Alissa Khan-Whelan in HONNA Pink Striped Pyjama

Sleep Series: Alissa Khan-Whelan

HONNA speaks to the wonderful Alissa Khan-WhelanCo-Founder of the infamous @world_record_egg, a media production company that aims to make mental health accessible, and Happy Yolk, a social media and PR communications agency, to find out how she gets a good night's sleep.

What do your days look like? 

I wake up at around 8am, but lay in bed snoozing for half an hour or so.

I will then pop my dressing gown on and make myself a hot black coffee, usually with a slice of toast or a peanut butter bagel.

Then I get ready for a morning of team meetings and client catch-ups. They help guide my to-do list for the day. I try to keep the afternoons 'meeting-free' to ensure I have a block of time to focus.

At lunch, I will take my dog Major for a walk or if I'm feeling it I’ll head to the gym. It’s a welcome break from the screen and I come back more energised to finish the day.

What do your nights look like?

I love evenings so much. They usually consist of a hearty dinner and then either an evening in front of the telly, dinner with friends, flicking through an interior design book or trying out a new local spot in East London.

What is your pre-sleep routine?

My pre-sleep routine starts in the bathroom with a simple skincare routine; a cleanser, serum, and moisturiser. I will then pop on my pyjamas and slippers for extra comfort around the house. I find my sleep is much deeper when I choose to read a book over screen-scrolling. I am an overactive thinker, so avoiding my phone a couple of hours before sleep certainly helps to quiet the mind.

How do you wind down?

I always indulge in a hot chocolate before bed. It’s a bit child-like, but it works for me because I have built up a strong association that it’s time to sleep when I have one.

Alissa Khan-Whelan in Pink Striped Pyjamas
Alissa wearing Powder Pink Stripe Pyjama Set

What keeps you awake at night?

Recently I have been planning the interior design of my new house. There are so many decisions that need to be made so I am finding inspiration and ideas at literally all times of the day, but — typically — they mostly pop up just as I put my head on the pillow.

How do you sleep generally?

I worry by writing this I will jinx it, but generally I am a great sleeper. I fall asleep easily and I get a lot of REM sleep, waking up feeling refreshed in the mornings.

When I was 18, I was travelling in Thailand and took an 15-hour coach trip across the country. The organisers had overbooked the coach which meant I had to sleep on the floor. I was right at the back on top of a hot engine and I slept through the whole thing, even though it bumpy and long — only to awake for when we stopped!

It turns out my ability to sleep wherever and whenever is a handy tool.

What are your views on naps?

I don’t like them, personally. I am a deep sleeper and would never get up.

Alissa Khan-Whelan Wears Powder Pink Stripe Pyjamas by HONNA
Alissa wearing Powder Pink Stripe Pyjama Set

What’s your favourite relaxation tip?

I spray my pillow with lavender pillow spray from This Works (… it works) or take a warm bath using lavender salts.

What’s your top sleep tip?

If you’re a bit of an overactive thinker, like me, and have lots of thoughts whirling at any given moment, I suggest journaling before bed. I dump everything that’s in my mind on paper, and then plan for the next day, to help me feel safe, in control and at peace before I need to sleep. 

I have completed several guided journals and I am always looking for new variations that ask interesting questions and provoke different thoughts in me.

At the moment I am using a guided journal called the Inner Queen Journal by my friend Wendy @thecompletioncoach and Megan Lane — I love it.

I also like the structure of Papier's wellness journals

What’s the first thing you do every morning?

Major isn’t allowed upstairs because I have no idea where he will go and what he might find to chew on! But he is trained to come up when asked. So if I am snoozing, which I usually am, I will call him up for a quick cuddle before the day starts.

Major’s favourite thing is to be in the company of other people, so it’s incredibly wholesome to see hear his happy little paws run up the stairs the moment he’s called — and then to watch his head pop through the door with a look of pure joy is just the best.

Are you a snoozer? 

Yes! My alarm goes off at 8am and I will snooze until or 8:30am.