We love reading about how women we admire manage to do it all. So, in search of their secrets, we have put together a collection of nighttime routines from 14 outstanding leaders in a variety of fields. From actresses and entrepreneurs to CEOs of billion dollar businesses, these women know a thing or two about how to maximize their time and minimize stress. Take note—this is how you should spend your time tonight.
Arianna Huffington, Editor in Chief, AOL Huffington Post Media Group
It's no secret that Arianna Huffington is an advocate for sleep. After all, the media mogul wrote a whole book on the matter called,The Sleep Revolution. What began it all? In a 2010 TEDWomen talk, Huffington explained that she learned the importance of sleep the hard way, after fainting from exhaustion. “I hit my head on my desk. I broke my cheekbone. I had five stitches on my right eye. So I began the journey of rediscovering the value of sleep,” she says.
In order to preserve the sanctity of her snooze, Huffington makes sure to keep her bedroom a screen-free zone. Before bed, she leaves her electronics out of the bedroom and opts to read an actual book before dozing off into a restful slumber. Huffington encourages other women to do the same. She even goes so far as to call getting enough sleep a feminist issue. “We’re going to sleep our way to the top,” she says.
We look to Lauren Conrad for advice about almost everything from fashion and home décor to cooking and entertaining. But the designer, blogger, and The Hills alum is also a valuable source of wisdom for women looking to get ahead in their career while maintaining a balanced life. On her eponymous website, Conrad stresses the importance of making time for yourself, setting measurable goals, and keeping a to-do list by your bed.
Have you ever wondered how Gwyneth Paltrow stays so calm, cool, and collected despite the fact that she has a family, an acting career, a successful business, a new cookbook, and countless other engagements? We certainly have. After some investigation, we discovered Paltrow relies on her bathing ritual to stay calm at the end of a chaotic day. “I take an Epsom salt bath every night to wind down,” she tells Elle. “I use a lot of organic essential oils on my pressure points.” A pressure-point massage and a bath sound like the perfect antidote to a busy day.
Sheryl Sandberg clocks out of the office at the same time every night. “I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 p.m. so [that] I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6 p.m.,” Sandberg tells Makers. While it took Sandberg a while to stop feeling guilty for leaving the office when it was still light out, prioritizing dinnertime with her children is well worth staying up late on email. But once it's time for bed, she always makes sure to turn off her device so that she can have uninterrupted sleep.
The unofficial voice of our generation, Lena Dunham, tells Huffington Post that she always keeps a stack of books by her bed. They're “all in various states of having-been-read-ness,” she says. Past books include Diane Keaton’s autobiography Then Againand Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior.
“Any night that I don’t have something to do, I’m cooking,” Hannah Bronfman tells Bonberi. “I’m really lucky that I’m able to DJ corporate events because they keep it in the hours of 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. I’m lucky if I’m playing at cocktail hour, then I can come home and either make dinner or go out and be in bed by midnight. I try for midnight but lately I’m just up on Instagram.” Yes, she’s just as Instagram-crazed as us.
Actress, model, and mom Jaime King is no stranger to multitasking but admits that she designates nighttime to look after her health and beauty routine. After putting her children to bed, King tells Into the Gloss that she is strict about cleaning her skin. “Always wash your face before bed, even if you don’t want to. Don’t be lazy. I don’t care what you’ve consumed that evening—just do it.” We love how this mama sticks to her disciplined lifestyle even after hours. Now if only we could do the same…
Fashion designer Vera Wang says the secret to avoiding burnout is simple: Decorate your room to aid in relaxation. “My bedroom is my sanctuary,” Wang told Fortune. “It’s like a refuge, and it’s where I do a fair amount of designing—at least conceptually if not literally.”
Actress, new mom, and passionate foodie Blake Lively swears by an unexpected food to start and end her day: chocolate. “I can’t start my day without a cup of hot milk chocolate or finish without crunching a few dark chocolate squares. It’s good for my morale," Lively tells Marie Claire.
Ellen DeGeneres practices transcendental meditation as much as she can, especially before bed. This unique type of meditation is defined as “a technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by meditation, repetition of a mantra, and other yogic practices, promulgated by an international organization founded by the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.” According to WebMD, it can reduce chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and the use of healthcare services. DeGeneres might be onto something.
Like her pal Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston also practices meditation in the morning and evening. The transcendental meditation website quotes Aniston as saying the following: “I’d say a little over a year ago I started doing TM, and that’s really changed everything. Starting your day off with that and ending with that is pretty powerful. Twenty minutes, you just notice the difference! When I get lazy and don’t get it in, I can feel a difference in the day.”
A rare breed, Kate White is one of those people who can function with less than five to six hours of sleep. Her nightly routine involves what the former EIC refers to as tending “the idea bar” until midnight or 1 a.m. “My craziest trick is that I regularly do my work standing up at a rolling butcher-block counter in my kitchen. If I were to work sitting down, I’d fall asleep,” White tells Fast Company. “I know it sounds awful, but I think of it as if I’m tending bar in the evening—a bar of ideas. And I always keep the kitchen TV on so it doesn’t seem too lonely. I drink several espressos at night, which really helps.”