Thirty-four Stylist readers and staff had the night of dreams at Restival, our first ever sleep festival. Grab your slippers and sneak behind the scenes with us
Wearing matching striped pyjamas, fluffy slippers and draped in soft, grey blankets, a group of women inhale, hold their breath then shrug their shoulders in unison. It may sound like the gathering of a bizarre cult, but these women – Stylist team members and readers – are actually meditating at the inaugural Stylist Restival.
With a day of expert workshops, sleep-inducing food and relaxation sessions followed by a night at new ‘sleep hotel’ the Zedwell in London’s Piccadilly, our aim was to uncover the secrets to a perfect night’s rest.
The combination of stressful jobs, busy lives, social media and everyday anxiety has meant that Stylist readers often tell us they’re tired all the time and that sleep has become a major problem. “That’s something I really relate to,” editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski told guests on 19 January. “Women are getting so good at so many aspects of self-care, but we’re still not getting some basics, like sleep, right. At Stylist we like to think about how we can help women. We want everyone to feel strong, calm and happy and that means getting the foundations right.”
So we found the best experts in the business and invited them to share their wisdom at our Restival. Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, author of The Little Book Of Sleep, debunked tired sleep myths; Lisa Sanfilippo, psychotherapist and yoga teacher, tackled the gender sleep gap; sleep coach Felicia Ovin taught a yoga nidra workshop; and psychologist Hope Bastine told us how to uncouple from our phones.
Next: food. After nutritionist Keris Marsden explained how beneficial antioxidants – found in fruit, vegetables and spices – are for sleep, guests tucked into The Detox Kitchen’s chickpea dal, part of a delicious menu designed to aid sleep. Dominique Antiglio’s sophrology session had us shrugging our shoulders furiously to ease the Sunday scaries (it works!), Krystal Roxx played a slow- paced DJ set and author Libby Page read the perfect bedtime story.
Rooms at the Zedwell are designed to limit distractions with subtle lighting, no windows and no TV screens. M&S kitted everyone out with pyjamas, slippers and luxury bedding, while beauty partner La Roche-Posay sorted the skincare for a pre-snooze pamper.
And the results? “I usually wake three or four times during the night and end up looking at my phone,” said one guest, Robyn Donaldson. “Last night, I reminded myself what Dr Ramlakhan said about micro wake-ups being normal, and I went straight back to sleep. I feel exceptional today.” Jasleen Kaur admitted, “I did yoga nidra in bed last night and I dropped off before I managed to finish the practice.” Fiona Thompson Shaw was just as impressed. “I have a big event at work this week and usually I would never be able to sleep but I fell asleep straight away,” she said.
For more on the sleep wisdom we picked up, read our Sleep Guide.
Images: Bronac McNeill
M&S designs homeware and nightwear that gives a great night’s rest, and is the official partner of the Stylist Restival 2020.