One of the most overlooked success rituals is the routine you do every night just before bed.

Successful people understand the importance of having success rituals they do just before bed while those who struggle to achieve their ambitions can often trace a significant amount of their struggles to the self-sabotaging behaviors they indulge in just before bed.

Let’s take a look at some typical behaviors many of us have done just before bed for years without realizing the negative effects they were having on us.

For years I used to stay up really late, often watching TV in bed for 30-60 minutes just before bed. Of course, while watching TV I’d find myself wanting a snack so I’d typically wind up eating a snack and even drinking a soda. This was before I learned how horrible soda pop is for you.

As if that weren’t bad enough, I wasn’t considering what messages I was pumping into my brain as I watched whatever crap was on TV. Sometimes it was harmless, like a fun episode of Late Night with David Letterman. But on weekends it’d often be the news, so I was filling my head with a barrage of negative images ranging from people killing each other to politicians screwing over their own citizens for a few extra dollars to politicians screwing around on their spouses. The news media loves to tell you everything that’s wrong with the world and takes particular delight in telling you every sordid detail as graphically as possible.

So, I’d often find myself just before bed wondering why I was restless and edgy, my mind racing with a million thoughts and not being able to relax and fall asleep.

I’d wake up the next morning feeling terrible, my body begging me to let it sleep longer and my brain trying to figure out why I’d had disturbing dreams. At work, I’d often struggle to get going and a lot of times the quality of my work was nowhere near my best.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Maybe you don’t watch TV just before bed but maybe you spend some time replaying your day in your mind. Maybe you dwell on that argument you had with a friend, relative or co-worker. You find yourself second guessing how you handled that situation with your child. Or in your mind you run through something that didn’t go quite the way you wanted it to. Perhaps you find yourself caught in that loop of thinking about all the things you told yourself you wanted to get done and now just before bed you’re mentally going through your to-do list and feeling disappointed about all the things you didn’t get to cross off your list.

Does any of this sound familiar now?

These are very common habits. They are standard routines many of us unconsciously slip into without giving them much thought. And while there is nothing wrong with reflecting on your day and your daily activities, you might want to re-consider when you do this and choose to do it earlier in the day rather than letting it continue to be a ritual just before bed.

Here’s why:

It’s been shown in various research studies that your brain has a tendency to continue with the pattern of thoughts you give it just before bed and continuing on that same train of thought as you start to fall off into sleep. And recent research has shown that the very last thoughts you consciously hold as you drift off to sleep are repeated approximately 17-19 times before you drop off into deep sleep.

At first glance you might think “So what?” but let’s think about that for a moment.

Whatever thought patterns you have just before bed are getting repeated in your brain 17-19 times when your reasoning and judgment are shut off for the night.

In essence, when you are mentally at your most vulnerable, most pliable and suggestible, your brain–for better or worse—is sending your last thoughts deep inside you, past all your mental self-defense mechanisms and filters, 17-19 times.

Do you think it might be important for those last thoughts to be thoughts that encourage you and support you or benefit and help you in some way?

We’re talking the equivalent of self-hypnosis and deep, internal personal influence and priming on ourselves.

This is so important that Jim Fannin, the world’s #1 coach of champions, who has coached more champions in sports, business and life than anyone else on earth, teaches how to utilize this information as part of his mental performance training. He’s also the person who taught it to me in his 90 Second Rule program.

So, here’s what I do now as part of my success rituals just before bed to take full advantage of this mental technology.

1. I don’t watch TV in bed anymore. In fact, I don’t have a TV in my bedroom at all now. I guard what goes into my mind and removing the news and crappy TV shows from my nightly routine has been a huge positive step.

2. Often just before bed I will read a chapter from a book like Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill or something else that enriches my mind. It might be something I’m studying like the latest brain research or something to do with personal improvement. But I make sure it’s material that is good for me and has a positive impact on my mental state.

3. If I don’t feel like reading something, just before bed I will put in my earbuds and listen to a meditation or hypnosis audio. My primary purpose in doing this is to relax and reduce or eliminate any stress I might still be carrying in my body as I approach the end of my day.

4. The last thing I do before I let myself fall asleep is to mentally focus on one specific thing that will benefit me by being repeated 17-19 times while my mental defenses are down. So one night I might focus on how grateful I am for something. Another night I will mentally rehearse something I’m doing the next day and mentally see myself doing a great job. Some nights, especially if I’ve had a rough day, I’ll simply pick one powerful phrase to repeat to myself, some positive self-talk, my own little success mantra if you will, to make me feel better about myself. It’s not really an affirmation, it’s more a reminder of something I did do right to help put me back on track again.

I know some people will think this is silly but it’s the very same mental success rituals that many of the top Olympic athletes, Major League All-Star baseball players and wealthiest CEO’s in business use just before bed.

The results myself and other outstanding achievers have experienced convinces me that we should always be doing these success rituals just before bed. I’ve even let myself get lazy and stop using them to see what happens. You probably won’t be surprised to learn how easy it is for the old bad habits to come back and start eating away at your success.

You remember your parents or grandparents advising you at different times that you should sleep on it? Well, it turns out there was plenty of wisdom they were sharing with you by giving that advice. Now we have the scientific brain research to help us understand why it’s critical to control the last thing we think about before we fall asleep.

Hope you enjoyed this success rituals lesson on what to do just before bed.

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  1. Hi Michael,

    Thank you for this excellent success habit to get into and make part of our new health and successful living rituals.

    I did know that what I pump into my brain just before bed is highly impactful. I didn’t know of a specific statistic like the one you cite of 17-19x repeating in your brain. Do you have a scientific journal I can look at where you found that? I’m always studying the mind and success for us financially and in relationships.

    And I do have to just chime here, get the television set out of the bedroom. As a dating and relationship expert and coach, bedrooms are for romance, sensuality, intimacy sharing and restful sleeping. Keep your TV in your living room and your bedroom romantic! Nothing screams I’m a bored single more than keeping a tv set in your bedroom. It’s ok. You can still be a guy. No fluffy teddy bears on the bed required, lol.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    How to Get a Boyfriend Online

  2. Kevin Bettencourt says:

    Excellent advice on how to wake with enthusiasm rather than dread. I’ll try it tonight.

    Las Vegas Air Conditioning Repair

  3. Michael, this has to be one of your best article on success to date, your others are amazing and this one blows the doors off of those ones. It is important to guard your brain like a prize from negative or damaging information. I like that you mention successful people will think of what they want to reverberate in their heads 17-19 times before bed.
    A powerful thought, music, hypnosis are all amazing ways to do this.
    My all 2 all time favorites while falling asleep are 1. Ken Owens – Success while you sleep cd and 2. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Facing future cd. It has the over the rainbow/ wonderful world song from Finding Forester and so many other places.
    Thank you for sharing another aspect of success you definatley have great information on how to be more successful.
    Scott Sylvan Bell
    Goal setting for a sales slump
    Now go implement!

  4. Clare Delaney says:

    A really excellent post Michael – I had no idea! Luckily I don’t have a TV in my bedroom, and I watch very little TV in general nowadays, but those last thoughts before sleep…. I have saved this post, and will start to implement from tonight, and remind myself regularly. Thank you!

    EcoExpert advice on green appliances

  5. Eva Palmer says:

    Thanks Michael for this reminder about small rituals that make big changes for before going to bed!
    I decided years ago no to have a tv home for many reasons. I specially remember once when I woke up very early in the morning having a very bad feeling and it was due to my mum having left the tv on early in the morning with a program about the II World War. That was a very tough day to begin…

  6. Peggy Larson says:

    How coincidental that I read this today! I usually have the TV on in the morning while I get ready for work but today for some unknown reason I turned off the TV and played a CD on the stereo instead. What a difference in mood for me today…and I really think it was the music this morning. After reading this post, I’m thinking I am more right than I imagined myself to be! Thanks Michael!

    I’m going to start using your suggestions here for before bed rituals. The only issue I have is that sometimes when I’ve used earbuds to listen to something before I go to sleep I actually fall asleep and then the headphone cords get tangled up:-)


  7. Pingback: The Masters of the Mind: Enhance Your Mind Just Before Bed | The Masters of the Mind

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