How A Busy CEO Sets Boundaries On Work So It Doesn't Ruin His Sleep
My awareness of how important sleep is has increased massively over the last five years—mostly because having kids gave me the first taste of what it's like to not sleep well. Ever since our first was born back in 2017 (we now have three!), I've had to get much more deliberate about my routine to ensure I get good rest.
For me, that starts with sleep hygiene basics: going to bed at the same time every night (11 p.m.), using blackout curtains, and when I really need to be at my best the next day, wearing wax earplugs so I can sleep through anything. I'll also use pre-bedtime supplements selectively. I'll take melatonin when I travel, valerian root tea if I'm having trouble relaxing after a big day, and glycine, ashwagandha, or magnesium when I'm under stress.
If I had to point to one thing that consistently makes the biggest difference in my sleep, it's exercise. When I work, I sleep better and fall back to sleep more easily if I'm woken up by the kids. So, as a parent, daily exercise has become my one sleep nonnegotiable.
- Average hours I sleep a night: 7
- Ideal bedtime: 11 p.m.
- Ideal wake-up time: 6 a.m.
- Nightstand essentials: Phone, Apple Watch
- Sleep bad habit: Working past 10
- Caffeine consumption: Both tea and coffee. I mix it up for variety and to keep my caffeine intake in check.
- How I track my sleep: I don't use a sleep tracker.
- The last product or habit that changed my sleep for the better: Earplugs
Early evening: Our family eats together most nights, and we lean toward smaller, Mediterranean-style dinners (my wife Carolina is from Spain, where the biggest meal is lunch). Tonight, we had an avocado, tomato, and cucumber salad and fish, and for dessert, I munched on our Thrive Market organic cacao nibs—they are loaded with flavonoids and other micronutrients, and I now crave them even more than I did dark chocolate.
7-8 p.m.: Get the kids to bed. It's always an adventure in our house with three under 6. On a good night, this is done by 7:45. On a bad night, it could be 9 o'clock.
8-9 p.m.: With kids down, Carolina and I get our only hour of one-on-one time during the day. We try to relax, but many nights, we have logistics to cover, kids' activities to schedule, travel to coordinate, and weekend plans to make. The time is never enough.
9-10 p.m.: My last work "sprint." I've heard some people say working before bed hurts their sleep, but for me, it helps me relax to know I've wrapped up the day's loose ends and planned out the next day. I'm very strict about shutting things down at 10, though. Otherwise, I can easily get into a groove and find myself working way too late.
10:30-11 p.m.: Reading to lights out. I try to be strict about shutting things down at 10:30, but sometimes I'll go until 11 if I'm in the middle of a good book.
6-6:30 a.m.: Depending on what workout I have on the docket, I'll wake up somewhere between 6 and 6:30 a.m. If I'm doing a HIIT class, I try to be out the door by 6:15. If I'm going for a run or a swim, 6:30.
Nick Green is Co-Founder & CEO of Thrive Market, a membership-based online platform that makes healthy living easy and accessible to all. Since launching in 2014, Thrive Market has grown to 1.2 million paying members and become a touchstone example of a mission-driven company at scale. In addition to offering the world’s best natural and organic products at affordable prices to its members, for every paid membership, the company donates a free year of membership to a family in need. The business has also been recognized as a leader in regenerative agriculture, carbon-neutral shipping, and Zero Waste operations, and in 2020, it became the nation’s largest grocer to receive B Corp Certification, as well as a Certified Great Place to Work. Outside of Thrive Market, Nick lives in Venice, CA, with his wife, Carolina, and their three children.