How to sleep, according to fashion’s OG wellness guru

Happy World Sleep Day, from Norma Kamali!

Studio 54 fixture Norma Kamali is no stranger to an all-nighter. Step back into the heady disco days of NYC in the 1970s, and Kamali would be the first one on the dance floor. Now in her early 70s, little has changed on that front (“If someone is having a dance party, I invite myself. I’m there!” she told me last year”). Even after 50+ years in the fashion industry, dressing icons from Bianca Jagger to Beyoncé, the New York-born designer, muse and grafter ignites an infectious creative energy. A longtime wellness advocate, too, Kamali is all for personal care and beauty from the inside out. In the flesh her skin is clear, makeup free and literally glowing. Her secret? Sleep better (alongside diet and exercise). To celebrate World Sleep Day today (15th March), here’s NK’s guide to quality overnight restoration…

Switch off from technology

“Plan to end your mobile and laptop communication no less than an hour before bedtime. Make a home for your devices overnight. Shut them down and let them restore well before you are ready for bed. Never take any phone calls or send / check texts that may get your adrenaline going – try to take care of this early in the evening. Turning off the switch in your mind before bedtime means completing unfinished tasks, resolving challenges or having a plan for them in order to fully relax. I find this quite helpful.”

Try to find your calm in an age of chaos

“It’s important to get mediation in at some point during your day, every day. I have been meditating since 1970 – and my favourite trick to fit a session into a busy schedule is to meditate in the bathroom. Put down the lid, turn off the lights and either use a meditation app or on your own, create a breathing rhythm that takes you into your meditation.”

Spring clean your sheets!

“Make sure you choose your sheets, pillows, blankets and mattress very carefully. You must love the feel and scent of the fabrics, the texture and the colour. Good sheets and comforters are an investment you won’t regret, and if you take care of them, they can last.”

Escapism 101: Opt for a feel-good book, film or TV programme pre-bed

What were you watching or listening to before you began the ritual? Ideally choosing a book or movie or music that will be uplifting and pleasant – all great. I say this because the news of the day can be disturbing so do that early, not near bedtime.All of this isn’t always easy but having the intention and working towards it helps. Design your own sleep ritual the way you look at a vacation. Example: When you are stressed during the day, think about your sleep ritual and look forward to it the same way you might visualize your vacation.

Get moving during the day

“Everyone is different when it comes to when they workout, their choice of workout, and how often.My recommendation is do something every day. If you can do an hour a day of walking or classes or training – the benefits are so worthwhile. It makes you strong and protects your bones and your heart. Blood flows efficiently, digestion improves and you eliminate toxins from the body. Your skin looks radiant, your energy levels rise and endorphins kick in for a beneficial and positive high.”

Give your sleep-drobe a mindfulness makeover

“When you are preparing to go to sleep, work on all of your personal care and have special pyjamas or robes to wear before or during sleep. A big “no-no” is wearing the t-shirt and whatever you were lounging around in during the day or after work. They are messaging a different mindset, so separate your night-time sleep wardrobe. You can consider buying the same styles of fabrics to create a similar experience each night, or you can try different styles and fabrics so each night it is something to look forward to. Keep in mind they should be loose and soft. Since you are sweating toxins during the night, it’s important they are clean. So, an easy-care fabric is a good choice.”

Follow Norma on Instagram @normakamali. 

15 March 2019