Published on October 20, 2019

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Photography by Meghan McNeer | Imagery by Madeline Montoya

We spend a third of our lives asleep—that means our bedroom is the most lived-in space in our homes. It’s the room where we start and end our days, and that’s why the rituals that happen there are extra-important. In The Wind Down, we’ll be exploring the nighttime routines of people we admire and taking their advice to make the moments just before bed feel our best.

Erin Hiemstra begins her day with a personal wake-up call from her 4-year-old and it’s off to the races. She gets him prepped for school and out the door; brings her French bulldog, Luna, to puppy play; and then she’s back home to check email. And she does this all by 10 a.m. 

The founder of lifestyle site Apartment 34 splits her time between the freelance life and restoring her historic Victorian in Bayview, an up-and-coming neighborhood in San Francisco. What with drop-offs, meetings, cramming in a yoga class, and scouting for her home, Hiemstra’s days are chock-full of to-dos. Come nighttime, though, she’s all about total R&R—including attempting to kick her Instagram habit in favor of some journaling. “There are probably plenty of things I should do to prepare for the next day, but I don’t,” she says. “Luna typically snuggles up with me, and then I’m out the moment my head hits the pillow.” Below, Hiemstra takes us through her full routine.

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Photography by Meghan McNeer

Skin saviors: As I close out my 30s, I’ve gotten very stringent about skin care. I prioritize clean beauty products. I use a good moisturizing cleanser, followed by a serum. Then I’ll either use face oil or an oxygen cream. I do a mask before bed at least once a week—depending on my skin’s mood that week, it’ll either be a moisturizing or clarifying one.

Breathe easy: We had construction workers coming in and out, tracking in dirt and using paints and adhesives with strong smells that would linger. After living in a construction zone for years—and currently being in the middle of renovating our house’s exterior, which is like living in a dustbin—I had to do something about the air. I love my Dyson purifier because it captures dust and odors while purifying the air in my home.

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Photography byMeghan McNeer
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Small sips: I usually have a cup of peppermint tea before bed. It soothes the stomach, helps with digestion, and is just overall calming. 

Perfect pj’s: I’m a sweats-and-an-old-tee kinda gal. I usually turn to my collection of old sweatpants—I even have a pair from my high school track days—and my husband’s soft, worn T-shirts. 

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Photography by Meghan McNeer

Sheet count: Over the years I’ve embraced a really minimal bed setup. All those extra decorative pillows just end up on the floor. I love linen sheets—they’re crisp in the summer and keep you warm in the winter.

Deep breaths: I’m trying to start a kundalini yoga practice in the evening, before my typical skin-care regimen. It’s a restorative, slow, and deliberate variation of yoga that focuses on opening and deep meditation. In short, it really helps you unwind from the day. 

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Photography by Meghan McNeer

Off the grid: I’m desperately trying to cut back on screen time before bed, although my Real Housewives addiction has been tough to break. After staring at screens all day, the Dyson Lightcycle’s transition to a warm light really helps me wind down. I have a strict no-electronics-in-the-bedroom rule, too, although my husband does not adhere to it so well. I have a time-out on all my apps so I can’t log into them after 9 p.m. At that point, my phone is on night mode and charging in a separate room. 

Written word: On my nightstand, I have a collection of crystals and a journal to jot down any of those last-second, brilliant thoughts you have right before you fall asleep.  

Sound effects: I’m a big fan of sound machines and blackout curtains. Occasionally I’ll do a tincture or spritz a little lavender, but nothing dramatic. I love to sleep, and I’m a good sleeper.

Lights-out at 10:30 p.m.!

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Photography by Meghan McNeer

See more nighttime routines:
Spicy Homemade Tea Helps Diaspora Co.’s Founder Chill Out at Night
Makeup Artist Katie Jane Hughes Spends 3 Minutes on Her Nightly Skin Care
Of Course, the Nue Co.’s Founder Has the Most Relaxing Bedtime Routine