We love reading about how women we admire manage to do it all. From the way they begin each year to how they start their days, we're always curious to see how successful women allocate their time. In our experience, we've found that most busy, hardworking people have morning and nightly routines to keep them on track with their big, bold goals, and it couldn't be a bad idea to follow in their footsteps.
One part of your routine that deserves special attention is your nightly ritual. It's what prepares you for the day ahead and helps you unwind from any chaos you endured throughout the day. However, using the last few hours of the day wisely is easier said than done. Who couldn't use a little motivation to set a nightly routine that doesn't involve scrolling through Instagram or rewatching TV shows until an ungodly hour?
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 their stress. Take note—this is how you should spend your time tonight.
Arianna Huffington, HuffPost Founder and Founder and CEO of Thrive Global
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 started 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," she said. "I broke my cheekbone. I had five stitches on my right eye. So I began the journey of rediscovering the value of sleep."
In order to preserve the sanctity of her snooze, Huffington makes sure to keep her bedroom a screen-free zone. Before bed, her night routine involves leaving her electronics out of the bedroom and opting 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.
Gal Gadot, Actress and Model
Who better to turn to for inspiration than Wonder Woman herself? When the frequently traveling actress was asked about how she combats jet lag, Gal Gadot told Vogue,
"I drink tons of water because I get really dehydrated when I travel, and also freshly squeezed orange juice because the Vitamin C is really good for your body. I try to be outside in the daylight as much as I can to get my serotonin levels up. And I've got to tell you: I can go to sleep like this [snaps fingers]."
Mindy Kaling, Actress, Comedian, Writer
If our dog-eared copy of Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is any indication, the successful actress, comedian, and writer is one of our go-to sources for career (and general life) advice. In her latest book, Why Not Me? Kaling reveals part of her nightly skincare routine. "I bought this wand, the Tria Acne Clearing Blue Light, from my dermatologist's office," she writes. "His job is to 'eliminate acne-causing bacteria deep beneath the skin's surface,' and I have to hold him pressed against my face for 20 minutes every night." Excuse us while we add this device to our shopping cart.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Actress and Founder of Goop
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 best-selling cookbook, and countless other engagements? We certainly have. After some investigation, we discovered Paltrow relies on her bathing ritual during her night routine to relax at the end of a chaotic day. "I take an Epsom salt bath every night to wind down," she told 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.
Oprah Winfrey, Actress, Producer, Philanthropist
Oprah Winfrey, the incomparable icon, is the definition of success. Given that she always seems to be balancing several projects at once, we often wonder how she manages to stay so cool, calm, and collected in the face of all this stress. Turns out her relaxation secret is a surprisingly simple one (that we're adopting immediately). "In the evening, I have a bath before bed; it's a ritual," Winfrey told Harper's Bazaar. "I'm a bathing professional—I have different bubble baths, salts, beads, and oils."
Lena Dunham, Writer and Actress
Unsurprisingly, the unofficial voice of our generation, Lena Dunham, includes reading as part of her nightly routine. She told HuffPost 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 Again and Mary Gaitskill's Bad Behavior.
Hannah Bronfman, Founder of HBFit, DJ, and Model
"Any night that I don't have something to do, I'm cooking," Hannah Bronfman told 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.
Jaime King, Actress and Model
Actress, model, and mom Jaime King is no stranger to multitasking, but she designates nights for looking 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.
Vera Wang, Fashion Designer
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."
Blake Lively, Actress
Actress, mom, and passionate foodie Blake Lively munches on an unexpected food during her nightly routine: 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.
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.
Viola Davis, Actress and Producer
How does a successful, Oscar-winning actress relax after a long day on set? Viola Davis spends "an hour and a half at least, sometimes a little bit more," soaking in the tub, she told BET. "I put in some Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt, and then I sit in there and I soak forever," she said. "I have my books and I soak."
Ellen DeGeneres, Comedian and Talk Show Host
Ellen DeGeneres practices transcendental meditation—which she once revealed gives her "this peaceful, peaceful feeling...and I can't say enough good things about it." This unique type of meditation involves repeating a mantra. In studies, transcendental meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure which can help to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. DeGeneres might be onto something.
Jennifer Lopez, Singer, Actress, Dancer, and Producer
When asked about the best beauty tip she's picked up over the years, Jennifer Lopez told InStyle,
"The number one tip is to always get enough sleep. I can't stress this enough. Beauty comes from within—you have to keep your mind, soul, body, and spirit in sync. I am a firm believer in meditating and when you are happy and feel joy and love, you radiate beauty."
Jennifer Aniston, Actress
Like her pal Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston practices transcendental meditation in the morning and evening.
"I'd say a little over a year ago I started doing [transcendental meditation], and that's really changed everything," she told the movement's website. "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."
Emma Roberts, Actress
When it comes to winding down during her nightly routine, Emma Roberts says she finds solace from curling up with a book or magazine. "I love reading," she told WebMD. "There is nothing better than having a good book that you can't put down."
Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise, Founders of Sakara Life
On a perfect day, Sakara Life founders Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise put time aside to pen their thoughts during their nightly routine. The duo practice journaling and conscious reflection before sipping Sakara Night Water and falling into a deep, restorative eight-hour sleep.
Kate White, Former Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan
A rare breed, Kate White is one of those people who can function with less than five to six hours of sleep. Her night 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," she told Fast Company. "If I were to work sitting down, I'd fall asleep. 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."
Bai Z, Chang J, Chen C, Li P, Yang K, Chi I. Investigating the Effect of Transcendental Meditation on Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Hum Hypertens. 2015;29(11):653-62. doi:10.1038/jhh.2015.6