Published on April 19, 2020

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Photography by Kayla Rocca

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.

“The difference between ritual and routine is your awareness and intention in doing it,” says Jenn Tardif. So to call the practices she moves through before bed a routine wouldn’t be totally accurate. As the founder of wellness brand 3rd Ritual, she prefers small actions that help her disconnect from her phone, focus her mind, and take a moment to prioritize her self-care, whether that’s through a candle-gazing meditation or a bit of breathwork.

It was when she became a mother a year and a half ago that she seriously started to consider the way she was ending her day. “My daughter’s sleep is truly dictated by whether or not we perform a series of small acts before we put her down,” she says. “So I’ve tried to mimic those for myself.” Here, she shares all the tiny ways she preps for shut-eye.

Family first: My husband and I give my daughter a bath every night and read her stories. Sometimes I rub her feet with our Moon or Earth cream to calm her down. Once it’s time for her to fall asleep, at 7:30 p.m., we put her down and play her little music box. 

Mental reset: After that, my husband and I have dinner and a glass of wine. Right now, because I don’t have child care, I do tend to work a lot at night—so it’s really important for me to have at least an hour before bed without screens. Otherwise, it can be a pretty intense juxtaposition to go from experiencing intense stimulation to trying to fall asleep. 

Skin saviors: My skin-care routine is very, very sparse. I wash my face with Cetaphil and use a cream by Pratima, which was created by an Ayurvedic doctor in Manhattan. Then I brush my teeth and sleep with a mouth guard. It’s the unsexiest nighttime routine, but it’s real and true.

Perfect pj’s: My favorite pajamas are a white linen set from Sleeper.

Inhale, exhale: I like to think about breathwork as a kind of bath for my mind—it really helps me with anxiety if I check in with myself; notice how I’m breathing and how my posture is; see where my mind is at; and try to slow down for a moment. 

Cell out: I keep my phone in a drawer in the kitchen, as far away from me as I can—I “put it to bed” at a certain point in the evening and don’t look at it until the next day. I rely on an old-school Braun alarm clock for the time.

Dear diary: I have a really simple journaling practice. I write a list of a few things—even really tiny, tangible things—to be grateful for. I always say that more gratitude equals more joy.

Best bed: We only use our bedroom for sleeping, and we’ve invested in purchases that help us to fully rest, like a big Purple mattress, a Wakayama bed frame, Snowe sheets, and a gray quilt from Matteo

Fire walk with me: Part of the teaching around trataka, candle-gazing meditation, is the notion that the flame mirrors the fluctuations in your mind. So on special occasions, I practice this by lighting our Bel candle. As the wax melts, a pin eventually falls and it sounds like a Tibeten singing bowl. It was important to me to not have a tether back to the phone—it’s not like you’re using a meditation app that would pull you back to all the notifications waiting for you. Sometimes, instead of meditating, I light the candle and write stream-of-consciousness until I hear the pin drop.

Required reading: I think of poetry as a form of spiritual text. The book that I’ve been reading lately is one that I’ve read many times—When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön. I’ve also been enjoying Things That Join the Sea and the Sky by Mark Nepo. 

Scent-sational: I rub our Earth cream into my hands—the natural oils of our skin helps to bring the essential oils forward, so it works as aromatherapy. I make a little cuplike shape with my hands and breathe in and breathe out a few times. That’s a practice called palm inhalation. It’s a good way to descend into slumber.

Lights-out at 11 p.m.

See more stories like this:
Saie’s Founder Keeps Calm With a Nightly Gratitude Practice
Busy Philipps Didn’t Even Sit on Her Mattress Before Buying It
Naomi Shimada Is Reinstalling a Landline for Better Sleep

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