Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Journalist
Vicki-Marie Cossar is a freelance journalist and qualified personal trainer with over 20 years’ writing experience. A writer for the Metro weekly Wellbeing supplement, Vicki-Marie joins the Tielle Sleep Panel as an advisor on health, fitness, beauty, wellbeing and the joys of parenting twins.
How do you make time for yourself as a busy mum?
Everyone knows the importance of self-care but finding time for yourself often feels impossible when you have young kids. My happy place is my bed, so at least once a week I’ll try and do a face mask, then go to bed early for a bit of peace!
How many hours sleep do you get?
I often work until late, so I normally only get about six hours of sleep, less if the twins wake at night. Luckily my husband and I have different body clocks - he's a lark (early riser) and I’m a night owl - so we can swap parenting duties to suit our needs. When I started at the Metro, I also had an evening bar job making cocktails, sometimes until 2am, so I’m used to staying awake until late.
How do you sleep when travelling?
I’ve always found it easy to sleep on planes and trains; the rocking sensation has a soporific effect. However, that’s not always a good thing. I was once flying in a Hercules military aircraft wearing full protective gear into the British military base in Basra to cover a story when I could feel myself drifting off to sleep.
What do you wear for a great night’s sleep?
Something cotton for breathability, although nothing beats a pair of silk pyjamas. Design-wise, I love the colour and vibrancy of the Desmond & Dempsey sleepwear range.
I try not to snack too much in the evening, but do enjoy a glass of red wine. I eat with the kids at tea-time then sit down to work at about 8pm after their bedtime.
How close to bedtime do you recommend exercise?
It depends on the exercise – a low-intensity yoga workout before bed is very different from high intensity interval training (HIIT), which will release hormones that can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle. How close to bedtime you should exercise is the subject of ongoing research, but a recent study by Concordia University found that exercise ending two hours before bedtime helped promote sleep onset and increase sleep duration. Exercise that ended less than two hours before bedtime had the reverse effect.
What’s the best way to relax when you’re sleep deprived?
I’m a bit of a water baby so I take a bath when I need some R&R. I’ll lie there, dunking everything but my eyes and nose under the water. As I get to trial a lot of skincare and wellbeing products through work, I’ll often add something with a calming heady scent to the bath, such as sandalwood.
Where’s the craziest place you’ve slept?
That’s an easy one! It has to be Mount Everest Base Camp as part of a UCL medical study looking at how the human body adapts to low levels of oxygen at high altitude. We trekked from Katmandu to the base camp where we stayed for three nights at high altitude, in freezing temperatures and to the regular ‘whumpf’ of avalanches. You can read more about it here.
What would be your dream sleepcation?
I've been lucky to stay in lots of luxury hotels, B&Bs and retreats for work and leisure, and love little touches of luxury like a pillow menu. They make a big difference to your stay. My ultimate destination (and I’m manifesting here!) would be an overwater bungalow somewhere tropical with a wellbeing ethos, good gym, great watersports and a decent cocktail list.
Where have you had the best night’s sleep?
I don’t think you can beat your own bed for a good night’s sleep. My only caveat is that the sheets have to be ironed (on my side at least). I can’t sleep on wrinkly, crumpled sheets.
Tell us about your own bedroom
We began renovating our new home just before the pandemic and while we’ve gutted the bedroom and given it a lick of paint, it’s not to my taste. Our plan is to relocate the master bedroom to the loft where it will become a dreamy light-filled space with some opulent art deco styling, fancy linen and a statement bed.