Spicy Homemade Tea Helps Diaspora Co.’s Founder Chill Out at Night
An episode of The Bachelor doesn't hurt either.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:55 AM
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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.
When you’ve started your own business from the ground up, worked out a way to ensure farmers get paid a living wage for their work, and just generally disrupted an industry—and you’re still in your mid-20s—it’s important you take the time you need for a bit of R and R. So Mumbai native Sana Javeri Kadri, who founded spice brand Diaspora Co., figured out how to make her evenings as efficient as possible so she could maximize her time in bed. “I’m one of those weird people who needs between eight to 10 hours of sleep every night,” she says.
At home in Oakland, California, Kadri decompresses with healthy homemade meals, books, the occasional CBD bath, and a nice walk with her partner and their pit bull. Below, she lets us in on her full routine.
Food first: My partner, Rosie, and I usually eat dinner around 8 p.m., which is when I grew up eating dinner in Mumbai. When I first moved to the U.S.—now seven years ago—I was horrified that people could eat as early as 5:30! That’s snack time! We try to cook most nights. She’s a grad student and an athlete, and I’m a business owner, so it’s usually a low-budget, hearty vegetarian meal, with a side of athlete-required chicken thighs or ground beef. Lots of stews, rice bowls, and pasta nights in this household—gluten-free carbs forever!
Walk the dog: We just started some serious dog training for our pit bull pup, so we’ve been trying to get in a 30-minute walk together around the neighborhood after dinner. It’s been such a nice way for us to debrief and unwind at the end of the day, instead of just zoning out watching a show—our guilty pleasure is the entire Bachelor franchise. I don’t take my phone with me, which is a relief from the all-day use, and I also just love how post-meal strolls make my tummy feel.
Teatime: If I’m feeling a little bloated, or just craving something soothing before bed, especially when I’m wired from being in front of a screen all day, I make a really potent spiced tea. It’s primarily cinnamon and ginger (get this tea bag cut!), with a couple cardamom pods and a dash of turmeric (obviously). I usually let the spices boil in 1 1/2 cups of water until it reduces and gets really spicy. Sometimes I jump in the shower while it’s boiling, and then sweeten it with buckwheat honey after. I’m not always a nighttime showerer since my hair doesn’t dry well if I sleep on it wet, but sometimes the mix of that and tea is the only thing that’ll calm my anxiety.
Light bites: My naughty nighttime snack is frozen dumplings, especially if I’m up working past my bedtime. I keep a stash of gluten-free frozen ones (Fafa Dumplings are my favorite) on hand at all times and have been caught eating a half dozen straight out of the pan around 11 more often than I care to admit. We also recently purchased a popcorn machine, so Diaspora’s popcorn recipe is on deck every Monday night when a new episode of The Bachelor comes on. And here’s a hack: Did you know that popcorn stays perfectly crispy in the fridge?! Genius.
Natural relief: I broke a vertebra in 2016, and managing the pain that comes with it has become a big part of my life. If I’m having a particularly stiff or painful day, I’ll rub some clove oil on my back—I highly recommend it for all muscle soreness! It works better than most CBD creams for me. But if the pain is really bad, I’ll run myself a CBD bath. I probably do one of Kush Queen’s CBD bath bombs per month. Going to bed with relaxed, warm muscles is the best feeling.
Skin saviors: In the past year, I’ve adopted what I would consider an “Adult AF” skin-care routine. After years of using nothing more than a bar of soap on my face and calling it a day, I’m proud of the research I’ve done and how far I’ve come! The bulk of my regimen is from Haldi Skin; it has gotten me hooked on the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser. It makes pores disappear and the strawberry scent is addictive and not cloying at all. I started using Curology’s custom nighttime cream for my acne about two years ago, and with a few tweaks to the formulation by my dermatologist, we’ve really got it locked down now. I swear by it.
Oil up: If I’m going swimming or washing my hair the next day, I’ll usually apply plenty of Everyday Oil (I also rub this into my elbows, hands, and heels!). I grew up getting coconut oil head massages at home every Sunday, so oiling my hair is just normal hair care for me. I swear it’s what keeps my hair so thick.
Perfect pj’s: I buy all my pajamas in India from Frangipani. I started buying its block-printed cotton ones for my nieces and nephews because they’re so soft, breathable, and colorful, but once I discovered the women’s section, I’ve been hooked. I usually buy three to four sets every couple years. Bonus: The company ships internationally!
Off the grid: I do bring my phone to bed with me and plug it in on my nightstand, but I’ve recently disabled all notifications, and that’s really helped in how often I’m checking the darn thing. I definitely try not to look at my email, WhatsApp, or business apps after 10—that’s a surefire way to wind me up and leave me an anxious mess.
Best time: We recently got a new bed, mattress, and sheets, because I realized that for the past seven years I’d slept on hand-me-down mattresses, and with a chronic injury like mine, that’s just ridiculous. I have to say that switching to In Bed’s linen sheets has made me very spoiled. I love the material and miss them when I’m away! They’re a sexy charcoal gray, with an elegant striped duvet cover. I feel very grown-up slipping into them every night.
Mask on: The one thing I keep at my bedside at all times is a nice sleep mask. Our house is really bright, even with the blinds down, so some days I’ll grab it around 5 a.m. and it allows me to get two and a half more hours of glorious blackout sleep, which I’m eternally grateful for.
Well read: I have a big stack of books next to my bed at all times and am a super-fast reader, so some nights, if I’ve got a late start the next morning, I can read an entire novel. I’ve been reading only fiction by women of color this year, and it’s been amazing. My favorite is America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo. I do love spending a few nights with the latest issues of Bon Appétit and Food & Wine when they come out each month and bookmarking my favorite recipes. I also collect cookbooks, so before bed, I’ll go through a new one and stake out what I’m going to make from it.
Lights-out by 10:30 p.m.—or 11 if she’s absorbed in her book.
See more nighttime routines: Golde Founder Trinity Mouzon Wofford Ends Her Workday at 5 p.m.—For Good Reason How the Sisters Behind Brooklyn’s Coolest Laundromat Get Ready for Bed L.A.’s Coolest Doula, Erica Chidi Cohen, Winds Down With Audiobooks and Palo Santo