Sleep habits: Annie Clarke, yoga and meditation teacher

Annie Clarke is an East London based yoga & meditation teacher, author and founder of lifestyle and wellbeing blog, Mind Body Bowl.

We talked to Annie about her relationship with sleep and how she switches off after a working day...

How important is sleep to your personal daily life?

It’s really important and I definitely notice a shift in my day and energy levels when I haven’t had a peaceful night's sleep. I’m pretty sensitive to noise which isn’t such a great thing when you live in London! However, I am learning to take things a little slower when I’ve had a rough night's sleep, instead of trying to force high energy. It’s not always easy, but even just noticing how sleep makes me feel is pretty powerful.

How do you switch off after a working day?

I’m a big believer in making a space between our working day (and all the “doing” that comes with it) and our bedtime. As someone who doesn’t have one place of work to commute home from (something most of us are familiar with now, not just the freelancers and self-employed), it is not always easy. I find atmosphere plays a big part - so that could be putting on a chilled playlist, cooking dinner, keeping the lights dimmed, or putting my phone away can all help switch off. Doing some gentle movement like yoga or going for a walk after you’ve finished work for the day is also a lovely way to shift from the working day to evening.

Annie in our Grey Sleep Set

What does a typical sleep routine look like to you?

A good skincare routine (when I’m being organised), reading, no phones in the bedroom, and minimal screen time to help switch off.

What is your bedroom like?

We just re-painted our bedroom and it’s becoming the calmest room in the flat. We have an exposed brick wall to keep things cool and the painted walls are now a beautiful, soft pink/cream colour. It’s uncluttered, with just the basics and lots of comfy cushions and soft linens.

Annie's Sleepy Edit. Clockwise from left: Annie in the Lotus Pose; Luxe + Hardy's Seafoam Sleep Set; A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara; Balance Me Beauty Sleep Hyaluronic Mist

What is your sleep position? 

I always sleep curled up on my side and usually stay that way for the whole night.

Do you follow any self-care rituals to help you sleep better?

I try to make sure that I have some time off screens before bed and keep my phone out of the bedroom to avoid temptation. I have a lovely spray mist by Balance Me that I spray across my collarbones when I get ready for bed and that signals that it is bedtime.

What are your top “sleep well” tips?

If I’m struggling to switch off, I often head to my mat. Sometimes I’ll just sit with my eyes closed and follow my breath, or I’ll do some gentle movement to help calm my body and mind. A few examples could be child's pose, supported pigeon or lying with my legs up the wall.

Don’t try to force things - if you're sensitive to light, sleep with an eye mask or invest in blinds or curtains that shut out more light. If you’re sensitive to noise, maybe get some earplugs. We all sleep differently.

Ah, and I love a good pair of pyjamas to stay comfy and cosy!

Have you ready any good bedtime books lately?

I try to read fiction at bedtime to help my brain unwind. I prefer to read in the morning as I only get about a page in before falling asleep if I read before bed! I loved A Little Life and Shantaram, although both were a big commitment to get through!

Find out more about Annie here