My Sleep Kit: Jo Whiley

Talking to her plants and sinking into luxury pillows are both essential evening rituals for the BBC DJ and broadcaster. Oh, and leave the radio on.

A much-loved DJ and broadcaster, Jo Whiley, 56, has been on the airwaves for more than two decades. The host of the long-running weekday, later weekend, Jo Whiley Show on BBC Radio 1, she now presents her weekday evening Radio 2 show from 7.30-9pm. She’s also, of course, a regular presenter of the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage – which we love to watch from the comfort of our sofa.

Away from the music, Jo has been a passionate campaigner for the rights of those with learning disabilities to be prioritised for Covid vaccines. When she was offered the vaccine ahead of her younger sister Frances, who has a learning disability and diabetes and lives in a care home, Jo spoke out. “This happens so often – people with learning disabilities are neglected, they haven’t got a voice,” she said. 

Thanks in part to Jo’s awareness-raising, Government policy was changed. “Crying with joy at today’s news,” was her response on Twitter. “For all those with a (learning disability) who’ve lost their lives & for those who thought they’d been forgotten. We DO care and we WILL protect you.”

Cultural icon and campaigner, Jo Whiley is one of our favourite midlife women. Here, she shares the five items in her Sleep Kit. 

Ruark radio, £649

Ruark radio

It might not surprise you to hear that I listen to the radio through the night!  I have tinnitus and get a whistling noise in my ear that won’t go away, so distracting myself with other white noise helps me nod off.

It also gets worse with stress so having someone to cuddle – preferably my daughter Coco – always makes me feel utterly happy and calm, but alternatively I’ll squeeze my panda from childhood.

Add It To Your Sleep Kit

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Crocus plants, from a selection


Anything to do with gardening gets me off to sleep. Watering the plants and watching Gardeners World is just so gentle and absorbing. I finish my weekday Radio 2 show at 9pm so late evening is a great time to potter about inside or out.

I love gardening with a passion. It has given me huge happiness, and literally turned into an obsession which I find thrilling. It’s basic I think, watching something blossom and grow. I am now an ambassador for the Royal Horticultural Society, which is a real ‘pinch me’ moment.

Add It To Your Sleep Kit

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John Lewis Hungarian goose down pillows, £80

John Lewis pillows

Great pillows are really important. I get mine at John Lewis and they have to be goose down: They provide deep and full support on your head and neck while you sleep.

I have experimented and tried other pillows but they just don’t do the same job. Yes, these ones are expensive but they feel fantastic and really last.

Add It To Your Sleep Kit

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Designers Guild Spring Tulip Buttermilk Duvet Cover, £110 

Designers Guild

I think you have to set the scene in your bedroom so that it immediately induces a feeling of comfort and care. For me, pretty duvet covers and bed linen are essential. They provide beauty, calm and a sense of enveloping yourself in something that feels and looks good.

I particularly love Designers Guild for their vibrant colours and floral patterns. Colour really affects the way I feel. I also use it with fashion to lift me up.

Add It To Your Sleep Kit

Levitex mattress, from £499

Levitex mattress

A comfy mattress is a must, I’ve tried loads but now mine are from Levitex, which has a been a real find. Gabby Logan gave the tip off about this amazing brand, I highly recommend it.

Their mattresses are made of foam and designed to relieve back ache and improve your posture. They don’t have springs so no creaks in the night. I find them totally brilliant for a good night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Add It To Your Sleep Kit


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