Wednesday 29 January 2020

How The Stylist Restival Helped Me Sleep Better


For as long as I can remember I have been a bad sleeper. My sleep is light and often interrupted by the slightest sound. Having a baby and snoring husband doesn't help either! Not getting enough sleep can have a massive impact on your physical and mental health. So when Stylist Magazine invited me to attend their first ever Restival event, I got excited and knew this one was for me. So on the 19th of January I made my way into London, to the Zedwell Hotel in Piccadilly. In this post I will talk you through my experiences and will share some interesting tips and tricks to help you sleep better. Interested? Well, read on my love!

So my day started with arriving at the Zedwell Hotel. The hotel is situated in the heart of Piccadilly, London and is currently under renovation so not actually open to the public. It has over 700 windowless rooms (yes, really!), that are designed to create a cocoon that shuts out the noise of the city to allow you to 'tune out of London.'. The windowless rooms not only prevent any distractions, but are also designed with the idea that you control light instead of being woken up by daylight. Their goal:

"Providing you with your key to calm in the heart of the city and to create the perfect environment for the perfect night's sleep."

This made the Zedwell Hotel the perfect location for this event.


I was shown to my room and from the moment I stepped in I was blown away. In front of me were pyjamas, a robe and slippers to put on straight away, and on the bed were bags with products and a note that said that the amazing team at M&S were gifting us the gorgeous bedding to take home. What an amazing start to the day!



As amazing as that was, I am here to tell you about the workshops and what I've taken away from them, so let's get back to that. I put on my pyjamas and met everyone downstairs (it was basically one big pyjama party!), where we were split into groups. After an introduction by editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski, it was time for my first two workshops: "Is sleep a feminist issue?" and "5 Steps to a better sleep", both presented by Lisa Sanfilippo.

Lisa Sanfilippo, writer of Sleep Recovery, is a psychotherapist and senior yoga teacher and a dream to listen to. Not only has she got a lovely relaxing voice, but she has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sleeping issues. She explained that sleep is a feminist issue and is gender related because of for instance hormonal differences. For example, if you are of menstrual age, your body temperature will rise a couple of degrees 2-3 days a month, making it more difficult to sleep. This was so interesting to hear because I had never thought of that before, but it made so much sense.

Lisa also explained that humans do not switch off like machines do, and that we need time to process. Allowing your body to take a 5-10 minute break, a couple of times a day to rest our minds will make a massive difference in how stressed you are or the anxiety you might experience when it's time to switch off and go to bed. Lengthening the exhale when you breathe reduces the heart rate and will make you feel more relaxed. Another thing that helps to relax, is to incorporate a quick yoga routine in the evening that helps move the blood circulation towards the bottom of your body. Lisa showed us some great moves you can do from the comfort of your own bed!

Next up was Yoga Nidra, a yoga class lead by Felicia Ovin. I have done quite a bit of yoga in my life, but this was definitely the most relaxing session I've ever been to. It was a 30 minute session of lying on the floor under a blanket, listening to the waves of the ocean and becoming aware of the sensations body parts experienced after tensing and relaxing them. It was such a relaxing experience that I could have easily gone to sleep after that session!


After yoga it was time to get serious with mindfulness-based sleep and trauma expert Hope Bastine. Do you suffer from Nomophobia (being addicted to your phone)? Oh yes, we went there! And we kind of have to in this day and age. The amount of time we spend on our phones is insane and it's not doing our bodies and minds any favours. To give you an idea: 

On average we spend more than 8 hours a day on our phones.
• Our attention span has reduced from 7 minutes to 3 minutes in the last 10 years, making it less than that of a goldfish!
• We are becoming less able to multitask because we are too focused on our phones.
• We are becoming more socially isolated because we are spending a lot of time on our phones instead of having conversations and interactions with the people around us.

That sounds quite serious, doesn't it? Luckily there are some changes we can make to help with this. Hope talked about "issuing a phone divorce", things you can do to make it easier to spend less time on your phone. Some of the things she discussed:

Changing your phone settings to black and white. This is perceived as "more boring" and will make it less interesting for you to be on your phone.
• Turn off notifications so that you're not tempted to check social media as often.
• Play a game called 'Phone Chicken' when you're out with friends. Everyone puts their phone on the table and the first one to pick it up pays the bill.
• Creating a 'no phone' zone like for instance the bedroom and put your phone away in a different room.
• No phone for one hour after waking up and 90 minutes before going to bed, allowing your brain to process the day and feel relaxed when going to sleep. This is based on the idea that our brains need an hour a day to process information.
• Track your phone usage and schedule in 'time off'.

That session was definitely something to think about. Next up was a little bit of aesthetics by Head of Design at M&S Karen Thomas and Senior Designer of M&S Sleep and Loungewear Sian Ross. These women are hardworking mums that lead busy lives and I can relate to that. They explained the importance of treating the bedroom as a retreat. A sanctuary in which you can truly come to rest. It's important for the room to have the ideal temperature between 16-18 degrees and to create that calm atmosphere with for instance nuances of greys and whites. Another tip they gave is to change into loungewear as soon as you come home, to really switch off and relax, and to have a little skincare ritual before going to sleep.


Clinical Nutritionist, personal trainer and yoga teacher Keris Marsden spoke about "Eating your way to healthy sleep". Her top tip:

"If it's grown in the ground or on a tree, if it runs, flies or swims in the sea, it's probably good for me."

Regular meal times, time restricted feeding and consistency are key. Our body is like a business that needs optimal communication and transportation, and requires constant updating and repair which you achieve with sleep. The last tip is quite a straight forward one, yet something I know I can do better and that is to keep processed food to a minimum.

There were so many more amazing speakers at the event, but I am mindful that this is becoming a very long post. So I will mention them and leave it for you to look up if you are interested.

Sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan talked to us about the myths sabotaging your sleep. Now this session had me in stitches the whole way through. This woman is absolutely hilarious and such a great laugh! She is so knowledgeable on the subject I would recommend reading one of her books.

Sophrologist Dominique Antiglio talked about coping mechanisms to deal with stress and anxiety and to conquer the Sunday Scaries - that moment on Sunday when you lie in bed and realise that you have to go back to work tomorrow.

DJ Krystal Roxx played her amazing Sleep Beats set to get us in the mood for bedtime and our bedtime story was provided by bestselling author Libby Page who read us a chapter from her new book The 24 Hour Café, the café that never sleeps. A story about the morning people and night owls. I loved hearing this and can't wait to read the rest of the book which is available from Amazon.

As you can probably tell, I have had an amazing day with Stylist at their Restival. It was a truly special experience and I hope you have found it just as interesting to read as it was for me to experience.


A massive thank you to Stylist Magazine, Zedwell Hotels, M&S and La Roche-Posay for inviting me to such an amazing event. And don't forget, on the 5th of February Stylist will be releasing a special issue of their magazine that will be entirely focused on the Restival and getting a better sleep, so make sure you grab a copy!

Do you have trouble sleeping or do you have any tips for those who do? Why not share them by leaving a comment below.

All that's left to say for now, is sweet dreams..

1 comment :

  1. The organization of such an evening with the participation of experts aims to solve the most important problem. Many visitors cannot cope with frequent insomnia