Georgie Cleve, founder of OSKIA
“There are two things that need to be in balance at bedtime – your mind and your body. Nothing in the world is going to promise a good night’s sleep if you have something on your mind.
Likewise, your body needs to be tired, so exercise is key. However, living through a pandemic, with all the health, grief and financial worries that come with it, we are all suffering from more anxiety and its physical symptoms. Once a week, I do a somatics class with Nahid de Belgeonne and the OSKIA team. Nahid is magical – the class releases tension you didn’t even know you had, and my mind is always clearer and more focused the following morning. An evening bath is also incredibly nurturing and the drop in body temperature when you get out can help stimulate sleep hormones, so have a bath just before bed not hours before. I also have a rather strange habit of going outside in the dark with a cup of tea before my bedtime bath. I find it is a way to say goodbye to the day and prepare mentally for the one ahead.”
Marie Reynolds, skin and wellness expert
“The quality of your sleep is crucial to your physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
An analytical mind will keep the body in a state of fight or flight, which will impact the hydration of your skin and cause inflammation in the body. For starters, bedroom hygiene isn’t just about clean sheets – removing electro-smog is essential. The impact electronic devices have on sleep is negative, so remove all phones and iPads from your room. Look at sleeping on grounding sheets, such as those from Groundology, too. When it comes to sleep-inducing foods, consider a lettuce sandwich, as lettuce is known for its sedative effects. Wild lettuce leaf extract is also a great addition. Drinking a warm glass of milk can also help as milk peptides follow the same neurological pathways as tranquilizers. If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, try a Milk Peptide supplement.”
Ruby Hammer MBE, make-up artist
“I have no problems getting to sleep but since the menopause, I struggle with getting deep sleep and can be restless throughout the night.
As soon as I’m home, or know I’m done with Zoom calls, I take my make-up off – I find it easier to relax in the evening knowing I’ve cleansed my skin thoroughly and you do a better job when you’re not as tired. I then switch on my Neom Wellbeing Pod, which is on for a couple of hours before I go to sleep. Just before I go to bed, I take three Lumity Life tablets, and since lockdown, I’ve also been taking Wild Nutrition’s magnesium and KLORIS’ CBD drops, which help me have a more restful sleep. Once I’m in bed and the lights are off, I do a little bit of meditation. For me, meditation mostly means sitting in bed and taking a moment to think and be grateful. This helps me switch off and keeps me feeling positive.”
The earlier you can start your evening the better – giving your body and mind time to wind down is essential and has never been more important than with lockdown and the blurred lines between work and home life. I start my evening skincare routine as early as 6pm or 7pm, often to coincide with my evening bath. The warm water filled with aromatherapy oils (I use Votary Antidote Oil, a blend of lavender and chamomile) has an obvious physical benefit of relaxing any muscle tension, but also helps me switch off from the day and bookmarks the start of the evening. I try not to look at my phone after 9pm but probably only achieve that 50% of the time – it’s something I’m working on. I'm fussy about nightwear as I get very hot in the night, but still need my shoulders covered. I usually wear cotton jersey pyjamas as they keep me cool and are soft on my skin. A spritz of Votary Pillow Spray just before I lie down is the final note in my evening routine.”
Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy
“Sleep is so important for immunity and metal health.
I always make a cup of chamomile tea and take magnesium before bed (try Magnesium Stress Complex). Magnesium is like a mineral version of Valium – it aids sleep but without the side effects. When I get into bed, I do a mini visualisation; and I take ten to 15 deep breaths and allow my whole system to relax, imagining a calming blue light surrounding me and filling my whole body with calming, soothing energy. This then leaves me in a calm state and then I’ll read a book until I fall asleep. I love the Gaia app for meditation and breathwork, as well as @ThisConsciousLife and @RoxieNafousi on Instagram.”
Monique Brown, founder of Affirmation Culture
“For me, creating a relaxing bedroom environment helps me switch off in the evenings and takes me out of work mode and into night mode.
Lighting, sounds and scents are key to a calming space – turning off bright lights in exchange for candles is a must for feeling cosy. I love lighting Affirmation Culture’s Soul Mate candle in the evening – it’s a deeply warming blend of lavender, rose and neroli. It also comes with a mantra, which I try to repeat while taking some deep breaths. This is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and fall asleep with positive thoughts about your achievements that day. Bringing the sound of singing bowls into my space further helps my mind and body. The sound signifies the end of the day but also the soundwaves that are created penetrate your body and relax every muscle on vibrational level.”
Charlotte Mensah, award-winning hairstylist
“A spot of evening pampering helps me switch off and gets me in the mood for sleep.
If you don’t have time for a bath but still fancy something indulgent, try soaking your feet in Epsom and Himalayan salts (and warm water) for around ten to 20 minutes. This is one of the best and fastest remedies I know. Product wise, I love Chantecaille’s Rose de Mai Face Oil and Rice and Geranium Face Wash which leaves my skin soft and hydrated overnight. If I have time for a bath, I always use Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish and Fresh Brown Sugar & Lychee Bath and Shower Gel, which creates incredible, moisturising bubbles. If I’m feeling particularly stressed and in need of some real pampering, I mix a couple of drops of the Manketti Hair Oil into the Manketti Hair Oil Conditioner and leave it on as a rich hydrating mask.”
Alice Mackintosh, co-founder of Equi London and nutritionist
“Good sleep is habitual and needs to be built over time, but there are things you can try tonight, which will make a difference.
First, the body likes routine. As well as having bedtime rituals, consider the time at which you eat. Three regular meals helps to regulate your daily cortisol pattern, metabolism and also discourages energy dips. This is especially relevant to those who like to eat late at night because every single one of our body’s cells has a circadian rhythm. Certain cells are wired to work at night, helping to recharge the body and restore critical systems. The digestive system should not be taxed with having to digest food at night and doing this can, over time, begin to impact your sleep cycles. For this reason, aim to eat three to four hours before bed. Also, consider taking adaptogenic herbs, which have been used for thousands of years. Ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, schisandra, cordyceps and reishi are all backed up with robust evidence. Magnesium is also great for relaxing muscles and easing tension – find a supplement that contains 150-300mg of magnesium glycinate or chelate, and consider taking an Epsom salt bath, ideally with at least 200g of salts. This can be built up to 400-500g if needed.”
Joy Adenuga, professional make-up artist
“Like many working mothers, it can be challenging to get a good night’s sleep in the midst of a global pandemic.
Getting adequate and quality sleep is paramount for me at the moment as my body requires optimum energy levels to get me through the day. Every evening, I make a to-do list, which helps me to feel in control of my workload, as things can often go astray when I’m caught up in the day-to-day juggle of trying to fulfil orders for my business, home schooling and emails. I’ll likely do this with a Flickerwick Candle burning nearby – they have gorgeously rich, invigorating notes. I spend so much time on my laptop and gadgets, so I make a concerted effort to relax my mind before going to bed, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to indulge in a good read. I’m currently reading JD Robb’s long running In Death series. I’ve also found I get a better night’s sleep when I take adequate time to treat myself to a good night-time skincare routine. At the moment, this involves lots of hydrating masks, eye masks and lip scrubs.”