"As adults, we don't give ourselves a place to relax," Laura Dern tells PEOPLE

By Nigel Smith
April 22, 2020 01:37 PM
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Laura Dern is celebrated for playing self-destructive and high-strung characters on shows like Enlightened and Big Little Lies — but in real life, the Oscar winner is all about finding her inner peace.

The actress, 53, has teamed with the mindfulness app Calm to help people get some needed rest during these chaotic times.

Looking back at her roles on the two aforementioned HBO shows, Dern jokes, “They really need” the app. “The sad thing is, they don’t know they need it,” she continues. “They think they made the app!”

Dern is the latest major talent to contribute to Calm, following people like Matthew McConaughey and singer Leona Lewis. The app offers around 120 bedtime stories, to assist users in falling asleep. The story read by Dern is titled “The Ocean Moon”; it’s the latest Sleep Story available exclusively through a partnership with Natural Vitality Calm and the Calm app.

The Jurassic Park actress tells PEOPLE she fell in love with Calm as a long-time meditator.

“I look at how to manage stress,” she says. “Being an actor, how I stay centered in a moment and cut out all the noise… that’s required. You tune out everything around you when you’re working.”

“As adults, we don’t give ourselves a place to relax,” she adds. “I meditate and I take hot baths and when my children were smaller, I read stories to them. Some of my favorite memories are being read to, to fall asleep at night by my grandmother.”

Ellery Harper, Jaya Harper, Diane Ladd and Laura Dern at the 2020 Oscars
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Dern is now spending time with her mother, actress Diane Ladd, as they self-isolate together during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In a video recently posted to her Instagram, Dern showed her family — including daughter Jaya Harper, 15, and son Ellery Harper, 18 — making “quarantine-safe” chicken and dumplings together while staying home.

Sharing another glimpse at her family’s self-isolation time, Dern posted a moment from a game night she enjoyed with her teenagers, remarking that her grandmother “would be so proud” at Ellery’s skills at playing jacks.

Dern tells PEOPLE the time in quarantine with her family has been “moving.”

“I’ve been encouraging my mom to tell us stories about her childhood,” she shares, “and I’ve been watching my kids relax. At a time like this we need to remember to dream. We need to remember what came before and what will come after this moment.”