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Tim Ferriss reveals the 5-step nighttime routine that makes him successful

Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss
Theo Wargo | Getty Images
Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss

Successful business leaders agree: Sticking to a strict routine is key to achieving your goals.

For billionaire Richard Branson and bestselling author Dan Brown, it's waking before dawn that's the secret to starting the day off right. But for bestselling author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, it's his nightly routine that keeps him on track.

When asked in a recent episode of Lifehacker's "The Upgrade" podcast about the things that keep him up at night, the 40-year-old admitted that his night is only thrown off when he doesn't follow the below five steps.

Tim Ferriss
Source: Andrew (Drew) Kelly
Tim Ferriss

1. Limit light from electronic devices

"It could be as simple as not dimming my laptop or phone," says Ferriss.

To help, he says he uses a computer software called f.lux, which adjusts a screen's display color according to the location and time of day.

"You can use blue light-blocking glasses," he adds, "although they sometimes look pretty goofy."

2. Switch to airplane mode

Ferriss says every night he puts his phone on airplane mode before he goes into his room, because even seeing the light flash through his eye mask can break up his sleep.

To refrain from being distracted by his phone at the start of the next day, the entrepreneur says "it doesn't come back on until I finish my first 60 minutes of my next morning routine."

Arianna Huffington follows a similar practice by using a charging station that looks like a bed.

"You put your phone under the blanket and you tuck it in and say goodnight," she tells CNBC Make It.

She adds that stepping away from your phone at night helps you to avoid focusing on extra work stress and your to-do lists.

3. Block noise

To avoid distraction from outside noises, Ferriss says he uses a Marpac Dohm White Noise Sound Machine to help him rest peacefully.

"There are fancier versions, but these are pretty cheap and are incredibly effective for drowning out different types of noises, because I have very acute hearing."

4. Read

To deal with his insomnia, Ferriss says that reading a book for a few minutes each night helps to ease his mind.

"That's how I started reading fiction again," he said. "It really was to consume something that would actually push me away from problem solving and more into kind of fantasy dream mode. I was like alright I'm not really a fiction reader but to fix my insomnia I'll do it."

To relax his mind before bed, Microsoft's Bill Gates has also routinely reads a book.

"It's part of falling asleep," Gates once told The Seattle Times.

5. Eliminate caffeine

In an effort to optimize his sleep potential, Ferriss says that he typically stops consuming caffeine after 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.

"Even if you don't feel it, it's in there," he says.

Ferriss is not alone. More than 85 percent of people in the U.S. consume caffeine regularly. But his habit of maintaining a cut-off time for consumption is something others may want to adopt.

According to research, you should avoid drinking caffeine in the evening as it can disrupt your rest up to six hours after consuming it, leading to an hour or more lost in sleep.

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