Steve Jobs was famously driven, but also famously good at keeping things simple, focusing on what was important, including his own health. At home with Laurene Powell Jobs and their kids, he followed an easy routine that helped him rest and recharge, create work-life balance, and get a good night's sleep.
The people at the circadian rhythm app Owaves have reviewed the available information about Steve Jobs and created a typical day-in-the-life for him. It would likely be a mistake to emulate some of the things he did, such as routinely parking in handicapped spots, or eating nothing but apples or broccoli for lengthy periods. But some of his habits were very good ways to stay focused, mindful, well-rested, and healthy.
Here are some of the most important elements of that routine, and the science behind why they were effective.
1. He drank hot herbal tea after dinner.
The Jobs family started their evenings off right by eating a healthy, organic, and mostly plant-based dinner, much of it collected from their own vegetable garden. Both Steve and Laurene cared a lot about organic foods and healthy eating. And, although he was a famous workaholic, especially in his early career, he would come home to dinner at 5:30 every night, according to Owaves.
After dinner, they would drink hot herbal tea, often made with fresh herbs such as lemon verbena from their garden. Lemon verbena tea, and herbal teas in general, offer a host of health benefits including aiding digestion and increasing calm and relaxation, and removing toxins from the body.
2. He went for a walk.
Steve, who had trekked around India on foot, remained a fan of walking throughout his life. He often held walking meetings with people, rather than sitting down in a conference room or coffee shop.
But however much he might have walked during the day, he would take another walk with Laurene after dinner. That was a very smart thing to do since many studies have shown that walking helps people fall asleep faster and can improve the quality of sleep.
3. He meditated and listened to music.
Once he and Laurene had kids, Steve spent nearly every evening at home. "I have a very simple life," he said. "I have my family and I have Apple and Pixar. And I don't do much else." Instead, Owaves reports that Steve would spend the final hour of his day meditating and/or listening to music. Steve was a follower of Zen Buddhism -- many believe Zen's focus on simplicity helped inspire the brilliant design of Apple products -- and he practiced meditation throughout much of his life. Meditation has many well-documented benefits for brain function, and it promotes good sleep.
Research also shows that listening to relaxing music can slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, reduce stress-related hormones such as cortisol, and help you get to sleep. The Jobs family once had Yo-Yo Ma perform in their living room, and Steve said afterward that it was the best argument he knew for the existence of God.
Even if you can't get a world-class musician to come over and give you a private concert, and even if you don't have a fresh herb garden out back, these are all things anyone can do for a mental and physical recharge and a better night's sleep. Should you give them a try?