Sleep Series: Barbara McMillan

Sleep Series: Barbara McMillan

What do your days look like?

I’m always up early. I haven’t set an alarm in years as my children will wake me between 6-7am. We have breakfast together — jam on toast and a strong coffee for me — then school run and on to the office, where I check on my emails and work through the day's to-do list, which can be anything from prepping shoots and checking in on production with our factory to accounting and finance.

What do your nights look like?

I always try and be off the computer by 7pm at the latest. Running a small business is so demanding, I find it important — now more than ever — to really separate evenings from working hours. After I’ve put my children to bed, I will try to have a hot bath to reset, then change into pyjamas (I'm currently living in our Powder Blue Stripe Shorts Set)  and then either read or watch something on Netflix.

What is your pre-sleep routine?

I put my phone away, so I can really check-out, have a hot drink, usually lemon or ginger tea, then I will double cleanse and moisturise my face, and get into bed. I do always use an eye mask and pillow spray, that's my bedtime ritual.

How do you wind down? 

When I can, I go for a late evening walk with my dog — usually about an hour — as it's so relaxing at the end of a busy day spent mostly at a screen. I try to do either a Zoom pilates class or a wild swim once a week. I also have a strict rule of no television in the bedroom, but I do like to watch something before I head to bed, just for an hour to slow my mind and switch off.


What keeps you awake at night? 

I am a natural worrier. I will always worry, but I’m trying to less about things I simply have no control over. 


How do you sleep generally? 

It's no-one's fault but my own, but I am a terrible sleeper — made worse by light sleeping children. I do get into bed by 10pm to give myself the best possible chance. I tend to sleep well in the early hours so, as soon as I’m really getting into a nice sleep, someone wakes up for the day and that’s it, I’m up.


What are your views on naps? 

I always encourage others to nap, but I struggle myself. Even if I'm flat-out exhausted, I will fall asleep and feel ten times worse when I wake up, so I try and just get to bed at a reasonable hour in the evening.


What’s your favourite relaxation tip? 

I would say breathing, which I learnt during pregnancy, and I still turn to techniques when I'm stressed now. Also the power of a hot drink and no devices or distractions, preferably outside, being totally present for at least 10 minutes to just take in the calm and quiet.


What's your top sleep tip? 

When I'm having a particularly busy week, I find it really hard to stop my mind racing. From a very young age, the technique I've used to drift off has always been the same; pick a nostalgic place (my childhood home or garden, for me) and then take a walk around each room. I find it's the only thing that works, I don't know why and it's so simple but it always sends me to sleep and I've started telling my daughter to do the same when she can't sleep.


What’s the first thing you do every morning? 

I come downstairs, put toast in and make a coffee. If the weather is nice, I'll always try and take a moment outside. Absolutely no phone or emails until I sit at my computer at 9am.


Are you a snoozer? 

Yes, I love to snooze. I can never just spring out of bed and I find the older (and more tired) I am getting, the longer I snooze.