Hannah Cooper is a model, bonafide fashion icon and podcaster who has experienced a few rather strange sleeping issues (one of them being her husband, comedian Joel Dommett, eating porridge in bed at 1 am...). We had a chat about her relationship with sleep, past and present, and why she decided to make some changes to the way she winds down before bed.
What’s your relationship like with sleep?
I’ve never been a great sleeper. Even as a child I used to keep my parents awake, and I could never do sleepovers with friends. I had this thing where I couldn’t be the last one awake, I just couldn’t stand that for some reason. I still can’t. I’ve taken these habits into my adult life, only now I’m lying awake with my to-do list running through my head as well.
What was your bedtime routine like before you made some changes?
My bedtime routine used to be a little…unconventional. To help me drift off to sleep, I scrolled endlessly through Instagram and Pinterest. I used to go on a few too many YouTube deep dives as well.
Perhaps the strangest thing I used to do was get my husband, Joel, to put something on YouTube on his phone. Something boring, like a history video about the Tudors or something, and we’d both watch that until I fell asleep. I could only drift off knowing he was still awake and watching that video.
That’s definitely a unique way to get some shut eye! So would you say you mostly struggle with falling asleep?
Oh, definitely. I love a to-do list, and that always keeps my mind active at night. I guess I’m an overthinker. I sometimes create new problems just so I can solve them too. I’ve started to write them down to get them out of my head because now I’ve realised how unproductive that actually is.
Joel’s job must make his day-to-day routine a bit unpredictable. Does it affect your sleep?
Joel’s schedule can cause havoc with mine. Especially if he’s touring. He’ll come home in the early hours of the morning, which is pretty annoying in itself, but then he’ll eat porridge in bed as a snack before going to sleep. Yep, I know, it’s a very weird thing to do. The sound of him eating it drives me crazy.
But now he says, “You don’t even wake up to ask how my gig went anymore.” Well, I don’t think that’s rude of me when it’s 1 am - I’ll ask at a more appropriate hour, thank you very much haha.
Why did you decide it was time to make a change to the way you sleep?
My sleeping pattern got worse over lockdown. We had some family health problems which heightened all my worrying to a new level. Even though the health of my loved ones has since improved, I kept those bad habits post-lockdown, which was very frustrating.
What have you done to help you get better sleep?
Learning to switch off has been the biggest thing, both my mind and my phone. I know we read about how important it is to wind down at night and have a proper routine, but it wasn’t until I actually put it into physical practice that I realised how much technology disrupts me, through the day and the night.
How do you feel now when you wake up in the morning?
Younger! Or maybe I should say fresher? I definitely have more clarity and feel less groggy in the day than I used to be. But I’ll be honest, the fact that I need less concealer under my eyes has been the main perk.
What’s your top tip for winding down for better sleep?
The Morphée sleep aid is an absolute gem. The soothing voice of the meditation has really helped me, and I really enjoy the wave sounds too - although I think it makes my husband need the loo more. We’re still figuring that one out.