photo:Friend in Fashion
On Tuesday night we entered the magical and bizarre realm of 40 Winks. A bespoke, curated hotel owned by interior designer David Carter. We went there not knowing what to expect, invited to a legendary bedtime story night (something you definitely need to try!) but the whole experience had us thinking about sleep, and the way we think about it in general.
Both Celina and I describe ourselves as creatures of habit. We get 8 uninterrupted hours and we are happy. Anything less, and we are grumpy and feel like shit. So this week, we got some serious tips, tricks, and revelations. Here are the life-changing rituals that left us walking away from our stay in a sleepy, lovely, warm, dreamy haze.
Change the way you think about sleep
Nick Littlehales is an expert sleep coach. He trained team GB cyclists, footballers, and Paralympians in how to properly sleep. He gave a short talk on the importance of sleeping ‘properly’ and we were there taking notes upon notes.
He knows sailors who get twenty minutes of sleep every two hours. The CEO of Yahoo gets 4 hours a day. So 8 hours is a myth. Stop worrying about what you’re doing wrong. That’s the first step.
Make some little tweaks
Your sleep routine probably needs some small tweaks. Here are 3 steps you need to take to a beautiful night’s sleep.
1. Identify your chronotype
– Are you genetically wired to be a night owl? Or are you an early riser? Don’t blame this on your ‘laziness’ or try to change it. It’s to do with your genes, hormones and is pretty much hard-wired.
2. If you have a partner, identify theirs too
– Disrupted sleep can come from them having a different wiring. My boyfriend loves late nights and lie-ins, and I love early nights and early mornings. Poor guy he’s just got to deal with me elbowing him at 10am because I’m bored.
3. Sleep on the correct side
– Nick says everyone should sleep on their non-dominant side (opposite of the hand you write with, or the hand you would raise to defend yourself with) and in a fetal position. This protects the heart and organs and is the best position for a good night’s rest.
4. Tweak your bedroom
– We often say keep it uncluttered and clean. Nick also thinks the bed should be big enough for two people (he swears by king sized beds) because that way you aren’t disturbing each other, and making sure the room is between 16 and 18 degrees celsius (60-64F).
Your sleep rituals are just as important as sleep
Nick’s sleeping routine is 90 minutes of pre-sleep ritual, and 90 minutes of post-sleep. His routine may be 8 hours but he is only getting around 5 hours of sleep, as he includes the 90 minutes. He wants people to think in ‘cycles’ not hours. I used to count the hours I was sleeping, and only stopped stressing when I shut my phone off and stopped caring.
The perfect pre-sleep routine
– We got a taster of this at 40 winks. Here are the key elements you need.
– Move from warm to cool and light to dark
– Before sleep, have a tech break to reduce blue light disruptions. Go swimming an hour and a half before sleep if you need to, you can’t take your tech with you.
– Pajamas are part of the ritual. And we all got to dress up in a seriously comfy and gorgeous pair of Hush PJs. Look for soft, sleepy fabrics.
– Drink some herbal infusion tea. Clipper tea hosted the event and let us all try some delicious detox cocktails from their new Super Green caffeine free tea. But our favorite bedtime tea has got to be Snore and Peace. A cult favorite, it will change your sleep habits forever.
– Do some meditation, change your mindset and stop worrying about it. We also had some stories told to us by legendary storyteller Nell Phoenix. I would seriously recommend listening to someone tell stories, or downloading a podcast. Because we left the room with tea in hand feeling deliciously sleepy.