In our Sleeping With… series, we speak to people from different career paths, backgrounds, and stages of life to find out how they make sleep magic happen.
Hannah Bronfman—the entrepreneur, influencer, DJ, and fitness enthusiast—is about to embark on her biggest venture yet: becoming a mother. Bronfman and husband Brendan Fallis are expecting their first child, due November 14. “I was joking a while ago that the election is going to put me into early labor,” Bronfman tells SELF, “but I actually feel pretty good about where things stand at the moment.”
Bronfman has spent the last number of months split between the couple’s New York City and Long Island homes, working hard before she takes on “maternity hours” at HBFIT, her health and wellness brand, and preparing for the baby.
“Brendan and I are lucky to have spent every single day together for the last 200-plus days. In our life pre-pandemic, that’s not how this was going to go,” Bronfman says. And while she’s been sleeping well and feeling good, she still feels the burden of the pandemic and the gravity of the Black Lives Matter movement—particularly, what it means to be a Black pregnant woman right now. “I’m focused on reiterating positive narratives and keeping my nervous system chill,” she says. Here, read Bronfman’s pregnancy-proof bedtime routine, including alternative skin-care and the solution she’s found for a new snoring habit. (Please note: If you’re pregnant, consult with your doctor or dermatologist before taking any supplements and to find out what beauty products are safe to use during your pregnancy).
My bedtime routine starts in the kitchen.
I make myself a cup of raspberry leaf tea. I usually bring my tea into the bathroom with me because I find that whenever I brew a cup, it takes 10 minutes before it’s ever cool enough to actually drink. So I brew the tea, I bring it into the bathroom, and then I put my hair up, just to get my roots out of the way.
I love dark chocolate, and I’m normally a late night snacker. But I think because my stomach is getting so much smaller at the moment—just because of where everything’s pushing—I’ve had no nighttime cravings.
Which is kind of boring, but it is what it is. So I’ve really tried to listen to myself. The consumer in me still buys all the chocolate, but I now have this full drawer in our refrigerator that’s all chocolate. I haven’t gone through it because I’m not really craving it, but I still buy it and stock up on it. Brendan’s allergic to chocolate, so at this point I’m just a chocolate hoarder.
I start my face routine with my oil cleanser.
Right now I’m loving this seabuckthorn cleanser from Living Libations. And then after I’m done with that, I do a gel cleanser from iS Clinical. I just use one serum these days—I’m keeping it really simple. I do the Night Serum by Dr. Barbara Sturm.
Then I brush my teeth.
Right now, I’m using a toothpaste from RiseWell—it’s a female-founded company, which I love. The last thing I’ll do is I’ll put a lash serum on, from Rodan + Fields. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my lashes after using their product.
On the most luxurious evenings, I get to take a bath, and I really look forward to those.
I try to do it twice a week, but it’s really like a once a week thing for me at this point. That’s honestly what my Saturday nights look like these days. I’m very diligent about moisturizing my belly, and the Hatch belly mask is such a treat because it’s packed with moisture and calms the skin.
I felt like the pandemic really allowed us an opportunity to rethink our hair routines and hair health. Personally, I went from getting a blowout three times a week and having crazy heat styling on it to all of a sudden being able to wear my hair natural for six months.
For me that really meant that I could take a second and revive my lost curl pattern by using products that were great for curly hair, like Hair Food, and really giving it that nourishment that I had been neglecting before. [Ed. note: Bronfman is a Hair Food spokesperson.] I suddenly had the time to be using hair masks, and I’m obsessed with the hair mask from Hair Food. It’s so delicious and smoothing and amazing. As someone who has been on a hair journey for so long, this is the most amount of time that I have ever spent with my hair and its natural curl pattern and being so appreciative and loving towards it, and it has definitely given me the joy to be able to embrace my natural curl texture and learn how to style it, and really embrace it. In the past, that would not have been the case.
My tea is usually just cool enough to start drinking, so I drink my raspberry tea, and get into bed.
I read a little bit. There are so many books on my book list that I’m supposed to be reading before I give birth, and it’s just a little overwhelming, so I try to read a little bit every night. Right now I’m reading a book called The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson. It’s a guide to postpartum.
I had a lot of anxiety in the beginning of my pregnancy just because, I mean, pandemic. Not to mention everything that was happening with Black Lives Matter.
It’s been a really wild couple of months, and having a pregnancy that’s also virtual—not having that physical in-person support—has also been hard to deal with, or just a real adjustment rather. I have to say that now that I’m towards the final days, I’m feeling really calm and excited. I feel like I’ve learned how to manage my media consumption, and I feel like I’ve managed to understand how to be vocal and active without being overly consumed, if that makes sense.
I was joking a while ago that the election is going to put me into early labor, but I actually feel pretty good about where things stand at the moment. Constantly getting positive stats is really great, and then I try not to hear too much of the negative. I love following accounts like Good News Movement or hearing things like, thus far, we’ve had the largest turnout of voters ever for an election. And honestly, every time something arrives from Amazon that we’ve ordered for the baby or the baby room, it makes everything feel so, so real. That always brings me back to the present, the fact that our lives are about to change.
I’ve actually been sleeping really well. The last month I’ve consistently had eight hours of sleep every night, which is no small feat.
I feel like for most women, they’re running to the bathroom every 10 minutes, and I have to say—I’ve always known this about myself—I have an insanely high bladder tolerance. I thought that would be a big difference with a baby weighing down on my bladder, especially because the baby is head down and right on top of my bladder, but if I go to the bathroom right before I go to bed, I can totally sleep through the night.
I was snoring for a while, and I’m not a snorer, so it would interrupt my sleep as well as my husband’s sleep.
I did a little research, and a lot of people told me that a wedge pillow can help. Plus, my acid reflux would act up in the middle of the night sometimes, and [the wedge pillow] has really helped with my acid reflux as well. So I sleep with a wedge pillow from Bekweim, and over the last three days have slept with Breathe Right strips over my nose, and they’re great. I’ve noticed a significant decrease in my snoring.
Then, I have a regular Tempur-Pedic pillow that I put between my legs. I sleep with a silk eye mask from Slip, which I love. I also use a lavender pillow spray from REN Skincare. I have a little Byredo rose candle on my bedside table, and I also have my organic lip balm from Follain that I put on right before I go to bed.
There’s a large mortality disparity in Black women giving birth in New York, so I try before I go to bed to just not think about that, and to reiterate positive narratives.
I’ve adopted this rule, where my husband is like, “You’re not allowed to look at Shaun King’s Instagram before you go to bed anymore. That’s just not happening.” I don’t necessarily meditate, but I adopted a practice that a lot of people use in therapy. You basically tap your body in a certain way that helps you go into the parasympathetic nervous system to calm down. It’s been such a helpful way for me to get rid of negative thoughts or anxieties around potential scenarios that I don’t want to find myself in. That’s been really helpful for me to do. I’m not doing it every day, but I’m definitely doing it three times a week.
I’ve had such a crazy last couple of weeks and I’ve been feeling a bit anxious around the fact that my days are so jam-packed. But I also know that come mid-next week, everything does slow down. It’s just that we’re trying to jam everything in before I adopt maternity hours. I have this spray from Mama Love for releasing any worry and fear, and it’s just been a nice thing to do for myself. I just spray it around myself and take a few minutes to breathe in deeply, and I’ll do that any time I feel necessary, but I also like to do it before I go to bed.