In our new series Sleeping With… SELF talks to successful people from different career paths, backgrounds, and stages of life to find out how they make sleep magic happen.
There are few multihyphenates like Keke Palmer. She got her big break as a child star—she played the titular lead in Akeelah and the Bee; had her own Nickelodeon sitcom, True Jackson, VP, about the teenage vice president of a fashion company who precedes the #girlboss movement by a solid decade; and worked alongside icons including Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton in the films Barbershop 2 and Joyful Noise. And who can forget the 2007 radio hit “Bottoms Up?” (Surely, not us.)
Today, Palmer hasn’t slowed down one bit. The actor-singer-television-personality-philanthropist starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers and, as of August 2019, became a permanent cohost on the lunchtime hour of Good Morning America alongside Michael Strahan and Sara Haines in GMA3: Strahan, Sara & Keke. Palmer lives in New York City, where a typical week consists of 5:15 a.m. workouts, 6:30 a.m. call times, and plenty of postwork events.
“I’ve seen my relationship with sleep change,” Palmer tells SELF. “Four or five years ago, it was like, ‘Who cares? I'm going to get some sleep when I can.’ But in the last two years, it has become absolutely important that I get at least six hours of sleep, that I go to bed at a specific time, and that I have some consistency with that. Not even just from the beauty standpoint, but literally for me to not be tired, uncomfortable, and irritated all day. I just want to enjoy what I'm doing [at GMA] as much as I can, and I realized how essential sleep really is in that.” Read more on what it’s like to sleep with Palmer, below.
On her shower routine
When I'm getting ready for bed, the first thing I do is shower. My winter saving grace product would have to be the Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash—I've been continually using it, and it's really helped me as the weather changes. I use a loofah, as far as my wash routine goes. I shave my legs twice a week, and I usually brush my teeth with a Colgate toothbrush in the shower.
I wash my face with either something from the dermatologist or something I'm trying out. I mostly do facials to make sure my skin is good, and I don't go too crazy with products, but I do moisturize with Tata Harper.
On “beautiful clutter” and setting the mood
After I shower I light a bunch of candles. I'm really big on fragrance. I love the room to be smelling good and calming. I just got the Alexandra Winbush fall set. She makes really, really great candles—I always have them around. Then, [because] I'm very particular, everything has to be put away. So I make sure everything is put away and then I pretty much turn the light out.
I would say I’m nitpicky about everything. Everything needs to be where it's supposed to be, and I need any pieces on the floor picked up. Any clothes, I at least put them in the hamper, and if there's something I need to leave out, I leave it folded on the top of the drawer, and I get the garbage out of here. My closet—I try to make sure that's neat. I don't like when stuff looks too cluttered. I like pretty clutter, like beautiful clutter, but I don't like “This looks out of place” clutter.
On her journaling practice
I like to journal and I try to do it every single night. It might not be every single night because I might’ve had to do something [earlier], and I want to get to bed early, but I try to always write down two things that supported me throughout the day. I guess, in my mind, it’s trying to discover in the everyday the gratitude you have. Whether it was someone who smiled at you or whether it was good advice someone gave or even somebody just bringing you a coffee in the morning, writing down what supported me that day and how I'm thankful for it is something I always try to do.
On what she googles before bed
At about 10:15, I get in bed, and that's if it's going according to plan. I would say that happens at least three times out of the week. I get [in bed] by 10:15 or so, and I'm chilling, I'm vibed out, and hopefully, I get to sleep at 10:45 or 11:00.
I definitely am on my phone [before bed]. I'm one of those people where I might not be on social media, but I’ll still be googling something or searching something. I mean, I'm really definitely a search engine person. Sometimes I'll put in questions and I'll end up going down a Reddit black hole, looking at all types of stuff. I'm into [social media] too, but I think I more often do other things. I might even be playing Diner Dash.
What was I just looking at yesterday? Oh my gosh. I don't know if you've seen this, but it's this video of Future where he's like, “She belongs to the streets.” It's this really stupid video, but it was really funny. He's extremely meme-able. Me and my friends will be talking about all the things we've heard him say, so that's the last thing that I was googling.
I watch reality shows a lot of the time, so maybe I'll put on a reality show. I really love Temptation Island, and I watch Love & Hip Hop and Real Housewives. My favorite one currently is Temptation Island. It's getting ready to come to an end, but girl, it's so good.
On the perfect bedtime environment
I have a Honeywell humidifier. I don't like any sound, and I like it to be pitch-black aside from my candles. I always love my candles on.
One thing I hate is having to get up to go to the bathroom, or get up to do anything. So I make sure that I use the bathroom before I go to bed, but outside of that, I also make sure that the temperature's right, because the last thing I want to do is have to get up and change the temperature. Oh my gosh—I hate when it gets too hot. I'll stick my hand underneath my Ralph Lauren pillow. It really will cool you down. That helps sometimes if I get too hot.
I sleep with a big velvet duvet cover from Urban Outfitters. My bed is Urban Outfitters everything. They're my favorites—Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, totally obsessed. I also have a nook, and it's all Urban and Anthropologie stuff vibe. It's the most peaceful, you can't even imagine. I mostly write over there. I write down comedy or ideas, and stuff like that. Outside of journaling and putting my thoughts down, I write just different things that might come into my head that I don't want to forget.
On having a blankie
When I travel, the one thing that I bring aside from my journal is my blanket. It's a fleece blanket—I got it from [Good Morning America]. This one in particular says, “I love you, I adore you.” But I always, always, always have a blanket. Now, I've had an unfortunate situation where I've lost a blanket before, but this one I've had since I started on GMA, five or six months ago. I get cold a lot, so I’ll bring it on the plane. I guess something about the blanket gives me a good feeling of “This is mine,” and “This comes with me,” and it's not a purse, or shoes, or a jacket. It's something that covers me, and has my back. Metaphorically speaking.
Keke Palmer’s Favorite Things:
Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash, $9, Amazon
Colgate 360 Total Advanced Toothbrush, $3, Amazon
Tata Harper Reparative Moisturizer, $116, Tata Harper
Alexandra Winbush Changing of the Colors candle, $18, Alexandra Winbrush
Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier, $63, Amazon
Lauren Ralph Lauren Down Alternative Pillow, $20, Macy's
Skye Velvet Duvet Comforter, $169, Urban Outfitters
Originally Appeared on SELF