Health

My Bedtime Routine: What Whoopi Goldberg Does at 3 A.M. While Everyone Else Is Sleeping

In our Sleeping With… series, we ask people from different career paths, backgrounds, and stages of life how they make sleep magic happen.

Whoopi Goldberg’s ideal night of rest and self-care involves wandering around her house and being left alone. For example: At a certain hour, she leaves her cellphone in another room and relies upon the landline by her bedside for emergency calls only. “It allows me to not have to deal with casual calls, because I don’t want to do those,” Goldberg tells SELF. Goldberg, 65, is at the point in her life where she’s done living for other people. She does what she wants, when she wants it, and appreciates all she has along the way.

For Goldberg, a large part of living her truth means feeling her best physically, too. Goldberg has lived with migraines for about 40 years. Through a recent partnership with prescription drug Nurtec ODT, she has found some physical respite, along with the opportunity to share her story of what it’s like to have the painful condition. “You get a migraine, and it brings all this baggage with it,” she says. “Is it going to be one where the light’s too much? Or is it going to be one where sound is too much? Do I need to get in the closet or under the bed? What do I need to do?”

These days, Goldberg says she’s able to treat her migraine with Nurtec ODT—something that’s contributed to her overall sense of wellbeing. For more on the ways Goldberg takes care of herself—including her relationship with rest, setting boundaries at night, and having a non-existent skin-care routine—read on below.

Well, I just say I’m done for the night, and I’m done.

I talk to my daughter, to my granddaughter, to my great-granddaughter. They are all in Los Angeles. Friends will call. I don’t allow the cell phone near my bed, because if you need me, you’ll call me on the landline. It allows me to not have to deal with casual calls, because I don’t want to do those.

If it’s a certain time, then I’ll pick up the phone. Most people know not to call me past 11 p.m. unless it’s an emergency. People just want to call me, and it’s like, I don’t really have anything to say.

I’m not a big sleeper, so I try to get a lot of things done in the house.

I have to feed the cat, I get a pair of headphones, and I just listen to a good audiobook. I’m up at 3 a.m., 3:15 a.m. That’s always been when I was up. Maybe I’ll sleep a couple of hours, but not really. It’s just never been my way. Never.

When I was a little kid, there were lots of things in the world to think about. My mind just stayed wandering and thinking and laughing and making stories up and all kinds of stuff. And it never bothered me. I could get up and go to school and be fine. It used to drive my mother crazy. “What do you mean?” she’d say. “Everybody needs sleep.” Well, I need rest, but I don’t need sleep. So for resting, I’m on my bed with my headphones and a nice pillow. That for me is everything—if I can just rest and sort of float.

My bedroom’s got a couple of chairs in it.

There’s the bed, and a couple of chairs. There’s a television on a wall, but I don’t watch it if I’m listening to the book. Anything can happen in this room.

When I’m awake early in the morning, I walk around my house.

I look at stuff. It’s kind of fun. I look at pictures of my family and friends, and then I go into the kitchen, see what’s happening in there. I go and I try to figure out what the cat’s up to. Are there any mice in here? Just crazy, crazy fun stuff. It reminds me that I live here.

My rituals really have to do more with remembering how lucky you are.

Because I have a good time—I’m having a good time in my life, and I always have tried to, but now I really don’t care. I’m doing it whether other people think it’s a good time or not.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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