Anna is Co-Founder of both the Silk Pillowcase and The M Word event, Ireland’s groundbreaking Menopause Summit. With twin boys, she aspires to a sleep routine again someday, and luxuriates in the rare early bedtime ritual.
Tell us about your sleep
I love sleep. Like any parent of young children, I have spent a decade craving it, and mourning the loss of that blissful nothing-ness. Menopause and technology have also been interrupters. I’m hyper-aware that poor quality and quantity of sleep is associated with so much physical and cognitive degeneration and that we need lots of good quality sleep to release human growth hormone. But finding the time is a challenge!
I start the kids’ bedtime routine at 8.30pm, and falling asleep with them around 10 after shared chats and reading is a pretty predictable end to my evening – then, invariably, I get up at 11 and ready the house for the next morning. That second wind means I too often check Twitter or the US media sites – especially in this era of Covid-19
Do you have a ritual?
Very occasionally I do manage a self care ritual. I have to be unashamedly selfish to make it happen though! An early evening bath, some epsom salts, a bottle of San Pellegrino and a podcast on the side. I recently started using AlumierMD Cleanser, Retinol and Vitamin C, after much encouragement from my good friend (and super-facialist) Carmel Mooney. A treat is to follow the bath with head to toe Clarins Relax Treatment Body Oil or Flora+Fiona’s Velvet Skin Body Oil. Those nights I am in bed early and sleep beautifully.
Every book I have read on sleep wisdom advises no technology but I used to find comfort in the hum of a low volume TV as I fell asleep. Or a good book, or both. With the kids, neither happens. I do seek out my silk pillow, which is often to be found in one of the boys’ beds, as my hair – usually coarse and disobedient – behaves so much better when I do.
Blackout or nightlight?
I like a chink of light somewhere. Complete blackness feels claustrophobic.
Any night waking?
Well… menopause! The thermostat was definitely out of order for a few years, but there’s still a touch of insomnia that goes with the territory. I’m a night owl by nature, and if I get on a roll with an idea, I feel tempted to cram too much into the wee hours. Terrible habit, which I’m working on!
Rarely these days. I don’t miss them.
Alarm, I couldn’t rely on my internal clock.
I’d happily forgo breakfast in favour of an extra hour in bed.
Sum up sleep
I so look forward to its return…