Hands up who shakes off a tough day at the mill by binge-watching bad TV? Or by sinking one too many martinis before crashing into bed past 2 a.m.?
While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with these habits, they do little to revive us.
Evenings provide a precious window of time in which to unwind and reflect. If we don’t make the most of them, the working week can seem so much longer and more difficult to navigate. It’s like we’re dragging our way through the hours, rather than skipping with a Mary Poppins-esque spring in our step.
Here, we look at the night-time rituals curated by some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, from fashion designers to tech CEOs.
With the help of their carefully honed evening routines, these women have relaxation down to a fine art. By making the most of their de-stress time, they’re able to thrive — no matter how squeezed their time, and what challenges are thrown in their way.
Here’s how you can do the same:
Let ideas flow in a more relaxed setting.
“My bedroom is my sanctuary,” says designer Vera Wang. “It’s like a refuge, and it’s where I do a fair amount of designing — at least conceptually, if not literally. I spread out on my side of the bed, and I may be looking at books to get ideas, or just thinking things through.
“Staffers send me stuff at home, and I always read it at night — the only time when seven people aren’t coming to me at once. I’m able to think in a more peaceful way than when I’m in my normal routine.”
Victoria Beckham takes a similar approach. “I don’t ever watch TV,” she says. “After dinner I’ll catch up with emails. And when I’m lying in bed I think about the next collection. That makes me sound insane, doesn’t it? That I’m getting into bed with David Beckham and thinking about clothes.”
Treat yourself to a long Epsom bath
“I take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a candle flickering nearby — a bath that I prolong if I’m feeling anxious or worried about something,” says author and editor Arianna Huffington.
Gwyneth Paltrow agrees.
“I take an Epsom salt bath every night to wind down,” she says. “I use a lot of organic essential oils on my pressure points.”
Choose beautiful bedwear
“I don’t sleep in my workout clothes as I used to (think of the mixed message that sends to our brains) but have pajamas, nightdresses, and even T-shirts dedicated to sleep,” says Arianna Huffington.
Kate Moss is also a fan of serious bedtime apparel.
“I love beautiful nightwear, it makes you feel great,” the supermodel says. “Over the years, I’ve collected millions of vintage slips, nighties, camis and bed jackets.”
Embrace the power of dark chocolate
“I can’t start my day off without a mug of hot chocolate or finishing off the day with a few squares of dark chocolate,” says Blake Lively. “It keeps me feeling happy.”
New York-based journalist and blogger Joanna Goddard is partial to Lindt dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt.
“My friend Gemma introduced it to me one night when we were hanging out at her apartment,” she says.
“She has a few squares every night, and now it’s also my go-to treat after the boys are in bed. Chocolate can sometimes be too intense or cocoa-y, but this is perfectly balanced and so good.”
Impose a tech ban
“I don’t check email or look at my computer for at least an hour before I go to bed,” says Christina Mercando, founder of jewelry start-up Ringly. “Just looking at a screen before bed made it harder to sleep.”
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg agrees, saying it’s “painful” but she turns her phone off at night so that she “won’t get woken up.”
Indulge in some bedtime reading
“I always try to read before sleeping to clear my mind of the daily stresses,” says Whistles CEO Jane Shepherdson.
“At the moment I’m rereading Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which is one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read. Then I sleep for 8 hours.”
“Before I go to sleep I brew a cup of Lemon Verbena tea about half an hour before I sleep and this really gives me a blissful sleep,” says Michelle Roques O’Neil, founder of skincare brand Therapie.
“I also read for about 15 minutes, generally fiction, from one of my favourite authors Ruth Ozeke – it’s beautiful, modern and mystical all at the same time.”
Make time for meditation
“Sometimes, I’ll do some very light meditation, spending 10 minutes in the dark just breathing,” says Alana Range, founder of creative agency Radish Labs. “A new thing I started doing is rubbing some lavender oil on my temples — it simulates a sort of uber relaxation.”
“I will read a bit and I like to meditate too, when I can, as it always makes me wake up feeling happy the next morning,” says renowned make-up artist Wendy Rowe.
Keep a notepad by your bed
“One of my top tips for better sleep is to keep a pad of paper and a pen by your bed,” says Sarah Brown, founder of Pai Skincare. “It’s the best way to offload those 3 a.m. worries and brainwaves so that you can drift off again.”
“I keep a physical sketchbook and a Sharpie marker by my bed, so I can jot down notes,” adds Casey Cohen, co-founder for SALIDO restaurant group.
This post was written by Anna Brech. For more, check out our sister site Grazia.