Chef Sophia Roe’s Nighttime Routine Starts at 6:30 p.m.
She’s a very good sleeper.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:23 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 different nighttime routines of people we admire and taking their advice to make the moments just before bed a time to feel our best.
Sophia Roe wants you to feel your best. As a self-proclaimed “food and feelings advocate,” the classically trained chef has built a following thanks to her approachable nutrition expertise, covetable style, and down-to-earth advice on everything from intimacy to ingredients. Wellness, for her, doesn’t end when she steps out of the kitchen.
After a busy day of cooking, farmers market shopping, and speaking on her expertise, Roe’s nighttime routine begins—almost as soon as she gets home. Below, she shares her favorite midnight snack, ideal pillow configuration, and more.
But first, sweats: Whenever my day is over, I am in sweats. I always make jokes about it on Instagram because there are all these funny influencer people that always just look amazing and dressed up and—I’m like, who are these people? How are you comfortable?! I need to be comfortable or I’m not doing it. Especially in the winter. It’s cold, so I’m not trying to elevate in any other way.
Rinse and repeat: I’m an evening shower person. I cannot get into bed without an evening shower, which I take before I go through my skincare routine.
Mirror-free zone: “[If] I’m not doing anything that night, my skincare routine starts well before it’s time for bed. So usually that happens around 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. and that’s the first thing.
“I don’t do my skincare at all in front of the mirror. I only have one mirror in my house, actually. I’m a big mirror detox person—anything you do in front of the mirror makes it about the mirror. Not about the practice of doing your skincare. So the reason I start my skincare so early is, for me, it feels good to rub serum into my face. I massage my face. It’s much more of an experience. Less about, Are my dark circles better yet? You’re not just staring and waiting for it to be fixed.”
Skin saviors: “Right now, my skin is dry, so I’m using the Kahina Oil Cleanser. That’s my jam right now. Then, I go straight from there to hyaluronic acid because that’s moisture and that’s what we’re here for. For my steps, I do them from thinnest to thickest in terms of formula. Right after that, I go into rose water. It kind of just feels nice—I use this brand called Surreal Skincare. It has a product called Cheat Death that has changed my skin like 1000 percent. I’m a hyperpigmentation sufferer, so I use that every single night, and then from there, I use the Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. Then, the one sort of goopy thing I put on my face that I feel like makes a difference is the Origins Dark Spot Correcting Night Mask. Those have been consistent nighttime game changers. I’m always trying new things, but those are always a part of it.”
Buh-bye blue light: “It’s kind of hard sometimes, but I have a ‘no phone in the bedroom after 8 p.m.’ rule. It’s more like that. You have to train people to know that’s how to work. If you’re constantly answering emails at 10 p.m., people are going to also send them to you at 10 p.m., and I don’t respond to those. I don’t respond to emails in all caps, I don’t respond to “Urgent” in the subject line—you don’t get to destroy my nerves unless I say you do. I’m a big email etiquette person. I shut down after 6 p.m. If you think you’re going to get a response, it’s not going to happen.”
Relaxing ritual: “Tonight is a night where I’ll be like one of those candlelit situations where I’ll stretch and have a good cry, a good meditation moment. It doesn’t happen all the time, obviously, but I love a good cry. I have one about three to four times a month, and people think that that’s sad, but that’s just feeling your feelings, and I think that that’s healthy. That only happens in the evening—I never would start my day like that. The right song will make anybody cry, so you put on that playlist and you let yourself have those moments. I’m in the business where people just want to feel good all the time, but there’s no growth there.”
Go-to reading material: “Fiction all the way. I’m a Harry Potter or bust baby. I’m not trying to read self-help—the only way I can help anybody is if I’m helping myself, and that’s not by reading that stuff all the time. A lot of it can be the same stuff if you don’t give yourself the space to develop your own language when it comes to how you help someone. I love The Art of Gathering—that was a really beautiful book. It was such a good read that wasn’t fiction but also is not really self-help. But at the same time, I love White Girls and A Little Life and The Gift. I love just regular old fiction. A Little Life is a crazy book. It’s like a movie. That kind of thing gets me going. I want to write books that do that to people.”
A cup of tea: “Then, 10 p.m. is bedtime. I’m a great sleeper—no one likes hearing that, but I feel like I don’t have problems sleeping. But if there’s a night where I’m trying to stay up a little later because I’m trying to watch a movie or if I need to get some writing done, I’ll have some milk thistle tea. I have it every time I need to be up a little bit later. I just have it plain, no stevia, no milk, no nothing, and that just kind of helps keep me awake but still kind of winds me down because I don’t want to be too wired. It’s a hard balance when you want to work a little late but don’t want to be wired up late.”
Ideal bedspread: “So many blankets. All the blankets. A down comforter, two top sheets—more is more. Only one pillow because I’ve got all the hair, but I also have a pillow between my legs. I’m a big between-the-legs pillow person. And I like to be next to the wall. I have white sheets, but I’m down for a print—I might say print in the future for me.”
Bedside table necessity: “Some of my really good ideas happen to me right before I’m about to sleep, and I always keep a journal close to my bed and make myself really aware of it. I always kind of consciously look at my pen and look at my pad. People are like, Doesn’t it keep you awake when you get an idea in your head? No! When your body is right about to be turned off, sometimes certain little things will pop into my mind that I hadn’t thought of: a person I need to make sure I reach out to, a thing I forgot to do. I make sure to note those things. For me, that almost-asleep time seems to be a really good moment for me creatively. So I want to give myself a quick way to jot something down then go to sleep. I would say about four to five times a week that happens.”
Go-to playlist: I love to get a little weird sometimes with Philip Glass when I want to feel sad—we all have those moments where we want to be sad. Maybe because I’m a Scorpio, I’m kind of in my feelings. I’ll listen to like Brian Eno records or like some Talking Heads, but I’m definitely a music girl. I could fall asleep with the headphones in and a playlist going. I don’t need it to help me sleep, but it is a part of my sleep sometimes.
Favorite midnight snack: I could eat an entire bowl of popcorn at night. Actually, I probably will soon. Approved! Just popcorn—any kind of popcorn. I don’t care what’s on it.