This article originally appeared on Uncubed.
Does your evening routine consist of passing out in front of the TV and scrolling through Twitter? Turns out there’s a better way to relax after work is done.
Read a Little
Turn off the TV and follow Bill Gates’ lead.
“I read an hour almost every night,” he told The Seattle Times. “It’s part of falling asleep.”
But don’t worry if you start dozing off only a page or two in—you can get the relaxing benefits of reading in just six minutes, according to a University of Sussex research.
“Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation,” Dr. David Lewis, the neuropsychologist who conducted the study, told the Telegraph.
“It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.”
If you’re looking for a good read, Gates has a few recommendations for you.
Cut Yourself Off
Arianna Huffington wrote the book on sleep—Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. And the newly-minted sleep guru endorses this evening routine, which includes a firm timeline when you should stop eating, drinking, and stressing (easier said than done).
Huffington also advocates reading, but real books only, she told The Atlantic. “I personally have made my bedroom a device free zone. I only have real books by my bed. Not even Kindle editions. No iPad. Nothing. It’s incontrovertible.”
You’ve probably read that you shouldn’t drink alcohol or anything with caffeine close to your bedtime, but what you should be drinking apparently is apple cider vinegar. Tim Ferriss of 4-Hour Work Week fame swears by an apple cider and honey concoction as part of his evening routine.
Ferriss may be on to something. ACV (aka apple cider vinegar) has a ton of seemingly magic powers, helping to regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol, in addition to helping you fall asleep.
Ferriss’ other bedtime routines include reading fiction and a bath in his “spa room”, which could prove more difficult to replicate in your studio apartment.
It’s the Little Things
To get her evening off on the right foot, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg leaves work at 5:30 and turns off her phone at night. Stephen King washes his hands and makes sure the pillows are pointing the same way.
Gwyneth Paltrow takes an Epsom salt bath. A box of Epsom salts costs around $10, making this perhaps the most affordable thing Paltrow has ever recommended.
Reflect and Be Grateful
Before going to bed, Benjamin Franklin asked, “What good have I done today?”
Keeping things positive before bed can help you sleep longer, a study from the Manchester University found. “When falling asleep, grateful people are less likely to think negative and worrying thoughts, and more likely to think positive thoughts,” the study’s authors write. “It appears that negative pre-sleep cognitions impair sleep, and gratitude reduces the likelihood of such thoughts, protecting sleep quality.”
Happy thoughts. Good night.