of Parachute Home
Age:
32
Sleeping Hours: 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

"One thing I've learned is that your body needs cues and routines to get into healthy habits. Taking a shower before bed is one of my favorite ways to relax. It's something my mom taught me to do when I was young, to wash off the day's stress and leave the day behind you. I also find that hot water is great for relaxing the body and giving it a cue that it's time to get ready for bed.

"I drink chamomile tea, which is very relaxing, because it's rich in calcium and magnesium. I'll always have a glass of water next to my bed. Staying hydrated is so important.

"A new rule I have is sleeping with my phone not in the room. Banishing blue light is so important, so I try to banish it as much as possible. Once I get into bed, especially if I'm feeling anxious or I had a hard day, I try to meditate. I'll use Headspace (the app) for a quick 10-minute meditation or I'll do some breathing techniques. I'll count down slowly from 100 and once I get into the groove, I rarely make it past 80 before I fall asleep.

"But I do try to cut myself off of work around 10 p.m. It's so important to set boundaries, especially when you're in a stressful place or just starting a business. There's a sense of urgency that's created, because we're always plugged in, but anything coming in that late can wait until the morning. The only exception is if it will keep me up at night, thinking about it."
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Photo: Courtesy of Salido.
Casey Cohen, co-founder of SALIDO
Age:
31
Sleeping Hours: 1:30 or 2 a.m. until 5 to 7 a.m.

"Before SALIDO, I was in the restaurant industry and was barely sleeping. But I've learned that if I just make sure I get everything done and then I do my routine, I'll feel better, because I don't have anything else to do.

"Before I go to bed, I use some face masks like Mario Badescu's cucumber mask, drink bedtime tea, and light candles — usually Yankee candles or vanilla candles. I'm also a fitness fanatic, so I try to pack my gym bag at night with all my SoulCycle gear and outfits for the next day.

"I do keep my phone on, but I try not to check it after a specific point. Instead, I keep a physical sketchbook and a Sharpie marker by my bed, so I can jot down notes."
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Photo: Courtesy of BIKYNI.
Jude Al-Khalil, founder of BIKYNI
Age:
35
Sleeping Hours: 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

"There are a few rules I have: I never have my computer in bed. Having it in bed automatically leads to me not being as relaxed when I'm going to sleep. I'll check my email on my phone and my calendar for the next day before sleeping, because I have a lot of morning meetings and coffees before work. Once I shut off my computer, I'll usually watch an episode of House of Cards or something in the living room.

"My bedroom environment is pretty minimal. I don't have a TV in my room; that's something I feel pretty strongly about. I always make my bed in the morning, because I find myself so much more relaxed going into a bed that's made. I don't have much on my nightstand — a glass of water, a candle, a jewelry dish. If I'm stressed out, I'll drink Tulsi's sweet rose tea, which is a super-comforting caffeine-free tea.

"I used to want to get nine hours of sleep a night, but I realized that I had to be realistic about the goals I set for myself. I could never get nine hours, so now I try for seven. It's tough when you've set lofty goals and you're not able to achieve them, so I think for young women who are super busy, being realistic about the goals they set for themselves is important."
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Photo: Courtesy of Ringly.
Christina Mercando, founder of Ringly
Age:
33
Sleeping Hours: 11 p.m. or midnight until 6 or 6:30 a.m.

"Before founding Ringly, I didn't really have any problems sleeping, but when you're an entrepreneur, there are so many things that come up. So, I had a hard time sleeping, because there were so many thoughts in my head.

"Now, I don't check email or look at my computer for at least an hour before I go to bed. Just looking at a screen before bed made it harder to sleep. So, I'll usually read a book for 20 minutes — something fiction or nonfiction, not related to work — and it needs to either be a Kindle or a physical book. I also got some Pacific Face Oil by True Botanicals for Christmas and I love the smell. It's so calming."
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Photo: Courtesy of Yuna.
Yuna, singer-songwriter
Age:
29
Sleeping Hours: Midnight to 8 a.m. normally; 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. while on tour

"Because I work in Malaysia, I tend to stay up and talk to colleagues who are still up. But I try to avoid looking at my phone or computer for an hour before bed. I'm Muslim, so I pray in the morning and before I go to sleep, which is so relaxing. You wash your face, your hands, your feet, and then you pray for two minutes.

"I also have a whole skin-care routine — I moisturize, and I have a homemade toner with lavender, which I love. Lavender really helps me relax. And once a week, I do a sheet mask from SK-II.

"When I'm on tour I bring a room spray of citrus and green tea from Muji. I use it at home, so when I'm staying in a hotel and I spray it on the bed, it gives it a homey scent.

"My work is amazing. I love it, but you have to know when you need some time off to relax, meditate, and balance yourself out. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to eat and sleep, but it's so important. You don't want to find yourself in a position where the thing you love becomes a burden."
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Photo: Courtesy of Radish Lab.
Alana Range, founder of Radish Lab
Age: 31
Sleeping Hours: 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

"For me, it's really important [to] have time from when you stop working to when you go to bed, so you can actually think about other things. I work and live with my boyfriend, so it's important for us to go home and spend a couple of hours cooking a nice dinner with a bottle of wine. I feel like that's a really meditative practice for us, and it's a nice way to spend time with this person who I've spent all day with, in a different way.

"My boyfriend has then enforced a very strict no electronics in the bedroom rule. This used to annoy me, because I love Instagram so much. But now, it's so much better to not have devices so I can really unplug at night, decompress, and pick it back up in the morning, when I'm more productive and focused.

"Instead, I really like to read fiction before I go to bed. I just finished Elena Ferrante's series, and I toggled between that and the New Yorker. Sometimes, I'll do some very light meditation, spending 10 minutes in the dark just breathing. A new thing I started doing is rubbing some lavender oil on my temples. I was in California three or four months ago and we were at a lavender farm. I bought a little vial of lavender oil on a complete impulse. Now, it's one of my favorite things — it simulates a sort of uber relaxation. "
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Sulmers.
Claire Sulmers, Creator of FashionBombDaily.com and Dark And Lovely #LoveMyColor Ambassador
Age:
30-ish
Sleeping Hours: 1 a.m. to 8 a.m.

"I know it's hard to disengage, so I try to shut off my phone 30 minutes before I go to sleep. Then, I read a book. I'm a huge advocate of every self-help book out there — The Magic Of Thinking Big, The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success. Pretty much everything related to being successful and being a leader.

"I also meditate if I don't fall asleep. I take 10 really deep breaths, I put out what I want to the universe, and I pray. It usually calms me down and calms my brain down.

"Finally, I always write my goals down on a piece of paper taped to my lampshade. So, right before I turn off my light, I look at my goals and read them. It just reminds me of what I'm really working towards."
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