Jordin Sparks Just Told Us About Her Favorite Late-Night Snack That Actually Helps Her Sleep

“I’m totally into it.”

a photo of Jordin Sparks

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

For many moms, the nighttime ritual is key for the little ones to wind down at the end of the day. And for Jordin Sparks, the bedtime routine is essential to help her 5-year-old son, DJ, go to sleep. 

Alongside sharing advice and tools that work for her, the singer-songwriter tells EatingWell about how she winds down at night. Read on to find out how Sparks stays grounded with her busy schedule—from her new album No Restrictions set to release this year and her current partnership with Unisom—as well as her family’s favorite dinners, healthy morning habits and more in this exclusive interview.

EatingWell: Do you have any bedtime routine advice for moms?

Sparks: For DJ, one thing that's really helped is a white noise machine. We have a really good one that you can put on and you literally can't hear anything outside of the room, which has been really nice, but it also helps keep him asleep. I wish I would have had that sooner. I think the other thing that’s worked for us is keeping things the same so that it's something that's expected. Obviously, if Dad puts him to sleep versus when I put him to sleep, we both have our own ways. But I sing him the same four songs, and by that fourth song, he's usually knocked out. I think at this point he knows that it's happening and his body goes down.

EatingWell: Anything in your own night routine that you stick by?

Sparks: I don't have a particular one, but I do try and use different things. When I saw how well the sleep machine worked for my son, we bought one for our room, so we definitely have one of those. I recently got a red light and that's actually really helped as well. Instead of having all the blue lights from screens and the TVs, I got a red light so we just turn it on and it will stay on for 20-something minutes before it turns off. It's really helped us fall asleep. 

EatingWell: Go-to late-night snacks?

Sparks: You know what? I love cherries. I love dark, black cherries, and I didn't realize until I just started doing research on it that it's actually really good for sleep. So I love those and I'll eat them with blueberries for a late-night snack. I definitely like cookies too, but anything with an “erry” in it—blackberries, strawberries, cherries, all of those. I’m totally into it.

EatingWell: How about your morning routine? Do you have any daily rituals when you first wake up?

Sparks: I think the first thing is gratitude when I wake up. Thinking that I woke up, I'm breathing, I have another day. I try to do affirmations. I like to use a dry-erase marker and write different things on my mirror so that I can see it and embody it or embrace it. I like to do that. And it started last summer, but I drink cacao in the morning. I'll have a little cacao ritual where I just sit and I think about my day, my family, my ancestors or what I want to accomplish. Those 10 minutes really do make a difference in the rest of my day. I'll do those little things and then the natural stuff: brush my teeth, tongue scraper, oil pulling, different things like that.

EatingWell: Are there any weeknight dinners your family is loving right now?

Sparks: I'm vegan, but there's one dish that my husband makes that we all can eat, which is amazing. He makes this vegetable medley that is so good, and he'll add chicken breasts to [DJ's and his] plates, or steak. It's asparagus, red onions, zucchini and he likes to throw in some spices. It’s oh, so delicious. That's our go-to, it's really easy to make, it's also easy to keep after for leftovers. We also love a lot of good rice dishes. And my husband loves fish, so we do love sushi spots. It's really funny because now when I ask my son, “What do you want for dinner?” he's like, “Let's go get sushi.” He loves it. And then I make a lentil soup that we all love. It's green lentils, carrots, onions, I throw in a little turmeric in there, I throw in rosemary. I love herbs, so I try to put in as many herbs as I can in all the food that I make.

EatingWell: What inspired you to go vegan?

Sparks: Everybody gets to choose how they want to eat and what works best for them. Before I decided to go vegan, there were times when I'd be like, “OK, I'm gonna try being pescatarian, see how that works for my body,” or “I'm gonna try eating everything, see how that works.” I've done that a few times and experimented and honestly, for me, eating vegan was what worked the best for me. I love animals, I definitely think they need to be treated humanely, but I'm not one of those people who will say you can't eat meat. In my household, my son and my husband still eat it. I still cook it for them. I definitely was a “junk food vegan” for the first year and a half, but now it’s been five years and I really love it. I’m at this point where it's more about whole foods—I just want to eat good food. I want to eat fresh vegetables, I love fruit, it's really about eating what's here on this planet for us.

EatingWell: Could you talk more about what made you decide to partner with Unisom?

Sparks: My career has been awesome, but there's been a lot of traveling, a lot of time changes and a lot of long days on set. My sleep schedules are always a little mixed up, so it made a lot of sense to partner with Unisom. On occasion if I need that help, if I need that little booster for that extra rest, I prefer the gummies. My husband prefers the sleep gels, but it gives us that little boost. DJ is going to be up early in the morning no matter what time I go to sleep. If he doesn't catch his sleep, I want to make sure that I have some rest for that next day so I can make sure everything gets done the way that it needs to get done. I love it because it's great to get a little rest, that little extra help if you need it. And also they have something for everyone. So if gummies aren't your thing, they have other options as well.

EatingWell: What does "eating well" mean to you?

Sparks: Eating well to me not only means nourishment, but it also means giving yourself grace to be like, “I'm human and that's what I wanted to eat today.” I try not to restrict foods because the world is our oyster. Eating well also means trying new things. I like to try different cuisines and different foods, so I'm trying to encourage my son in that way—and my husband too, to be honest! I try to encourage them to open themselves up.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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