12 CEOs of Southern Companies Share Their Bedtime Rituals

We can't wait to start trying these ideas out for ourselves.

African American woman daydreams while writing in journal
. Photo: Getty / SDI Productions

Feeling like you could use a dose of inspiration for your evening routine to make it your best year yet? You're not alone. And with the new year (and decade!) underway, now's a great moment to reassess your nighttime habits and think about how you could improve them. That's why we reached out to CEOs of some of our favorite Southern born-or-based companies to find out their bedtime rituals. From the CEO of Draper James to Kirkland's, get a peek into these luminaries' minds and steal what you love into your own life.

Taylor Rettig, CEO of Draper James, a brand inspired by the South:

"Since having our first child, I've become a bit more of an early bird. While I've always appreciated the sense of a head start that an early morning provides, I now look forward to spending some quality time with my son before the workday kicks into high gear. I naturally sleep for about six hours a night, but very much thrive on a routine, so I try to get to sleep around the same time every night, which can be challenging at times as we have key stakeholders in the company on both coasts. Admittedly, I do make one last check of email and headlines before tuning into a podcast (I'm a bit of a true crime junkie) which allows my mind to calm and serves as a great natural sleep aid."

Cliff Ritchie, President and CEO of Cheerwine in Salisbury, North Carolina

"Once I'm home from work in the evening, I focus on three things: family, faith, and health. I typically incorporate some sort of exercise, whether it be a walk or aerobic activity, into my routine for both fitness and stress relief. Then, I'll sit down with family to enjoy dinner, which is the perfect time to connect with the people who matter most to me after a busy day. Finally, before going to sleep, I take time for prayer and personal reflection. I find this quiet period helps my peace of mind because it gives me an opportunity to practice gratitude and contemplate the day."

Gene Caballero, Co-Founder and CEO of GreenPal in Nashville, Tennessee:

"To get myself ready for sleep, I play a little piano every night. It's the last thing I need to do to clear my mind. Playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once, especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices, so it's like a mental full-body workout."

Steve “Woody” Woodward, CEO of Kirkland’s in Brentwood, Tennessee

"I'm an early to bed, early to rise guy. Before dinner I like to review emails and catch up on the day while enjoying a gin and tonic. After dinner with my wife of 48 years, we like to relax with a little cuddle time with our two dogs, Crystal and Pearl, who are named after our great grandmothers. Then it's off to bed so we can be fresh and ready for another day. Our home is truly our happy place where we can tune out the world and recharge."

Shannon McLinden, Co-Founder of Farmhouse Fresh in McKinney, Texas:

"As the caretaker to our sanctuary farm animals, my days begin far before sunup. So my bedtime routine is EAT- PREP-LOVE-LIGHTS. EAT: Dinner and brushing teeth by 6. PREP: [Face] mask and apply night cream. LOVE: Feed (and hug) sanctuary animals. LIGHTS: Pajamas on, one low light left. Organize to-do list made for the next day. 8:30 p.m. lights out, no matter what. "

Tom O’ Grady, CEO of Phocus in Louisville, Kentucky:

"My evening routine is largely focused on quality, family time with my wife and three children. We make it a priority to have dinner together during the week as much as possible. It has become a tradition to go around the table with the kids, each expressing their highs and lows from the day, leading to rich conversation. As a father, it's been an honor to consistently listen to how they conduct themselves in situations and what they think about certain things that sometimes, being as busy as I am, forget are issues to kids at their age...When I get in bed, my phone is immediately switched to the 'do not disturb' mode. I get some of my best thinking done then so I keep a notepad on my nightstand to write down my pillow thoughts."

Ted Dennard, CEO and Founder of Savannah Bee Company in Savannah, Georgia:

"I recently moved to the beach, so I plan on getting out on the beach nightly. Being out on the beach, it's so starry, it really makes you think about the bigger picture. It makes me think about why I do what I do and what I want to create."

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Dr. Suzanne Fuchs, Owner and CEO of LuxePodiatry in Jupiter, Florida:

"I love taking a warm bath with Epsom salt and lavender. Epsom salt helps soothe and relax muscles. It also helps promote better sleep while the lavender relaxes you. After the bath, I like to write down my goals for the next day. This helps me focus and calms my mind. I then like to write five things I am grateful for. I end my night with a short meditation and breathing exercises before bed. I sleep in a cool room with a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are like getting a big hug."

Fawn Weaver, Co-Founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey in Shelbyville, Tennessee

"My favorite nighttime ritual is playing Scrabble with my husband [Keith] while sipping on a nightcap (generally, whiskey or Cabernet wine). I don't want to spend my evenings watching television, but I need something to take my mind off all the challenges my work day brings, so we play Scrabble. I always win, so it may be less fun for him than it is for me."

Chrissa McFarlane, CEO of Patientory in Atlanta, Georgia:

"I've found nightly meditation to be a key tool that helps me ground myself so I'm better able to cultivate the serenity needed to stay flexible in the most stressful of situations. I know that meditation and mindfulness gets a lot of lip service...Trust me, I've tried everything to try to help me center and stay on track. In my opinion, meditation works because you can do it for as long as you feel comfortable and it's always beneficial. It's something I got good at over time. And as antsy as I was when I first started, I can't imagine a day without it now. I look forward to closing out the world for a while and breathing in my own experience in silence."

Mike Nassar, CEO at HairClub in Boca Raton, Florida:

"A few hours before bedtime I make it a habit to either go for a long walk or get a workout in to clear my head of the day's activity and focus on a 'way of being' introduced to me by our Japanese partners. I reconcile how my actions and decisions over the day have benefited and contributed to the betterment and satisfaction of our HairClub team members, our clients… and society at large. I then shut down my devices at least an hour before retiring, and depending on the day of the week incorporate either our Maxxam Overnight Hair Reconstructor or the Three Butter Overnight Mask from our partners at Matrix Biolage (it's always about the hair) and call it a day."

Jodie Davis, CEO The American Cuckoo Clock Company in Hickory Flat, Georgia:

"Gratitude and grounding are my bedtime rituals. First I don muck boots and head across the driveway to my barn to feed my teachers their dinner, clearing my mind of the myriad gerbil labyrinths to touch and spend a few moments with first one horse, then the other, joining them in their world of completely peaceful presence, in whatever weather Mother Nature offers, most often sparkling in the moonlight. Next, a stop in my private workshop to wind my creations, my latest cuckoo clocks, for they sustain us and me in many ways. Fifteen to thirty minutes of stretching exercises release the pressure of the day, followed by a few words or bit of a video of horse philosophy [which] put my mind to peace to rest for the promise of a new day."

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