7 Things Successful Women Do Differently Before Bed

Workin' Girl

What happens when you get home after a long day's (or night's) work? Do you flop into bed exhausted? Do you half-eat a semi-healthy meal, watch a little Real Housewives, and fall asleep on the couch?

There is a lot of emphasis placed on how well we start our day but how we end it is just as critical. Consistently only getting two hours of rest is not healthy. Neither is going to bed anxious or angry. The quality of our sleep speaks not only to how well we rise the next day, but the holistic quality of our lives. As women, our risks for certain illnesses are already greater and for women of color, the odds increase. Along with eating well and exercising, getting a good night's rest has been proven to improve clarity of focus, minimize the risk of heart disease and stroke, and improve immune system defenses.

We were able to catch up with 7 incredible women, killing it in their respective fields, to find out the rituals/routines that help them wind down and how they end their days well:

Christa Gambrell, PhD, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor, Founder/CEO of Gambrell Wellness

"Once or twice a week, I take an Epsom salt bath with essential oils. It's a good way for the body to absorb magnesium, a nutrient known to produce a calming effect. I also started propping my feet on a wedge pillow, placing a heating pad on my abdomen, and practicing diaphragmatic breathing. A final seasonal favorite nighttime ritual is to turn out all the lights except the Christmas tree and just take in the beauty. All of these work together to promote a sense of safety and security so I can sleep in peace."

Follow her on Instagram @drcristagambrell.

Davia Roberts

Founder, Redefine Enough

"My night routine varies but one thing that does not change is intentionality. I honor my time to recharge by setting boundaries and genuinely preparing my mind to ease into rest. At 9pm, my phone switches to Do Not Disturb and I detach myself from social media. When distractions are silenced, I can focus on reading, journaling, breathing exercises, or relaxing yoga poses. Once I begin diffusing lavender oil, it's not long before I've fallen asleep.

"To others, my night routines may seem dramatic. However, these practices soothe me after busy days and help me stay focused on what matters. My life is not merely to-do lists and deadlines and taking the time to slow down each night reminds me of that truth. I am my best self when I create balance. The constant hustle doesn't serve me."

Follow her on Instagram @redefineenough and @justdavia.

Ashlee Wisdom

Founder, HealthInHerHUE

"I end my day well by setting aside time to unplug, unwind, and recenter. I usually do this by setting my alarm for the next day, putting my phone on Do Not Disturb, and turning it face down so the notifications don't distract me. I also have a routine of lighting a scented candle in my bedroom as I prepare for bed. (I usually light it before getting into the shower so when I get back to my room, the aroma relaxes me). I also spend some time in prayer and meditation. I reflect on the day – the good, the not so good, the things I'm unsure about – and I talk to God candidly about them. After I pray, I usually do one of three things: read a few chapters of whatever book I'm currently reading, watch a sermon on YouTube (I'm an unofficial member of Elevation Church, Transformation Church and The Potter's House LA/Denver), or watch a TED Talk on a topic of interest. Doing these things helps me silence a lot of the excess noise in my head, and it helps me pour back into myself spiritually and intellectually. My days end well with a nice combination of self-care, self-reflection, and self-investment."

Follow her on Instagram @healthinherhue.

Jayde Ware

Memory Care Director

"I completely unplug an hour before I go to bed, so I turn off the TV and put my phone down. I find completely unplugging gives me a clear headspace to actually wind down from my day. I then do 20 minutes of journaling where I just write out any lingering thoughts/feelings from the day. I also write a list of 3 really good things that happened to me that day and make a list of 5 things I'm thankful for. I find ending my day in a state of pure gratitude does wonders for my mood.

"Then I write out my goals and intentions for the next day. Waking up with a plan already set makes it easier for me to follow through and be productive in the morning. I end my night routine by taking 10 minutes to stretch and then praying. It's always important for me to end every day with a long list conversation with God."

Follow her on Instagram @callherjayde.

Latisha Carr

Self-Care Strategist, Latisha Carr Global

"Every night for the past few years, I have been writing in my journal in a very specific way that helps me to unwind. I first clear my mind by venting about all that has happened in my day, followed by writing out my wins for the day (I make myself find at least one even on the worst days). After that, I write things out that I am trusting God for, things that I am thankful for, and I end with an affirmation for the night. This helps me to clear my mind from any worries or doubts, but more importantly puts me in a place of gratitude and centered on God's Promise every night."

Follow her on Instagram @latisha.carr.

Erin Malone Turner

Writer & Pre-K Teacher

"Before bed, I typically do my nightly skincare routine, briefly read/edit something I've written, and spend the rest of the evening reading something written by someone else – usually a book or a play. I turn off my main bedroom lights and use my string lights until the last minute. Sometimes, I drink tea and tidy up my room a bit. Lastly, I pray and try to ready myself for the following day."

Follow her on Instagram @justphonehome.

Yetti Ajayi-Obe

Mental Health Awareness Blogger at Yetti Says & Entrepreneur

"The end of my day consists of me going through the typical motions: doing my skincare routine and packing up what I'm going to need for the next morning. But what ends my day well is me making time for love and gratitude. I reflect on the blessings of the day and complete my gratitude list. Then right before bed, my partner and I do an exercise called 'I love you today' where we share today's reasons why we love each other. It's a little corny, but it's heartwarming and it makes it easier for me to start the next day with intentionality and a meditation."

Follow her on Instagram @yettisays.

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Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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