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.
Mindy Matouk’s day-to-day routine is often nothing short of a whirlwind. As the creative director of luxe linen purveyor, Matouk, her days are long and hectic, frequently spent shuffling between her home in Providence, RI, company headquarters in Fall River, MA, and NYC, where the brand’s showroom is located. Somewhere in between all that, she manages to squeeze in pilates and quality time with her husband, three kids, and the family’s golden retriever, Aspen. Naturally, when it comes to bedtime, Matouk winds down like a pro. Ahead, she shares her nighttime regimen in full.
First things first: The girls usually have sports after school so we’ll get home around six. We eat dinner together every night, then, it’s on to homework. If we’re lucky, there’s time for some family TV—Modern Family is a favorite but Monday night football always gets priority. Then it’s upstairs for bed.
Heating up: I got an infrared sauna for my birthday a year or two ago. It’s warm and super-relaxing. I add a eucalyptus spray that really helps, too. It usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. If I can use it four times a week, especially in the winter, that would be a dream.
Calm waters: I read an interview with Tom Ford, who takes baths constantly, and he said, “Why do anything standing up that you can do lying down?” and I can’t agree more!
To prepare, I wrap my hair in our Kiran towels instead of a t-shirt because it’s super gentle on my strands. For the water, I’ll add in Epson salt, which I buy by the case, sheets of dried seaweed, and mustard powder, which is a really old-fashioned thing that’s making a comeback. When I add the seaweed to the mustard powder and salts, the bath begins to smell like the ocean. My husband jokes that I have a chemistry lab going on in there.
I do everything in the tub: I brush my teeth, wash my face, and linger in the warm water as long as possible. My family has declared the bathtub as my second office. Everybody’s coming in; we’re planning the next day and we’re doing our nighttime thing. After, I’ll dry off with our fluffy Cairo towels.
Well-read: Reading is my favorite thing to do in the world. I just read Curtis Sittenfeld’s short stories and Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, which was amazing. Lately, I’ve been enjoying shorter reads as well as poetry. I get frustrated if I start a book and then fall asleep midway through a chapter, but with short stories, you get the satisfaction of finishing something.
Stylish slumber: We have two euro shams, two king-sized, and two standard-sized pillows on our bed, but the shams get tossed the minute we climb in. Of course, it’s covered with Matouk linens! I had my favorite style, Olivia, custom-made on our aptly-titled Gatsby sheeting—it’s 1,000 thread-count Egyptian cotton, and incredibly luxurious. We’ve had this set for 15 years, and it’s usually on our bed.
I’m all about white sheets, but love a nice embroidered detail in a subtle hue. Having a dash of color on the bed makes all the difference, so we always layer on a warm coverlet on top in a cool hue. In the winters, I’ll layer on a throw, since the sheets can get chilly.
Deep breaths: I’ve done transcendental meditation in the past; unfortunately, I haven’t been able to stick with it—you’re supposed to do at least 20 minutes every morning and night. As a part of your training, you’re given a personal mantra that allows your mind to settle. If I have trouble sleeping or I wake up in the middle of the night, I repeat the mantra and it sorts of kicks everything else out of my head.
Nightstand essential: Next to the bed, I keep water, books, reading glasses, my phone and usually some type of candy. Right now, I have a purple box of Lord Jones CBD Blackcurrant Gumdrops. Not only do they satisfy my sweet tooth, but after I eat one, I kind of melt into a deep sleep.
Midnight cravings: I’m not a huge drinker, so you won’t catch me taking a glass of wine to bed, but I do carry a large bottle of Pellegrino around with me. As far as snacks go, I’m all about the sweets. I have little candies stashed around the house, like Red Hots and lemon drops.
Aromatherapy: I love candles. Frederic Malle is my favorite and it also happens to be my perfume. I’m currently burning Cafe Society, the smell is moody and perfect for nighttime.
Plugged In: I get the no-phones-in-the-bedroom thing, but I need it. I have kids and if they’re out or have a sleepover, I have to have it close so they can reach me.
Relaxing ritual: My husband, George, usually plays Sudoku in bed, while I read my short stories or The New York Times. Our dog, Aspen, is also there, of course. Then we fit in a game of Word Hunt. When I can’t go to sleep because my mind is in a thousand different places, I’ll play the game in my head. It helps me keep focused in one place and naturally soothes me.