Sleep Muse: Bettina Khan

Words by Louise Miller

Photography by Brit Gill

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On the day of our shoot with Bettina Khan and her daughter Valentina, we met them at Jericho beach in Vancouver. We all wandered over to a bit of a hidden hideaway: a special spot underneath a giant willow tree. There were reeds swaying in the background, making the whole thing feel like a hazy dream.

We chose Khan—a feminist and philanthropist—as the muse for our Sleep blend because as a mother, she understands the importance of creating a bedtime ritual—for both her daughter and herself. While Khan admits that finding time for herself is rare, she has carefully and thoughtfully made sure those last few minutes before bed are well spent with her loved ones (with no technology in sight).

We chatted with Khan via email about misunderstandings regarding marriage, sleep, and sex, as well as what drives her, and her bedtime routine for Valentina—which sounds like the most lovely way to end the day.

You are an absolute powerhouse with a strong business and philanthropic background. How do you recharge? Do you ever have trouble turning your brain off and getting to sleep?

I recharge by moving my body, meditating, and laughing with my amazing husband and daughter. No matter where I am or what time of day it is, taking a deep breath re-centres me and connects me to the present moment. To ensure I can get solid sleep (which is mega important, but often rare with a baby), I power down anything electronic well before bed and have an intentional, connected moment with my husband.

What are some of your evening rituals? How have some of these changed since having Valentina?

I have a few simple rituals in life—and my bedtime routine is sacred. I lost connection to my evening rituals after having V because I only understood how to take care of her. I acknowledge the importance of self-care, especially now that I am a mother, because it’s easy to completely forget about myself. I am getting back on track. I like to take another shower before bed as I probably have food in my hair or sand stuck to me after our daily adventures. I slick my body with high-quality oils, including vitruvi essential oils. I read, spend time with my husband, and meditate.

What’s on your nightstand?

Water, coconut oil, my gorgeous vitruvi diffuser, and Lavender oil. What’s not on my nightstand? My phone.

How have you cultivated a sleep ritual or bedtime routine for Valentina?

I want to teach my daughter to indulge in and appreciate the simple beauty of life. I also show her my passions for music, art, and culture. Her bedtime routine is a reflection of these things and is so much fun. It includes a lively bath with gentle oils, a full-body massage while listening to Sade, and stories by a variety of authors who write to inspire love, acceptance, and adventure. Before she goes to sleep, I tell her how much I love her and that she’s my best friend.

You have started a number of initiatives around the wedding industry, love, and real talk. What do you think are some of the most misunderstood things about marriage, sleep, and sex?

The most misunderstood things about marriage, sleep, and sex are that they have to be one prescribed way. Our intuition is there to guide us. I think so often we are searching for answers outside of ourselves, but I strongly believe the answers we seek are always waiting for us. We just have to listen. And when it comes to sex specifically, it’s simple: find someone who you can be fully self-expressed and have lots of headboard-breaking sex with!

What fuels you and fills you up with drive and energy?

I am fuelled by the thought of my legacy. I constantly think about the sacrifices my family made so I could be here now. I think about how I can stand on their shoulders and honour their hard work. I think about future generations—my children and their children. I consider how I will be remembered and what I did to propel their lives.

How do you take time for yourself?

Honestly, time for myself is rare. I carve out time to exercise and meditate daily to sweat, re-centre, and get present to what truly matters.

This interview has been edited and condensed.