There's no one clear-cut path to success. Depending on what you do, who you're around, what success really means to you and a variety of other factors, you could be overwhelmingly successful and never further from the top at the exact same time.
One thing that's for sure is it never hurts to understand how established successful people conduct themselves daily to create a life that's led them to where they are now. Unsurprisingly, most of these people create routines they stick to almost without fail — and the time before bed is perhaps the most crucial because it determines how recharged they'll be for the next day.
Here are eight super-successful people and their bedtime routines:
1. Elon Musk
Elon Musk, CEO/CTO of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Motors, once said he used to drink eight cans of Diet Coke every day on top of two cups of coffee. After realizing it was getting him too wired, he's cut it down to just one or two sodas per day. He also said in a recent Reddit AMA that he stays away from caffeine for six hours before bed now and tracks how much he sleeps (6-6.5 hours per night) with his phone.
2. Arianna Huffington
After collapsing from exhaustion in her office in 2007, two years after launching The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington completely changed her lifestyle to include the concept of "sleeping your way to the top," a method that advocates for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. She also keeps electronics completely out of the bedroom, not even a Kindle or iPad to read on. Just real books.
3. Bill Gates
Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, says reading is a huge focus of his night. "I read an hour almost every night," he told The Seattle Times. "It's part of falling asleep." And even if a good book is keeping him up too late, he always knows to make sure he's getting seven hours of sleep per night. If he has to think creatively, he says, "I'm not much good without seven hours."
4. Barack Obama
Good old Barry. Our nation's 44th president is understandably a little too busy to have super-healthy nighttime routines, but when he's not governing the country late into the night, he says he unwinds with a good book, tucking in his girls and wife, and the occasional episode of The Daily Show.
5. Stephen King
The renowned horror novelist said in Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King that he has the same routine every night: "I brush my teeth, I wash my hands. Why would anybody wash their hands before they go to bed? I don't know. And the pillows are supposed to be pointed a certain way."
6. Michael Lewis
The author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game interestingly says in his book The New New Journalism that, "Left to my own devices, with no family, I'd start writing at 7 p.m. and stop at 4 a.m ... I like the feeling of knowing that nobody is trying to reach me."
7. Joel Gascoigne
Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne walks for 20 minutes every night so he can totally disconnect from his work before he goes to bed.
8. Kenneth Chenault
Cover image: Derek Thomas via Flickr