What is the Marcus Aurelius Nighttime routine?

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In this blog post, we talk about the benefits of the Marcus Aurelius nighttime routine or what is now commonly referred to as the Marcus Aurelius nighttime ritual and what makes it unique.

What is the Marcus Aurelius Nighttime routine?

The Marcus Aurelius Nighttime Routine was followed by stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius as part of his strict daily routine that consisted of the five following steps: 

  • contemplation, 
  • a view from above, 
  • meditation, 
  • physical activity,
  • a morning/day review.

His routine is born out of his extremely introspective & meditative lifestyle and philosophy that focused on ethicalities and an appreciation of life from a moral and philosophical point of view.

He and many of his pupils believed that this particular routine was key in living a well balanced and philosophically grounded life. 

Let us discuss the steps of his nighttime routine. 


This is the very first aspect of Marcus Aurelius’ nighttime routine. This particular aspect of his routine would begin with him thinking over the various problems and challenges that he might have faced during the day. 

He would contemplate on what course of action his role models would take and what choices they would make regarding the problem questions he would face in his own day to day. 

On contemplation Aurelius once noted,

“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.”

He would take time to consider the people in his life and those that have come before him- notable philosophers in their own right- and he would contemplate their philosophy, their ideas, and their determination. 

Aurelius would take time during his evenings to look at the problem statements from various perspectives, from that of his own role models, and would take time to contemplate on his course of actions before considering the next step.

A Perspective View From High

This particular part of Aurelius’ night time routine involves looking at things objectively. 

While he refers to this as a perspective view from high, one should not mistake it for its literal sense. Instead, it implies stepping away from one’s own objective viewpoint and assessments and instead considering the topic in question in a new alternate and objective view. 

On objective reflection Aurelius has said, 

“Objective judgment, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance—now at this very moment—of all external events. That’s all you need.”

This particular aspect of his routine falls in line with his stoic philosophy of being aware of one’s own beliefs, values, and perspectives yet taking the effort to remove oneself from the situation and consider it from various perspectives different from one’s own. 

This skill requires time to develop and hone and it requires an intense level of empathy and self awareness that can help one let go and move forward. 

Do Some Physical Activity

Exercise and other physical activity was a major aspect of Marcus Aurelius’ nighttime routine. At this particular stage, he felt a great mind can only occur in a great body.

While his physical activities would involve taking a walk, sparing etc, he reasoned that these activities would help you balance your own mind, make you more calm and more content. 

He also noted that this particular aspect of his routine was crucial for getting a better quality of rest, increased focus and attention, as well as improved physical well-being. All of which have been backed by empirical evidence today. 


Meditation was of great importance within the Marcus Aurelius nighttime routine. Meditating every night before bed was something he stressed upon as it helps relax the body, calm the mind, and help hone a healthier sense of self-awareness. 

There are various ways to meditate. One of the methods of beginners is guided meditation where you can follow an audio guide to help you get into the act of meditating. 

In case you meditate before bed, you’ll ordinarily accumulate fatigue throughout the day so this will help you let all that go and prepare your body to relax.

In case you meditate the next day when you’ve woken up for the day, it’s essential to capture those minutes if you haven’t completely woken up yet and start meditating.

Review The Day

This is the final stage in the Marcus Aurelius nighttime routine, but also an extremely crucial one. He emphasized this stage and the importance of it countless times.

Before falling asleep at night, he would review the day in chronological order. Recall exactly how you woke up, if somebody was alongside you, what you noticed, just how feet felt whenever they touched the floor and other small by important details of your day.

He would then continue to review his entire way mindfully and objectively in this manner. He believed that this exercises would help you notice the following things:

  • the place you went wrong today and how you can make things better the next time.
  • What you did well, and also you could be delighted with that.
  • The things you have to be grateful for.
  • Understand exactly how you evolve and how close you are to achieving your goals.

Who was Marcus Aurelius?

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180, one of the last of the rulers of the Pax Romana which was an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire.

Marcus was born during the reign of Hadrian to the emperor’s nephew and was adopted when his father died by the emperor. As heir to the throne, Marcus studied Greek and Latin various scholars and philosophers.

Aurelius is known as a philosopher and his writing Meditations are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. These meditations have been praised by various philosophers that have come after him and many people today who follow the stoic way of life. 

His work in mediation which he wrote in the middle of his conquests was created without any intention of publication. In this collection, the philosopher offers a remarkable series of spiritual reflections and exercises developed by the emperor as he struggled to understand himself and make sense of life and the universe. 

It is in his meditations that he notes his daily routine that he believes to be part of his process towards a disciplined and healthy life and part of this routine has the famed reflective process of his night time routine of meditation, contemplation, day reviews, and suggestions of exercise and objective evaluation. 


In this blog post, we have discussed the Marcus Aurelius nighttime routine or what is now commonly referred to as the Marcus Aurelius nighttime ritual. We have also discussed who Marcus Aurelius was and his contributions to the world. 


Marcus Aurelius Night Time Routine. Centerfroworklife. Retrieved on 30th November 2021. https://centerforworklife.com/emotional-intelligence/marcus-aurelius-nighttime-routine/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Marcus Aurelius Nighttime Routine

How do I start practicing stoicism?

Here are some ways to start practicing Stoicism today:

  • Stand Your Ground. 
  • Imagine The Worst That Could Happen.
  • Be responsible for Your Happiness. 
  • Stay Focused When Confronted With Distractions.
  • Develop An Internal Locus Of Control.
  • Take Care of Your Time.
  • Consolidate Your Thoughts In Writing. 
  • Toss Away Ego And Vanity. 

How do I start the day?

To start the day right, you can do the following things:

  • Wake Up Early. 
  • Think positive when you wake up and smile
  • Make Your Bed.
  • Brush Your Teeth and Scrape Your Tongue. 
  • Drink Warm Water With Lemon. 
  • Do some stretches. 
  • Meditate.
  • Eat a Healthy Breakfast.

How do I wake up early Marcus Aurelius?

To wake up early like Marcus Aurelius, you should make sure you go to bed early and listen to this advice from Marcus Aurelius himself:

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

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