What the Best Leaders Do Before Bed


While a morning routine is valuable, we should not overlook our nightly routine. The morning is about preparing for the day’s activities while the night should be about refocusing our energy on specific activities that allow us to relax and recharge. The best leaders have specific activities they routinely do before going to bed. Below are 5 things the best leaders do before bed:

1. Spend time with family-

Great leaders value spending quality time with their family. They place a high priority on family time once they got off work. Michael J. Fox said, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Great leaders become great greatly due to the nourishment and encouragement they receive from spending time with those they love.

2. Relax the body and mind-

The weight of leadership can be demanding. Great leaders take time to recharge by relaxing their body and mind. They engage in leisure activities: watching TV, walking, surfing the internet, recreational sports, hobbies, and other things that might not be productive but allow them to relax from a day of leading. They are intentional about coupling family and relaxing time together.

3. Reflect on the day-

At night great leaders take time to reflect on the day they had. The main reason to reflect on your day is to learn your patterns and habits, those that allow you to be effective and those that may cause you to be ineffective. This allows you to see what you should focus on and what you should avoid, what went well and what did not go well. This will provide you with the knowledge that can help you increase your productivity and effectiveness.

4. Plan for the next day-

Great leaders prepare for the next day by taking time to plan for the next day. Alan Lakein said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” If you don’t plan your days in advance (the night or morning before) your days will control you, causing you do whatever comes up, which might not be the most productive thing you can be doing. Plan the top tasks and activities you need to do for the next day.

5. Consume growth content-

It can be valuable to consume growth content before going to bed or listening to audio content (like an audio book) while you sleep. Your mind is always working even while you are sleeping. A dose of good content before or while you sleep allows the subconscious mind to be processing the information. The information can encourage the soul, potentially causing you to have a better day and the information can be stored in your memory banks for a later time.

Question: What else should a leader do before bed?

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33 thoughts on “What the Best Leaders Do Before Bed

  1. Great list. All very important. I also pray, but that can be part of reflecting upon the day, spending time with family (Father, God) and listening/reading/consuming growth content (Bible).

  2. I do #1, #2, and #5 pretty regularly. As for #3 and #4, it seems like I am always thinking about what I’ve done and where I’m going next. Heck, sometimes those thoughts keep me awake at night, not because I’m worried, but often because I’m excited.

    • Hey Dan,

      Always thinking can be good and bad at the same time, especially if you are trying to sleep. I found if I’m excited about something (and can’t sleep) even though I might not get a lot of sleep, I wake up inspired and ready for the day. How about you?

  3. Great thoughts, Dan. I really like #3 and 4. I got a FitBit at the beginning of the year and try to walk 10,000 steps each day. Sometimes I have to go on a short walk in the evening to finish out on my steps and I’ve found I really enjoy that. Usually I go with my husband and daughter, which is also nice. But the air that time of night is great and nice to get some fresh air before going to sleep.

    • Keeping track of your steps is a great idea! Just last night my wife, son, and myself went for an early evening walk and it was wonderful! So refreshing. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  4. Reading, writing and relaxation make up by near bedtime activities, Dan. Of late, I spend a few minutes every night with a gratitude list. I feel great when I reflect upon all the good things that happened today. So to answer your question, I would just add, a leader should take some time to appreciate each day.

    Also, I’ve been doing a do list in bullet points the night before. Gives me structure and focus for the next day. Great list, Dan, of how to set our lives up for success!

    • Hello Vishnu,

      Great addition! Finding and showing our gratitude and appreciation for the day is so important. Thank you for reading and adding to the topic.

  5. Hey Dan, I think leaders, and successful people in general make sure that they leave their work behind when they hit the sack. They don’t lay there debating decisions or regretting on mistakes. They plan their schedule, analyze potential issues and then… gone. Empty head. Because they know that a good nights sleep (and often early start) are essential.

    • A “empty head” is so crucial when it comes to leaving work and coming home. It’s a habit every person should get into. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  6. Great list. However, since everyone is wired a bit differently, here’s my one exception. I can’t plan for the next day at night. If I do, I get so excited that I get revved back up. Plus, it pulls my attention away from my wife and kids.

    So, I plan my upcoming week sometime between Friday-Sunday. Then I wake up early every morning and “lead my life from quiet” for about 45 minutes. Part of this discipline is to map out my day. Works well for me :)

  7. All great tips, Dan. In fact, all of them are habits of mine. The only addition I can think of at the moment is related to planning for the day ahead. Specifically, I plan for the morning. I insist that my kids have what they need for school ready the night before. I tell them not to ask me to make a last-minute decision in the morning first because I’m not a morning person and second because I don’t want to be caught off guard and make a poor decision I wish I would have thought through. When I worked outside the home and still today when I have to leave early, I plan what I’m wearing and get everything I need to take with me ready the night before. Mornings go quite smoothly this way, which makes the whole day better!

  8. Indeed I do all of these, but alas my plans always get changed by God. Therefore I pray and pray and pray about everything. God plans not man… Lesley Chappelle 05.05.14

  9. I usually reflect on the day Dan and prepare for the next day. I make sure to line up the most important things and get them done first. Then I start working on other tasks that can and will help me prepare for the upcoming day. You really laid out everything in this post that Leaders should be doing.

  10. I especially like the growth content point. I’ve just recently gotten into the habit of listening to good audio podcasts or audiobooks before sleeping. I’m told reading in bed (as long as it’s not a digital screen) is an especially good way to get the mind into a restive state too.

    • That’s a good habit. Yes, whenever I listen to an audio book before sleeping (which is almost every night) it relaxes me and moves me into sleep mode. Thank you for adding to the discussion.