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Debi Mazar: Sleepless in Hollywood

Since 1990, actress Debi Mazar has enjoyed a successful Hollywood career working with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, Joel Shumacher, Nora Ephron and Barry Levinson. She currently stars on the HBO series Entourage as fast-talking publicist Shauna. But as exciting as a career in Hollywood is, extended production hours and a constantly changing schedule led Mazar to develop an irregular sleep cycle.

Mom to two daughters – Evelina Maria, 4, and Giulia Isabel, 11 months – and wife to music producer Gabriele Corcos, Mazar experienced insomnia when she became a mother for the second time. Like many new moms, the stress of raising a family and balancing a career caused her to wake several times a night. Feeding the baby, checking on her older child and considering the next day’s to-do list made it hard to get a good night’s sleep.

Debi Mazar-Sleepless in Hollywood

Mazar has tried several options for relieving her insomnia, but nothing has solved the problem completely. It is an evolving process and, working with her doctor, she is trying to find the solution that is right for her.

We talked with Mazar about life as a Hollywood mom and got her tips for how moms can get a better night’s sleep.

EA: What did you do to help improve your sleep?

DM: I worked out regularly, cut back on caffeine, cut out toxic people from my life and talked to my doctor, who prescribed sleeping sedatives for me when needed. But as a new mom, they are no longer an option because I need to wake up in the night.

EA: Why is it important for moms to take care of themselves? How is sleep a part of that?

DM: Parents need their sleep to keep their immune systems strong. They need their wits and their energy to be patient and present for their children. A happy mom equals a happy family.

EA: What do you do to stay healthy and strong?

DM: I eat a balanced, healthy diet. I avoid excessive sugar and fast food. I believe in having chocolate when desired. I think a small amount of red wine is good for the body and the soul. I’ve always believed in love and family, which keeps me strong in mind and happy. I do cardio, weights and Pilates as often as I can manage (generally four times a week). I fast two times a year and we try to take family holidays whenever possible to make life more interesting.

IP: How do you balance work and motherhood?

EA: I do the best I can. I try not to beat myself up in worrying about competing with other parents who are Debi Mazar-Sleepless in Hollywood“over-achievers.” Every family has their own rhythm. As an actor, I have the occasional opportunity to travel with work, and if it seems like a good thing for the family, we go. But in general I do what is best for the family, which has equated for me in sacrificing my career, my social life, basically everything. But I consider it a tradeoff, as opposed to sacrifice. I spent many years where it was all about me. Now it is about my family. I chose to have a family, and I did it a bit later in life (age 36) so that I had gotten a lot out of the way. The other huge component is that I have an amazing husband, who is such a great father, that between us both we give the kids 100 percent. Without his help and love, I wouldn’t have balance.

EA: How do you prioritize everything you have to get done?

DM: Having children changes your priorities. Their needs come first now, and basically everything else comes second, although my husband is also a priority. I work hard, I’m home for dinner (which my husband and I cook together) and make a ritual. We all need to earn a living, so I try to work as much as I can, and in my free time, instead of doing something that I find mindless and relaxing, I’m doing things with and for my children. Somewhere along the way I manage to do my household chores, groceries and put some makeup on when possible.

EA: What are your top 3 tips for working moms?

DM:

Debi Mazar-Sleepless in Hollywood1. Try to get a good night’s sleep.

2. Have a great support system, even if it is your friends instead of family,
so you don’t get overwhelmed.

3. Even when you’re exhausted, find a smile for your kids. They don’t understand
the pressures in adult life. Make sure to get down and play with them, even if
you need to do work from home.

EA: What is the best thing about being a mom?

DM: The unconditional love that children give you. When they look up at you and say, “I love you, Mommy,” and you know that their life is in your hands. Wow – it is terrifying and amazing.