Think of your doctor in their favourite bathrobe. Your boss in PJs and fuzzy slippers. Elton John all curled up in bed…
The point is – no matter what we do out in the world – nothing gets us through a long week like the promise of slipping between the sheets and winding down.
For this week’s edition of Pillowtalk we're chatting to Pip Roberts - the head and heart behind Now Studio in Bristol, about disco naps (yes, really!), yoga nidra and our favourite topic - sleep.
Photo Credit: Brenna Duncan
You specialise in disco naps and yoga nidra – can you explain a little about that practice?
Yoga nidra literally translates from Sanskrit to 'yogic sleep'. It is a meditative practice, where you listen to the words of the guide whilst laid down under a blanket. There’s no movement necessary and it restores you on a mental, physical and emotional level.
It is the one yogic practice I do every day without fail. Honestly, rest like this is a total game changer!
A disco nap is an afternoon nap before a big night out – the type that offers a little more stamina to keep you going.
Back in 2016 I was living the dream… Summer was on a beautiful private Croatian island with wellness by day and parties at night. I really wanted to get more of the island guests to connect with this super powerful practice so they could feel rested and revived.
It’s for those who usually wouldn’t go anywhere near something that started with 'yoga'. The type that just fancy a really good lie down in the afternoon before an evening of fun. And so, the ancient practice of yoga nidra, became 'disco naps' under the pine trees in the shade.
These days life is less about the dance floor and more about running a creative wellness space at Now Studio in Bristol, but the practice of nidra still holds me.
What drew you towards this, especially when yoga has been translated as more a form of exercise than a meditative practice in many studios?
I used to do those practices too (and on occasion still like a taste of them)! I’m someone that does a lot… I guide yoga practices, run a wellness studio, mentor and coach other yoga teachers and programme festivals.
My yoga practice used to be the same… Speedy with a lot of poses. It was unsustainable to say the least, and along with the speed of life in London I was completely doing myself in... Something had to shift.
So, I switched out my physical practice for a more restful one of nidra every other day and I felt reborn. Embracing the quieter, more feminine energy of the lunar arts practices (the more restorative side of yoga), allows ‘feeling’ over ‘doing’ and it has meant that I can continue to do all the other stuff that really makes me tick.
Working with the power of rest does not mean I lay about doing nothing all the time. It means that I use the power of rest to be able to do more when need to do more. I come to ‘doing’ with a fullness and my whole-self there.
I honestly feel that the practice nidra, has connected me deeply into my body in a way that wasn’t there before. It’s shifted both the way I move and the way I feel my body… The way I can create and the way I work. I feel very connected – it has been a total overhaul.
Photo credit: Kasia Kiliszek
Is yoga nidra a form of meditation, or is it a way to actually help you drift off to sleep?
Technically it is a form of meditation, but some of them can help you drift off to sleep whilst others are quite energising.
What usually gets in the way of a good night’s sleep for you?
Excitement for life! Once my head starts putting an idea together it can keep me too energised to rest.
Pip sleeps in Linen in Ink
What would we find on your bedside table that might help you get into that relaxed state of mind?
I have CBD oil, Ashwagandha capsules, facial oil, face massage tools and a few “rocks” as my other half calls them… A huge chunk of hoplite, a black tourmaline and a rose quartz. I always have a pint of water before bed.
What’s the first thing you do when you get home?
I usually head straight for the fridge as soon as I get home from the studio and chat to my man with my head in it whilst I am scouting for snacks. The awkward working hours required to run a studio means that I usually eat dinner early at 5pm before heading back to work. I’m then ravenous when I return home late into the evening!
Do you have a ritual before you go to sleep?
The wind down usually starts in the bathroom with a wash, then once I am in the bedroom I give myself a mini facial with acid, oils and a face massage. Next it’s time for CBD oil and Ashwagandha capsules before selecting a sleep meditation app and drifting off to sleep.
It makes such a difference to drop into this little ritual, to disconnect from the day and get back to me. I like to think of it as a literal ‘washing off’ of the day and tending to my own self.
How important is your environment when it comes to drifting off? What can people do to make the perfect space for sleep?
The biggest thing for me is temperature - it needs to be warm enough but not too warm. I usually sleep with a window open for fresh air and bedding plays such an important part of this (Pip sleeps in Linen in Ink).
I try not to be too ‘Mariah Carey’ about it all but my bedding HAS to be 100% natural materials - otherwise the whole temperature regulation thing goes out of the window. My sheets need to be soft and welcoming and my sleeping space needs to feel calm and inviting.
I find the way to keep it feeling calm and inviting is not to do much else in the room apart from rest. Energy remains in a room after you’ve finished doing what you are doing - so binging on Netflix or working from your bed is not conducive to getting a good night’s rest.
What are a few essential home comforts you need to get to sleep?
High thread count pyjamas and good quality bedding.
Any top tips for people that find it hard to drift off?
I find the Insight Timer app so useful for finding a nidra, spoken in a voice to suit everybody’s taste. There are some seriously dreamy tones available on there.
Pip's Lie-in List
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, not only had the science behind sleep to educate me but also the audiobook to make me drop off instantly every time I tried to listen. I’d recommend the print version if you want to learn and the audio version if you need to drop off
Radiolab satisfies my inner geek quite nicely.
@thenapministry removes any guilt you may feel about rest.
Pukka Tea for their herbal support of sleep.