Elle Macpherson: how I get a good night’s sleep in mid-life

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Our founder and Get the Gloss columnist reveals how she survived on four hours’ sleep as a ‘90s supermodel, but these days is a pro at restorative slumber. From a pre-bed sauna to her bedside white noise machine, here are her tips for maximising your beauty sleep.


Until recently, I never really paid much attention to the accepted view that eight hours’ sleep are necessary each night. Instead, I lived proudly and happily on four or five hours a night, especially during my modelling days in the 1990s.

Back then, I was on the road so much I didn’t know if I was coming or going but I always managed to power through. There were times when I got to bed as the sun was rising after a night out. Feeling anxious about having so little sleep, knowing I had to be up and ‘together’ in an hour or two for work, was not as glamorous as you might imagine, believe me, but I managed this for years. I would very much depend on caffeine to jolt me awake for the day ahead.

As I get older (I’m 60 in March) my sleep has changed, much like many women after mid-life. I remember those night sweats and restlessness! I also remember sleep improving greatly after the boys left home and I wasn’t listening for the car to pull in on a Friday or Saturday night after they’ve been out.

Here are my four tips for a great night’s sleep.

Careful of the caffeine (sorry!)

I don’t drink coffee anymore, preferring a gentle yet powerful awakening with a steaming hot matcha latte made with oat milk (Elmhurst Barista is my go-to). If I’ve been travelling or working late, I don’t wake up groggy anymore unless my diet has been messy, so the need for a fast fix isn’t as prevalent as it used to be back then.


Aim for 8 hours (my magic number)

These days, I value sleep and make a conscious effort to be sure I get a quality eight hours. Having said that, my emphasis is on the quality of the sleep, not the quantity.

I consider sleep to be the primary wellness mechanism responsible for you feeling and looking your best. It’s like a full body reset with so many invaluable benefits: good sleep supports weight, emotional well-being, blood pressure, mental and physical performance, your immune system and more. WelleCo formulator and my long-time friend Dr Simoné Laubscher PhD puts it beautifully: “Every day, we build up and carry a toxic load and sleep is key to allow our nervous system to rest and detoxify.”

She likes to remind me of an interesting study by Prather et.al in NCBI 2015, which revealed that adults who regularly slept less than six hours per night were almost five times more likely to get a cold than those who slept for more than seven hours a night. Dr Laubscher believes five hours’ sleep is the tipping point for poor health and swears by seven to nine hours, particularly for a healthy immune system.


Read the rest of our founder’s column over at Get the Gloss.