Published on December 15, 2019

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea, Imagery by Madeline Montoya

We spend a third of our lives asleep—that means our bedroom is the most lived-in space in our home. 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. 

If you’re the founder of a massively successful bedding (and beyond) brand, chances are you know a thing or two about making bedtime feel like the most luxurious part of your day. That’s true of Parachute’s Ariel Kaye—who launched her company in 2014 and has since expanded the collection to include everything from bath accessories to baby bedding to, most recently, sleepwear. Now as the mother of a baby daughter, Lou, she has evolved her nighttime routine so that the whole household winds down together.

As soon as Kaye arrives home from work, she maximizes her family time but also makes sure to give herself much-needed R&R, too. Here, the busy new mom shares her strategy for slowing down, being present, and making even the little moments a chance to recharge.

Baby first: These days, I try to get home by 6:30 p.m., that way I can feed my daughter dinner and play with her a bit. She goes to bed by 7:30, so it’s a short window where I really just focus on her. I sing to her and I get her in a pajama jumpsuit—I love all things Rylee + Cru! Its pj’s are so soft and made incredibly well. I know people say this all the time, but I really wish they came in my size.

Mood lighting: Lou’s room has blackout curtains, and I also dim the lights to make it kind of dark and moody. My husband and I read a few books to her, I give her a bottle, I rock her, and then she goes to sleep! I really love being home for bedtime and just staring at her sweet little face—and then I look at photos of her all day long.

Sound on: In the nursery, we have a Hatch sound machine that I turn on right before lights-out to signal that it’s time to unwind. The different noises and light settings are very relaxing and always help Lou get to sleep. It’s something that I give as a gift to new-mom friends—and it’s the one thing I never leave home without when we travel. 

Workflow: Once Lou is asleep, I usually jump back online to catch up on any emails or anything that I didn’t get to finish for the day. But once that’s done, I try to put my phone away and don’t answer emails for the rest of the night. I start getting ready for bed by 8:30.

Stream time: I try to give myself some time to unwind, which often means watching TV. I just finished Fleabag and I started Modern Love and am catching up on Succession. I don’t watch much at this point, but there’s so much good TV on Netflix and Amazon! 

Wash it off: I take a warm shower. I’m obsessed with Nécessaire’s body wash in both the eucalyptus and sandalwood scents. I also love to have fresh eucalyptus in the shower—I suspend a branch from the showerhead and it makes the bathroom feel spa-like.

Skin saviors: Sometimes my nighttime skin routine is just taking off my makeup and washing my face with Biologique Recherche Lait U, but if I have the energy, I use a toner to get my face to its cleanest possible state. Then I apply Osea’s Essential Hydrating Oil, and on top of that I’ll add a deeper hydrating cream, like Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, and Caudalie’s Instant Detox Mask before bed. In the winter months especially, I make sure my skin is super-hydrated, so I’m pretty liberal with the amount of products that I use.

Instant zen: I started drinking Calm magnesium powder while I was pregnant, and I’ve continued doing so. I drink it warm before bed, and it has the same effect as taking a shower. There’s something about feeling warm that really has an impact on your body’s ability to relax and start getting into a calmer state. I bring the powder with me when I travel, too—it really does the trick. 

Aromatherapy: I’m sensitive to fragrances and very particular about what I light in my home. I’ll burn palo santo in the evening—it’s good for clearing energy—and I light our Salt Water candle, which has a beachy scent. Dabbing lavender oil on my wrist or behind my neck is also instantly soothing.

Bedside essentials: I have an analog clock on my nightstand because I like to keep my phone away from the bed. I always have a glass of water, some lip balm, and a book or two, depending on what I’m reading (nonfiction and memoirs are my favorite). Sometimes I like to have dried flowers—things that don’t need to be refreshed as often but look great. I try to make sure that area stays clutter-free.

Best bed: I’m currently sleeping with our Cloud Cotton sheets and duvet cover. The material is cool to the touch but also feels buttery soft, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to sleep on anything else again. I layer on our essential quilt, and I have a half dozen pillows on the bed—I really love pillows. 

Then it’s lights-out by 10 p.m.!

See more nighttime routines:
Spicy Homemade Tea Helps Diaspora Co.’s Founder Chill Out at Night
Actress Zazie Beetz Goes Down a YouTube Rabbit Hole Every Evening
Maude Founder Éva Goicochea Has a Pajama Problem