How Peloton, Pilates, and HIIT Help Tiffani Thiessen Sleep Soundly

The Saved by the Bell actor shares how she unwinds.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Hard-core Tiffani Thiessen fans will be delighted to know the former Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210 star exudes all the bubbliness of Kelly Kapowski with none of the bite of Valerie Malone. But one trait that distinguishes Thiessen from her iconic on-screen personas is a killer sense of humor—especially when it comes to all those “if you remember this, it’s time for an eye cream” memes targeting elder millennials.

“Supposedly I’m in one about colonoscopies,” the 48-year-old actor, cookbook author, and host of MTV’s Deliciousness tells SELF with a laugh. “So remember to get your colonoscopy if you used to watch my shows!”

Thiessen is joking about her role in colon cancer prevention, but she actually has stepped up to raise awareness for another serious health condition: meningococcal disease. On the day Thiessen chatted with SELF, she spoke in New York City about the National Meningitis Association and Sanofi’s newest initiative, It’s About Time: Help Stop the Clock on Meningitis. Her partnership with the organizations came about organically, as Thiessen’s 12-year-old daughter, Harper, is part of the demographic most at risk for the serious disease, and her son, Holt, almost 7, will be a candidate for vaccination in a few years.

“A lot of times, if you contract meningococcal meningitis, the symptoms mimic the flu, so it often doesn’t get diagnosed, and sometimes it’s too late,” Thiessen says. “The best measure to help protect your kids against it is getting vaccinated.”

Thiessen and her daughter have talked frankly and candidly about the importance of this vaccination, what to expect with it, and why it’s so helpful. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, most of these conversations have occurred in the evenings before bed. Thiessen finds that peaceful, pre-sleep time to be the best for talking about the important stuff that might sail by during more hectic times of the day. “Right now those are the sort of talks I’m having with my daughter at night,” she says. “Those are the perfect times to really connect with her.”

Bedtime provides the perfect opportunity for intimate, honest conversations, she says—and not just for the serious health stuff, but also for everyday things like school happenings, what’s on tap for the upcoming week, or even things on the news that might be raising questions for them. “It really is a time for even the simplest of talks about the day, reflecting on anything and everything my kids could be feeling,” Thiessen says.

Heart-to-hearts with her kids are just one way Thiessen winds down before getting her rest. Here the fitness-loving foodie and forever teen idol walks SELF through her bedtime routine, which includes everything from thorough makeup removal to poring over Snoop Dogg’s latest literary creation.

I count on my earlier exercise to help me fall asleep.

Exercise helps everything, and it 100% impacts my sleep. If I don’t get my normal exercise in, I see a huge difference in how my body feels later that night—it makes it hard to fall asleep, and I’ve found it messes with the quality of my sleep as well.

I’ve always been someone who doesn’t like doing the same thing every day, so I like to change my workouts up. I do strength training and HIIT classes Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and then I do mat Pilates on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the weekends I usually go hiking. In California we have such great hikes.

I also have a Peloton, and I used that very much at the beginning of the pandemic. But I missed having that connection with real people, so since things are starting to open up, I went back to a private gym. But Cody [Rigsby] was my favorite on Peloton. He got me through every ride that I did. I love him; he’s the cutest cheerleader ever.

My “me-time” includes a lot of skin care, and it starts after my kids go to bed.

My son usually goes to bed around 7:30 p.m., and my daughter goes around 8:30 p.m. After that it becomes mommy time.

This is when I fit in a lot of my skin care. There’s a routine involved with getting everything off my face and cleaning it back to its natural state. And as I get older, there are definitely a few more products on my sink than there used to be when I was in my 20s.

My nighttime skin routine includes makeup remover—I love the Simple Kind to Skin Wipes for Sensitive Skin—eye makeup remover, hydration, lotion, primer, misters, and humidifiers. It’s a longer routine than it used to be, that’s for sure. I start with a scrubbing gel from my facialist Cristina Radu to wash my face, then I steam with the Microderm Glo facial steamer. After, I moisturize with Starline Day Cream and use the Kronage Eye and Lip Cream.

Simple Kind to Skin Facial Wipes $6 at Target

Starline All Day Cream $152 at 50ml

I’m big on hydration—especially at night.

I’m really good about drinking water in the morning. I usually drink either regular water or I’ll do hot water with lemon. And then at night it’s either tea—I love turmeric and green teas from Kilogram—or I just try to down even more water before bed.

Kilogram Turmeric Tea $10 at Amazon

My husband is a TV watcher at night, but I’m more of a reader.

I’m not the biggest TV watcher. Instead I’ll either go through a food magazine or a cookbook for meal planning and book design inspiration at night. I do this before bed, or even when I’m actually in bed, though I also try to do it throughout the day when I can too.

I just finished my second cookbook, so I bought a lot of cookbooks so I can look at page layouts for future inspiration. Have you seen Snoop Dogg’s cookbook? Talk about ’90s! It’s amazing, it’s so good. It has such a nostalgic feel when you open it up. The designer and everybody who was on that team did a very good job.

From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes From Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen $16 at Amazon

I’m in bed pretty early—by 9:00 p.m.

I’m actually a morning person—I find myself waking up at about 5:30 or 6:00 a.m.—so I like to be in bed by 9:00 p.m., with lights out by 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.. But I know I don’t sleep as soundly after having children, because I feel like I have an ear open constantly no matter what.

I do have a few gadgets that help me fall asleep and stay asleep, though. I sleep with a Hatch Sound Machine which plays different soothing sounds. I can’t sleep without white noise since having children! I also can’t sleep with any light, so I use blackout curtains and my Manta Sleep Eye Mask. I need a good seven or eight hours of sleep. That’s like my hotspot. I can function on six, but with seven or eight I feel like I can really power through the next day.

Hatch Rest Smart Sound Machine $70 at Hatch

Manta Sleep Mask $35 at Amazon