“I try to get at least seven hours of sleep,” Toni Breidinger tells us over the phone. “It's funny because when I was a kid, I used to be crying If I had to go to sleep. Now, I cry if I don't get enough—it totally just throws me off. I can't function.”
For Breidinger, 22, staying focused is of the utmost importance, since at any given time, she may be driving a priceless racecar at an unimaginably high speed. As the the first female Arab-American driver to compete in a NASCAR national series, Breidinger has had to learn how to find sleep on-the-go.
“I can literally fall asleep at any second of my life,” she says. “I could fall asleep right now if I put my head down. At a young age, my dad would drive us across the country to go to races and he’d pull all-nighters. I had to race the next day, so I would obviously have to sleep in the truck in the backseat and just kind of learn to sleep in random spots.” Now, a full fledged star on the rise, all-night car rides have turned into red eye flights. “If I don't sleep on the plane, I'm going to be an absolute disaster the next day,” she says. “I've had to adapt and have learned to kind of be flexible with sleep.”
Here, she shares what she keeps next to her bed.
What side of the bed do you sleep on?
That depends on [where I’m sleeping]. If I'm in a hotel, I'll sleep [on the side] furthest away from the air conditioner. I'm the type of person who is always cold and I like to be abnormally warm when I sleep. If I’m sharing the room with my sister or my mom or something, I sleep away from the AC.
What can you not sleep without?
A hair tie. I can't sleep with my hair down. My hair needs to be tied up in a bun. I also always keep my phone next to my bed, which is probably not the best thing, but I have my alarm set on my phone and I like to have it near me. I live by myself and it kind of feels comforting in a way to have my phone nearby just in case something were to happen. But it's probably not the best thing for my sleep to have a phone next to me.
What’s currently next to your bed at home?
I have a night on each side of my bed. I'm super simple. I tried to go with more of a minimalist vibe with my room. I heard that's good for having a clear mind—nothing too hectic or crazy in my room. So, I just have these marble lamps on top of my nightstand, which I love.
Do you keep any electronics next to your bed?
Just my phone, really. I don't usually scroll as I fall asleep because I feel like having something bright in your face just makes it hard to sleep. I need a dark room. I feel like having a phone light in your face isn’t great for you. Once I get in bed, I'll turn on my Audible and then I'll put my phone to the side on my nightstand and then fall asleep that way. But, when I wake up, the first thing I do is check my phone which is so bad.
What’s your nighttime routine in five steps or less?
I definitely have a very specific skincare routine. With racing, it's so hard to have clear skin. You’re in a sweaty helmet for multiple hours. On top of that, I'm training. For me, my nighttime routine is super important. I'll wash my face. I use CeraVe face wash. It's very gentle. Then I'll use some serums on my face just to make sure [it is] moisturized. I like the serums from The Ordinary. I always have Aquaphor or something on my lips. And of course, brushing my teeth and flossing. That's my biggest thing. I'm obsessed with brushing my teeth and flossing.