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Ray Dalio’s meditation teacher on the 'game changer' tweak he made to daily his routine

Bob Roth has been teaching meditation to successful entrepreneurs like Ray Dalio, Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow for more than 45 years. 

And while people typically come to him to learn Transcendental Meditation to improve their lives, he says he's learned a few things from his clients, too.

For one thing, Roth, 69, says he's noticed a common habit among his super successful clientele.

"I happen to teach a lot of CEOs of companies and these people go to bed early," Roth tells CNBC Make It. "It's amazing." 

Roth says he's learned that many high-performers go to bed around 8 or 9 p.m. and get up as early as 4:30 to 5 a.m. So, Roth decided to try the schedule himself.

For Roth, who used to wake up at 6:30 a.m., waking up at 4:30 a.m. was a fairly small shift, but "it's been a game changer," he says.

"When I go to bed early, it's like having a 26-hour day."

While there is no scientific evidence that getting up early directly affects success, research does show that getting enough sleep leads to higher productivity (and sleep deficiency is a productivity killer, according to multiple studies). Research has also shown that a consistent sleep schedule isimportant when it comes to academic performance.

For Roth, getting up before dawn gives him time to exercise, meditate, eat breakfast and write without distraction.

"It's always the simple stuff like getting enough sleep, doing moderate exercise, eating a healthy diet and meditating that works" for reducing stress, Roth says. "It's not rock science."

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Roth says he has seen an uptick of people — including executives — seeking to learn meditation.

"One of the biggest causes of stress is a feeling that you have no control over your life or the future," he says. And meditation is a proven stress reliever.

As the CEO of The David Lynch Foundation, in addition to famous clients, Roth has also taught TM to thousands of veterans and people in underserved communities. TM is a form of meditation in which practitioners repeat a mantra for 20 minutes, twice a day. It is a proprietary practice taught only by certified teachers through a four-day course, which is available on a sliding-scale and costs between $380 and $960.

Ray Dalio in particular, has been very vocal in crediting his TM practice as "the single most important reason" for his success.

"It is certainly the greatest gift I can give anyone, and Bob Roth is certainly the best expert/teacher on it I know," Ray Dalio wrote in a Facebook post in 2018.

While Roth also credits TM for his own success, he says most people practice it because they want to be healthier, happier and be more productive at home and work. (Multiple studies on TM have found it may reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure.)

Even CEOs "come in with their partners [and] their kids. They want to do it with their family," Roth says.

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