Mindy Kaling has figured out a way to get more than 24 hours out of her day. At least that’s how it seems given the actor-producer-writer-director has one of the busiest professional lives on the planet and a three-year-old and a six-month-old at home. Sleep is precious—if not scarce these days. “With my daughter, I obviously went through the whole thing of waking up every three hours to feed her,” Kaling says. “But what they say is true: You completely forget about that when you have another kid. I’m in the midst of that now [with my son].”
The result is that Kaling has gotten intimately familiar with what she calls the “murder zone.” “I’ve decided that the worst time I have to wake up and set the alarm is the one that’s between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.,” Kaling says. “It’s not the midnight to 3 a.m. time, which for whatever reason is fine. That feels like I’m in college—we stayed up late, we’ll go into the diner. But the 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. time is like the murder zone. Nothing good is happening at that time. It is the time when people get murdered. Waking up is like being ripped from the womb of sleep.”
Between the murderous 3 a.m. feedings and the fatigue-inducing effects of the pandemic we’re all coping with, Kaling has developed a new appreciation for rest. “We’re all in this paradoxical thing, which is that we have more time at home, but our sleep is worse because we’re all dealing with more low-level anxiety,” she says. To cope, she’s cutting stressors out of her life, and one way she is doing that is by partnering with myWalgreens to streamline her wellness experience. “I’m really choosy about who I do partnerships with, but honestly, I couldn’t have found one more uniquely suited to my needs,” she says. “I’m loving the pharmacy chat on the app—it’s been really a godsend for me and it’s been helping me mind my health and the health of my kids and give me more of a focus on wellness in an easy way.”
For more easy ways to focus on wellness, we asked Kaling how she gets a good night’s rest—even when she has to wake up during the murder zone.
The pillows that help me sleep…and work
I am one of those people who have about a million pillows on my bed because I do 95% of my writing from bed. Whether I’m writing a screenplay or writing essays or whatever it is, I don’t want to be leaning on the pillow that I sleep on. So I need there to be all these other big buffer pillows, these oversized, overstuffed pillows that I’m leaning on, that don’t mimic my sleep experience at all. I have a Tempur-Pedic pillows I sleep on and then I have like a silky black pillow that looks like a small black cat when it’s laying on my bed, but it’s actually a pillow by Nurse Jamie that I use for beauty. I bring that with me on planes or when I go to the hospital.
The nighttime skin-care product I can’t live without
I have two. One is my Clarisonic brush. If I don’t use it, I feel like I can’t get off every little tiny bit of makeup on my skin.
And the other I use religiously at nighttime is the Joanna Vargas rejuvenating serum, which is this super-hyper-moisturizing serum that goes on underneath moisturizer. I feel like my skin just eats it up the whole night, and in the morning my pores look smaller. I feel like any acne I might’ve had has gone away.
The pajamas that keep me comfy
I wear a lot of Bedhead pajamas. I love their jersey, man. I kinda can’t handle the 100% cotton with no stretch—I need that jersey stretch in my pajamas.
The perfect weighted blanket
I’m just getting into weighted blankets. I have one from Bearaby and I really do like it. If it’s too heavy, I feel like I’m dying in my bed, so it has to be exactly the right amount of weight.
What’s currently on my nightstand
A box of tissues. A picture of my dad with my daughter. A bottle of water. A lamp. And a book called The Lowland.
My secret to looking rested after sleeping on a plane
A truly annoying thing about me is that I can sleep instantly on any plane, any train, any car. I just love motion; I think it really helps me sleep. But I was on a plane once and saw a female celebrity that I know wearing this sheet mask—she looked insane, and I was, like, kind of silently judging her, but then when we got off the eight-hour flight, she looked like exquisite. I was like, “Are you wearing any makeup?” And she was like, “No, I just did my mask.” And so now I take a Joanna Vargas mask with me.