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—even when we’re on the go.
“I’ve been traveling more over the past decade than I ever have before,” says Lupita Nyong’o. “It’s given me a lot of time to try different things.” One constant: Whether the actress and children’s book author is vacationing in Benin (with the help of her Delta SkyMiles American Express card) or flying out for a shoot (she’s been filming HBO Max’s upcoming miniseries Americanah), she prioritizes maximum sleep (and minimal stress).
While Nyong’o is admittedly a natural at dozing off on planes, she’s picked up a few strategies that help her stay relaxed, even when turbulence hits. Here, she shares how she keeps calm on the go.
Fancy feet: The first thing I do is take off my walking shoes and put on my flat shoes, which are foldable, from a brand called Cocorose. They’re lovely because they’re easy to slip on and off—they make moving around the plane that much more efficient—and comfortable to sleep in. And although I love the ones they give you on the plane, I also have compression socks.
Hydrating heroes: Moisturizing is a crucial part of my routine, so I’ll put on Lancôme’s Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask either on the flight or beforehand—it’s deeply hydrating. My eyes dry out really easily in the air, so I also always have eye drops.
Think nice thoughts: I practice radical acceptance as soon as I arrive at the airport—there’s only so much you can do. I’ll often listen to the Calm app before takeoff, which I think is the most unnerving time. But whenever I experience travel stress—delays, cancellations—I just meditate my way through it.
Sweater weather: I have an oversize sweater I picked up on a recent trip to London—it’s like wearing a blanket. I collect slacks and hoodies that are comfortable and not staticky. But I get cold easily, so I add on another blanket and a scarf.
Tune in: I like to listen to podcasts on flights with my JBL headphones—I enjoy This American Life, Super Soul Conversations, and Ear Hustle.
Crunch time: I bring my own food on the plane. My favorite snack is Chevda from Kenya. Americans would say it’s similar to Chex Mix, but it’s way better than that—it’s deep-fried potatoes with peanuts and spices.
Jet-lag strategy: I wash my feet in green tea or Epsom salts when I arrive, which I learned to do from a reflexologist. I also lay upside down with my legs in the air for a good 10 to 15 minutes to help circulate my blood. I don’t know how to train myself to go to bed at the right time—whenever I feel tired, I go to sleep.
Pack up: I’m an anxious overpacker. I roll, I fold, I use organizers to divide things—I do it all. It’s one thing to pack your stuff, it’s another to be able to smartly unpack.
Take a sip: Lemon-ginger, rooibos, and hibiscus are my core three teas.
Catch z’s: Whether I’m landing during the day or at night, I make sure that I sync up as best as possible. I either front-load or back-load my sleep, depending on where I’m going.
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