Bedtime Routines That These Celebs Swear By

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Have you ever heard one of these restless overachievers brag they don't really need sleep? Donald Trump famously says he snoozes only about five hours a night. Many celebs claim the same. But there's a difference between what people say and what is actually required for a long and healthy life free of paranoia, psychosis, and other super-fun side effects of chronic sleeplessness. And according to Unfold Today, 76% of your favorite stars do actually get the recommended dose of dozing.

Science has a lot of confusing data on sleep — given we know almost nothing about the subject. We don't even know why we sleep. Not really, anyway. What we do know is getting too little is linked to just about every disease in the book. But there may indeed be an elite one percent functional on far less than your standard eight-hour recommendation. For those so predisposed, according to Time, less may actually be more.

For normies, a full night of REM cycles is required, and unfortunately, so hard to do. The world's foremost sleep evangelist, publisher Arianna Huffington, troubled by a culture of chronic sleep deficits, has made it her mission to put Americans to bed. She likes to emphasize the "transition to sleep" (via "The Ultimate Health Podcast"). According to Arianna, you can't expect to go from your stressful daily routine straight into dreamworld bliss. A solid ritual is needed to bridge the gap to the land of nod. These celebs have shared how they do it.

Lili Reinhart watches pimple popping videos

For busy celebrities, paid to look their best, sleep is essential. So can you really begrudge Lili Reinhart a little blackhead-blasting voyeurism if it helps her wind down at night?

The star of the CW's "Riverdale" is also a Covergirl Ambassador and a poet – releasing her first book of lyrical musings in 2020. Her schedule is full, and shut-eye is at a premium. "I take as many naps as I can," the outspoken advocate for mental health told Self, rejecting America's strange disdain for the siesta.

Naps are great, but if you've ever spoken to a sleep doctor, you know that frequent daytime dozing can also become a cycle that keeps you up at night. It's also a time-consuming luxury most just can't count on to fill in the gaps. So when Lili needs to turn out the lights at night, she takes a shower to rinse off, then a bubble bath — so as not to soak in dirty water. Then she pulls on a "baggy T-shirt." Finally, she flouts the standard "no screen" advice. The star admits her penultimate step is hopping on Reddit and watching zit extractions, which she finds "quite soothing." Lili then meditates, slides on her eye mask, puts one leg outside her comforter (so she's not too hot), and nods off, ideally, for 9-12 hours. "I'm a sleep machine. I love to sleep, and when I don't get enough of it, I struggle. Like, truly struggle to stay awake."

Jay Shetty life hacks his sleep

Influencers love to optimize. They're willing lab rats, constructing their own mazes — with perhaps less than scientific scrutiny — for our edification and entertainment. Jay Shetty, podcaster, influencer, and former Hindu monk, is very big in this self-improvement space. His Youtube channel boasts over four million subscribers – all eager to be enlightened.

Shetty shared his eight "evening routine" tips in 2021. The list starts before his actual sleep ritual commences. His first step is checking his schedule for the next day. Knowing he's organized helps him "mentally prepare." Thinking about work isn't usually relaxing, but Jay then switches to some light reading — not with a physical book, but via a sponsored self-improvement app on his iPhone, so take that rec with a grain of salt. Next is more screens, a little TV time with his wife.

Finally, Shetty gets serious. He turns his phone to airplane mode an hour before bed and does some gratitude journaling followed by picking out clothes for the next day. Then things get cute: he literally schedules time to tell his lady he loves her. Next comes a prayer: thanking god, setting intentions, and a reminder to be kind and compassionate. "I am happy, healthy, and focused," goes his nightly mantra. Finally, Shetty "calms his breath" with some slow in and out breathing. If that doesn't work, Jay "[scans his] body," and literally thanks his "organs for during their work that day." Job well done y'all.

Molly Bernard double-washes

Molly Bernard is best known for playing Lauren Heller on TV Land's series "Younger." For the slightly aged, you might remember TV Land was originally a Nick at Nite spinoff featuring largely black and white comfort classics like "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Green Acres," and "The Addams Family." Basically, if Nick at Nite's "Leave It To Beaver" reruns had you too hype, this was the channel for you.

TV Land's business model has obviously changed. They actually want you awake, but that means network star Molly Bernard needs her rest. She describes her perfect wind down as a night in with a lit candle, some Thai food, and a "Game Of Thrones" marathon. And of course, that comes with cuddles with her partner Hannah and their dog Henry.

But when the serious bedtime preparation gets going, Molly goes all in. "I double-cleanse my face," she told the domestic ritual site Apartment Therapy of her evening beauty routine. And don't underestimate the relaxing power of some post-dusk self-care. "[Next] I use a toner and a serum, and I have PM face oil I rub on my temples and my jaw. I like to have a little bit of reading beside the bed at my night table, either the New Yorker or that book "Sapiens" is nice to read before bed." Finally, this fresh-faced neat-nick does something that sounds like a nice anxiety hack. She takes a sweep of her apartment and makes sure three are no unwashed cups lying about.

Kelly Clarkson has sex before bed

For years Kelly Clarkson struggled with sleep. Like a lot of creative types, the winner of the first season of "American Idol" found her mind flooded with song ideas as she tried to nod off at night. "That's why I have a hard time sleeping," she told Self Magazine (via CBS News). Clarkson likes to jot down her late-night brainstorms, which is a lot like sleep journaling. Experts say this can help you get some quality rest.

By 2019, the "Since U Been Gone" star was on to a new and very next-level sleep hack: sex! "I was single for many years, so, I have children and how one makes children is generally what I do before bed," the mother of two said on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" (via ABC News). Clarkson goes on to admit she thought she might even be "asexual" before meeting her ex-husband Brandon Blackstock. "I never felt like, honesty, sexually attracted to anybody before him," she said in 2017. "And I'm not downing my exes. You know, everybody's different. But there was something about him."

The couple met in 2006, but he was in the friend zone until 2012, the pop star told Daily Mail – meaning Clarkson didn't find her secret to sound slumber until she was around 30 years old. Unfortunately, she might be singing those late-night blues again, as Clarkson and Blackstock filed for divorce 2020 (via ET).

Gwyneth Paltrow soaks in salt

Imagining Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow getting ready for bed conjures images of the Oscar-winning actress levitating over a rock garden with a whirl of citrine healing crystals orbiting her aura. After all, this is a woman who marketed a spray to repel vampires, a $150 machine that squeezes toothpaste for you, and a thousand-dollar jar of "sex dust" — just add water and you're set. You'd think the new-age eccentricity would apply to her evening rituals too (via Mirror).

Weirdly, it does not. When winding down, Paltrow is mostly only religious about something you could get for a few bucks in any drug store: Epsom salts for her evening bath. She takes this signature soak each night to relax, the actor told Elle in 2014 as she was in the middle of her famous "conscious uncoupling," (aka breaking up) with ex-husband and Coldplay crooner Chris Martin.

The couple filed for divorce the next year and finalized their split in 2016, according to Insider. Paltrow dealt with the stress with this evening ritual but admitted she also uses "a lot of organic essential oils on [her] pressure points." Okay, Gwyneth, that's more like it. Also, Epsom salt isn't even actually salt, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It's pure magnesium sulfate and soaking in it has numerous purported health benefits, including reducing inflammation, and relieving stress and anxiety. It may even treat bodily aches and pains and severe headaches including migraines by relaxing those muscles.

Beyonce doesn't even need sleep

Beyonce is a prolific creative force and that comes at a cost. Just like some of her peers, she has a hard time turning off her mind at night. She's one of those memes where the second you lay down your brain turns into a symphony of self-talk — in her case, almost literally. But she's also well-known for a spartan evening routine including an 11 PM curfew, following the old adage that nothing good happens after midnight.

That discipline doesn't necessarily equal perfect sleep hygiene, though, so she has a bedtime hack that actually takes all day. ​​"I am a person who has a hard time shutting off my brain," the songstress told Inc. "But if you are active during your day, you will be so exhausted you can't help but fall asleep. Having peace, happiness and healthiness is my definition of beauty. And you can't have any of that without sleep." She's also described her perfect wind down evening: a pizza, a beer, and time with the fam.

So Queen Bey understands the necessity of sleep, but she hasn't always extended that luxury to her entourage. The star keeps a tight schedule, and in her younger days, her staffers, by her own account, couldn't expect much shut-eye either. "I am a workaholic," she said in her 2011 documentary "Beyonce: Year of Four." (via Capital FM) "I don't believe in 'I need to sleep.' If I'm not sleeping nobody's sleeping. I'm one human being."

Alex Rodriguez writes a nightly checklist

Alex Rodriguez went through one of the most stressful steroid scandals in the long history of PED controversy in major league baseball. He has lied in public about his use on many occasions, before coming clean, and he's talked about how much money and grief the whole thing caused him. "You have a guaranteed contract for hundreds of millions of dollars. Literally, you can sit on the couch and get fat. Right? How stupid can you be?" he told Joe Buck, on Undeniable (via ABC News) calling himself a "jacka**."

Remorse can really keep you up at night, so A-Rod took to journaling, which research has shown can help you get a better night's sleep. Rodriguez likes to set his intentions before bed. "I had a list of the 10 things I had to do, and I would check it every night before I went to bed," the former slugger turned color commentator told The New York Times Magazine in 2019.

Oddly, A-Rod is even willing to interrupt his sleep to jot down notes in his journal – at least while he was dating Jennifer Lopez. "The other day, Jennifer said something brilliant at, like, two in the morning. I reached over to get my notebook, and everything falls on the floor. Then I grabbed it and wrote it down." Rodriguez and Lopez were engaged in 2019 but the relationship crumbled by 2021 after reports Alex had slid into the DM's of various ladies.

Malcolm Gladwell answers emails

Malcolm Gladwell is the undisputed king of mining the world of tenuous social science findings for counterintuitive hot takes. He turns these insights into page-turning treatises on everything from what defines a "genius" and how to have difficult conversations. The man has sold nearly five million books, according to Lifehack. So of course this master of subverting consensus has sleep habits that come with a twist too.

"Malcolm Gladwell's email hack has seriously changed the way he works," trumpets the headline via Thrive Global. The writer's favorite trick to boost productivity and improve his mental health is what he calls the "24-hour email rule." He doesn't answer messages throughout the day. Instead, he reserves his evenings — when most people should be winding down — for catching up on messages from the past day. So instead of constantly refreshing his inbox, he allots his wind-down time for correspondence.

Gladwell says he was inspired by his father who never worked on weekends or past about 3 PM. "If everyone observed the 24-hour rule for responding to emails, the world would be as much better place," he claims. Aside from freeing Gladwell from his devices, he says the methods also set healthy boundaries. "If you don't answer people's texts and phone calls and emails right away, then they learn that, and they understand. They don't have to respond to my response right away, and I don't have to respond to their response right away."

Drew Barrymore puts on makeup before bed

Beyond often playing Adam Sandler's better half on the silver screen, Drew Barrymore is known for her luminous glow in major ad campaigns, and oddly, the CoverGirl weirdly does her eye makeup before bed.

"After I do my evening skin-care routine, I line my outer lower lashes with soft-black pencil—usually Flower That's So Kohl—before I go to bed," Barrymore told Allure in 2016. "It sounds a little crazy, but I wake up with the perfect smudgy eye makeup. I can roll out of bed, do absolutely nothing, and get compliments on my makeup."

This absolutely does not mean she falls asleep with a full face of foundation. Drew is very big on clean skin and advises everyone to wash their face "morning, noon, and night," she told Marie Claire. She also warns fans: definitely do not pass out after a long night out on the town. Drew may sleep in eye makeup, but the fresh-face fanatic who double washes her skin before bed also issues this dire warning for your own routine, "fall asleep with your makeup on and you'll wake up doomed is my philosophy."

Bill Gates reads about sleeping

Bill Gates was a hard-charging boss while making Microsoft a global goliath. The tech whiz famously revealed he used to memorize employee license plates to keep track of who was staying late. "I was quite fanatical about work," he told BBC Radio 4 in 2016. "I worked weekends. I didn't really believe in vacations." Bill also applied this standard to himself. "I felt that sleeping a lot was lazy," Gates wrote on his blog of his insomniac youth. "I routinely pulled all-nighters when we had to deliver a piece of software."

Gates, however, always knew his operating system was a bit sluggish when sleep-deprived, running on "​​caffeine and adrenaline." Later in life, he adopted a more sane seven hours a night approach after reading the seminal sleep tomb "Why We Sleep," by Matthew Walker, of California Berkeley's Center for Human Sleep Science. "Walker taught me a lot about this basic activity that every person on Earth needs," Gates writes.

Gates likely learned about this while in bed on his kindle. Each night the billionaire winds down with at least one hour of heady bedtime stories – mostly from the non-fiction (for geniuses) category. His blog features a bunch of tips he gleaned from this 11 PM to midnight research window. Gates says he's also ditched LED lights in the bedroom, sets the temp to a cool 65 degrees, and avoids naps after 3 PM.

Mariah Carey's 20 humidifiers

While some celebrities eschew sleep with their hyper-achiever lifestyle, there's something wonderful about legendary diva Mariah Carey claiming she actually needs to sleep nearly two-thirds of every day to be at her best.

"I've got to sleep 15 hours to sing the way I want to," the legendary songbird told Interview Magazine in 2007 (via CBS News). This may work for Carey when she's reaching for those upper octaves, but medical experts warn getting too many zzz's can actually have adverse health consequences. More than nine hours a night on a regular basis is associated with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even death, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. However, one expert at the vaunted school points out this data could come from the fact people who are already gravely sick sleep a lot.

Carey's only publicly known health problem is bipolar disorder, type 2, which she revealed to People in 2018. Bipolar-induced mania interfered with the singer's sleep for a long time. She admits she was often overworked and put rest last on her list. Before getting a diagnosis, Mariah revealed, "For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder." People with this psychiatric condition often have to follow strict sleep hygiene rules to get proper rest. Carey's favored sleep hack is to create a veritable somnolescent swamp. "Literally, I'll have 20 humidifiers around my bed," she told V Magazine. "Basically, it's like sleeping in a steam room."

Michael Phelps meditates

Michael Phelps redefined the standard for Olympic greatness. The speedy swimmer won 28 medals including 23 trips to the top of the podium for gold. And Phelps says the underrated component to his staggering success is sleep.

"At a very young age I learned how important sleep was," Phelps told CNBC in 2017. "I really can't say it enough. I don't think people really pay enough attention to how important sleep is." Phelps explains sleep is time to "recover" – which he certainly needed while swimming hard seven days a week training for five summer games.

Phelps says his wind down starts around 9 PM when he gives his house a very relatable once over. "I basically give myself an hour to get up and take care of everything that needs to be done: making sure the windows are shut and the doors are locked to make sure we're all protected for the night," he told Travel + Leisure in 2021. He also limits the use of his phone to avoid blue light, which he explains, "triggers so many things in your mind." When Phelps finally closes his eyes he performs a kind of meditation where he visualizes a much detail about his room as he possibly can. "I would be shocked if you got around your room more than five times and you were still awake, it's just a really cool calming relaxation tool that I've used for quite some time that always works."

Tom Cruise ditches his wife

Anyone who has struggled to get to sleep knows how upsetting it is when you finally fall softly into that delicious dream and are rudely awoken by some loud sound. Your cortisol kicks in, your blood pressure soars, and the waking nightmare of grasping at those elusive 30 winks starts all over again.

Tom Cruise isn't known to be a light sleeper but he once worked out a solution for things that go bump in the night: he supposedly sleeps alone in a custom-made soundproof bunker. The eccentric star and well-known Scientologist constructed his own "snoratorium," according to the Daily Mail. "Snoratoriums are proving popular among aging action heroes who are now in or reaching their 40s. At this age, a man's soft palate tends to relax more and creates noises which keep their partner awake."

This report came from 2001 when Cruise was married to the much younger Katie Holmes. Maybe unsurprisingly for the often awkward romance, Tomcat's bedtime routine involved splitting up at night. Cruise's snoring supposedly became such an issue he remodeled a guest bedroom in his $20 million Hollywood Hills home into a snore-safe zone so his young bride could get some shut-eye. One "visitor" who allegedly got eyes on the setup told Daily Mail, "Whoever uses the snoring room cannot be heard outside the locked door. It's very small, comfortable, and dark, maybe a former nursery.'

Stephen King's strange pillow hack

Stephen King might be responsible for more sleepless nights than anyone besides Steve Jobs. King is a master of horror, and if things in the closet or under the bed have you on edge, putting down this ridiculously prolific writer's works might be a sleep hack on its own.

King himself claimed during a TV interview with UMO in the 1980s that he actually sleeps with the lights on. But that same decade King declared his daydreams of the dark side don't actually keep him up at night, via CBC. In fact, he doesn't even write at night, so also doesn't make the mistake of trying to push productivity and sleep too close together. "It's always mornings. If I'm under the gun, I can work later in the day," he told The Wall Street Journal. "But my sweet spot is from 8:30 in the morning to 12:30 in the afternoon."

The early bird dismembers the worm maybe, but King is also a biphasic sleeper. He gets six or seven hours at night and then an afternoon nap for about an hour. This means the author winds down twice. Like everyone else, he brushes his teeth, but also washes his hands. Then things get specific. "The pillows are supposed to be pointed a certain way. The open side of the pillowcase is supposed to be pointed in toward the other side of the bed. I don't know why," he says in his biography, "Haunted Heart."

Oprah takes a bubble bath

Oprah Winfrey is a one-woman advice industry. On her long-running daytime talk show she usually brought on experts or celebs to dish advice, but since the launch of her omnipresent Oprah-related brands, including a magazine that features her on the cover each month, she's also revealing how she does things.

Oprah is an early riser. Given her $3.5 billion net worth, surely she could sleep in as she likes but constantly wakes at 7:10 AM. That means her wind down starts around 6 PM. "My perfect evening involves sitting around the fire with family, reading a novel, and drinking herbal tea," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2018. She also, perhaps inadvertently, follows the now common advice to avoid screens in the evening and their stimulating blue light. "I generally prefer reading a novel to watching a movie. I can go for weeks without turning on the TV."

When it's really bedtime, Oprah also likes to get in a good soak. Around nine PM she slides in the tub and is very serious about it. "In the evening, I have a bath before bed; it's a ritual. I'm a bathing professional — I have different bubble baths, salts, beads, and oils. I was in Provence a couple of summers ago, and I got this pure lavender oil." She also calls her home a "nurturing" and "spiritual" shelter that she has built oriented towards nature so she can truly unwind.