POPSUGAR's How Does She Sleep at Night takes a peek under the covers of admirable women's wind-down routines to reveal their nightstand staples, sleep schedules, and dream lives.
Mandana Dayani has worked as a corporate lawyer, VP at Rachel Zoe, TV producer, and activist — and that's not even the full rundown of her impressive resume. So when I spoke to her on Zoom recently, it wasn't a surprise to learn she spent a lot of her early working life running on fumes. "I used to be like, 'Of course I'll get on a red-eye. Don't worry, I'll be there. I'll go straight to the office from the red-eye.' What were we thinking?!" Like so many ambitious young women, it took Dayani some growing up to realise her relentless work schedule was no longer working for her. "I realised, I think, once I was in my 30s, that that was just not sustainable and I was really getting sick," she said. "I would have repeated ulcers. I had so many different health issues that were happening."
These days, Dayani's work is no less demanding. In addition to cofounding I am a voter. — a nonpartisan campaign to spark civic engagement and increase voter participation — she also cohosts the politically minded podcast The Dissenters with Debra Messing. The difference is that now, the mother of two is more intentional about protecting her health and well-being, and that includes her sleep routine: "I'm pretty aggressive about being in bed by 10:30."
So how does Dayani juggle kids' bedtime, the always-on news cycle, and I am a voter.'s latest efforts to mobilize people around local elections? Read on to find out:
Taking a Pause for Gratitude
Dyani said putting her 7-year-old and 3-year-old to bed can be a "longer ordeal" than she and her husband intend. But even on nights when the bedtime struggle is real, they maintain a family ritual. "We always ask before we go to bed that each of us say one act of kindness that we did that day, one thing that we're grateful for, and who we send good wishes to," she told me. "Now our daughter is thinking about doing acts of kindness during the day so she can be excited about what she can tell us at night. And it's a really simple way for us to connect and remind each other like, 'You made me breakfast this morning.'
Eye Mask FTW
Dayani's husband likes to be up with the sun — her, not so much. "This is the friction point in my marriage," she joked. "He likes to leave the curtains open, so I use this Lunya eye mask ($48) when I sleep. It's kind of foamy and has this silk on top, which is really soft."
Indulging in Some Luxury Skincare
"I have the most sensitive skin," Dayani said. "So I use iS Clinical ($44) to clean my face, and then I use Biba Cream Barrier ($95). She's the best facialist ever. My friend, Shilpa Shah [who cofounded] Cuyana, she sent me the La Prairie White Caviar line, which I didn't know existed. She sent that to me as a self-care thing. The packageing is so exquisite and insane. But I started using that and I felt such a difference in the moisture that my skin felt."
No More Murder Shows
Dayani has always had a soft spot for true crime, but she found her tastes for pre-snooze entertainment have shifted. "There was a very long period where I was watching every British serial killer crime show and Criminal Minds. And then, when the pandemic happened, I couldn't watch any of that stuff. I switched to every rom-com on the planet." Lately, Dayani is closing out the day with reality TV and old, comforting favourites like West Wing: "I could fall asleep to it every single night."
The Supplement She Swears By
"I take Seed Probiotics ($50), which I could not recommend more highly to everyone. I used to have a lot of gut health issues, and since I started taking Seed two years ago, I felt the biggest difference," Dayani said. "It's a prebiotic and a probiotic. It takes a couple of months, but you will genuinely feel a significant difference. I would not oversell."
Light a Candle and Make a List
Dayani's nightstand is stocked with her favourite Anine Bing pure noir candle ($59), Necessaire hand cream ($20), and Joanna Vargas face masks ($17). "Once in a while — like when I get into bed and I feel like I have a little bit of time, and I'm really excited and I want to write something — I will put on a face mask and do that." Speaking of writing, she always keeps a notebook and a trusty TUL pen ($17 for 12) by her bedside.
Dayani finds list-making at night helps clear her brain of anything she needs to tackle the next day, but also uses her writing time to reflect on her thoughts. "One of my best friends is Sophia Bush, and she gave me a notebook when she launched her podcast," Dayani said. "It's the perfect notebook and it says, 'Work in progress,' which is the name of her podcast, but also literally feels like me as a human. That is my most secret notebook, so I write my most important things in there."