Well-Being//

What Jessica Alba, Bill Gates, and Deepak Chopra Do at Night to Reduce Stress and Sleep Better

Incorporate their small habits into your own evening hours and you’ll set yourself up for a more zen, restful night — and happier morning.

Daniele Venturelli / Contributor/ Getty Images
Daniele Venturelli / Contributor/ Getty Images

People love to talk about their morning routines, but the truth is, what you do before your head hits the pillow at night can also have an important impact on your mood, the quality of your sleep, and even how happy or stressed you feel the next day. Thrive Global founder and CEO, Arianna Huffington, says she swears by a warm bath to reset and relax before bed. “I treat my transition to sleep as a sacrosanct ritual,” she has said. “My bath is the centerpiece.”

Whether it’s a bath ritual, an evening meditation practice, or a commitment to calling one person who always leaves you feeling nourished, nightly habits can seriously improve your well-being. Looking to approach your evening hours a bit differently? Here are a few nighttime rituals of some of our favorite celebrities — use them as inspiration to tweak your own P.M. routine.

Hoda Kotb reads an uplifting book

Getting lost in a gripping or inspiring read can be a great way to calm the mind and signal to your brain that it’s bedtime. And for TODAY co-anchor Hoda Kotb, it’s the go-to trick that helps her unwind each night. “I try to fill the last couple of minutes before I close my eyes with something nourishing, whether it’s a book I keep on my bedside table, or something that I read that’s uplifting,” Kotb told Thrive. “When I open my eyes, every single morning, I’m happy.”

Jessica Alba has a family cuddle sesh

As an actress, full-time entrepreneur, and a mom, Jessica Alba admits that it’s not always easy to carve out time for herself — but in the evenings, she makes time to do what fills her with the most joy: cuddling with her kids. “For my mental health, I need the sleep, and I need the exercise… and then I also just need cuddles with my kids, and that, to me, it just fills me up,” she told Thrive. “It allows me, when I do work, to be able to be there, and be present, and be 100%.”

Deepak Chopra powers down

We all have those days when work demands follow us home after hours, invading our “down time” through our inboxes. But according to Deepak Chopra, setting limits is key to his stress-free evening routine. “I stop working around 5:00,” he told Thrive. “[I] ideally go to bed before 10:00 in a totally dark room, with total silence and no technology.” When it comes to tech, it’s all about boundaries: “You use technology; don’t allow it to use you,” he adds. “It’s that simple.”

Alex Rodriguez writes a nightly checklist 

Research tells us that writing down our thoughts before bed can help set us up for a better night’s sleep — it’s literally getting the worries and anxious thoughts out of your mind. Former Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez says he’s been incorporating this ritual into his bedtime routine for years — even in training. “I had a list of my 10 things I had to do, and I would check it every night before I went to bed,” he told the The New York Times Magazine in an interview. “I’m old school.” For Rodriguez, writing isn’t just about recording to-dos; joy triggers also make it onto the list. “The other day, Jennifer said something brilliant at, like, 2 in the morning,” he added, “I reached over to get my notebook.”

Bill and Melinda Gates connect over dinner

No matter how busy their schedules are, Bill and Melinda Gates have a nightly family dinner. The couple says it helps them de-stress and connect with one another, and it also helps them separate from the workday. “I try not to work after dinner — that was kind of a mantra I made for myself about four years ago,” Melinda told the The Cut. “I’ll often read, talk with Bill, and then, generally, I’ll watch something relaxing before bedtime.”’

Malcolm Gladwell does a “24-hour email sweep”

Writer Malcolm Gladwell swears by a trick that allows him to focus on creative work during the day, and then catch up on his messages at night. He calls it his “24-hour email rule,” which means he reserves his evenings for catching up on messages from the past 24 hours, instead of refreshing his inbox all day long. “I answer email in the evening,” he told Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast. “If everyone observed the 24-hour rule for responding to emails, the world would be a much better place.”

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