With a dad like Deepak, you might expect Intent.com founder Mallika Chopra to be super hardcore about personal wellness.
But the author, entrepreneur, and mother is refreshingly human about the pursuit of holistic health and how tricky it can be to prioritize. It’s even the gist of her latest book, Living With Intent, which recognizes that modern life is messy and busy and yet somehow, there is a way to make time to do things like meditate, and search for deeper meaning.
Chopra takes a similarly chill-yet-still-totally-disciplined approach to sleep, making sure she gets plenty of ZZZs every night to set herself up for her more-than-full days. Here’s how she does it—and yes, meditation makes an appearance.
My bedtime: I have two kids—they’re 11 and 13—and I really try and have them asleep by 9:00 pm. I try and go to bed by 10:00 myself. I function best when I get eight or nine hours of sleep, and since I have to get up at 6:00 a.m., it’s necessary. I’ve always been a champion sleeper, but when I was younger I used to work very late at night, because I could sleep in later in the morning. Not anymore.
My pre-bed routine: The first part of my routine is definitely shaped around my family, and helping my kids get to bed. One of the nice things I get to do every night is take our dog for a walk—I get to clear my head, and get a little fresh air. Once the kids are in their room, I wash my face, brush my teeth, and read a little bit of a book. I use a specific reading light, because I don’t like reading on an iPad or Kindle—I find that light exposure doesn’t suit me at night.
My sleep environment: I like my bedroom to feel comfortable and cozy, and I believe that having a good pillow and sheets makes a huge difference, because it makes me actually want to get into bed, rather than stay up and do other things. I always wear the same kind of nightgown from India I’ve been wearing for years—it’s cotton and comfortable. I’m probably pretty attached to it.
My daytime, sleep-boosting secrets: So much of our ability to sleep comes from our daytime habits. I meditate, so that helps. Throughout my life, I’ve been an irregular meditator, but now I’m at a point where I do try and find 15 minutes a day—at least. When I do that, everything in my life is much more anchored, including my sleep.
I also pay attention to what I eat and drink. If I have a meal with heavy carbohydrates or that’s high in sugar late at night, I don’t sleep as well. I’ve also realized over the years that if I drink wine at night, it’s harder for me to sleep (though every once in a while, I will have a little Japanese whiskey).
My sleep tip: Prioritizing sleep really is a lifestyle choice. I try and think of it holistically and prepare for it throughout the day.