Sleep out tips and tricks from our regular sleepers

18 November 2019

  • Author: Pascale Day, Senior Editorial and Web Officer
  • Reading time: 6 minutes

Sleep Out has finally begun, and we’re seeing people grabbing their thermals up and down the country to join us in raising money for London’s homeless young people. But if you’re new to Sleep Out, you may have some questions – should you go to work the next day? What’s the most important thing to bring? And how can you hit your fundraising target? Here, some of our regular corporate Sleep Out-ers give you their best tips and tricks to get you through the night and beyond.

“Keep your toes toasty,” Abby Chicken, Selfridges

"Easily my best piece of advice is to take a hot water bottle and fill it up in your office before you leave – it’ll keep your toes toasty in the middle of the night (it stays pretty warm!). In the meantime, you can tuck it in the waistband of your jeans as you walk around to stay cosy."

N.B: We will not be able to fill your hot water bottle for you at the event as there will not be enough hot water for everyone, so we second Abby’s idea!

“Don’t book the next day off work,” Melisa Clottey, Selfridges

"First, to feel the true essence of Sleep Out, don’t book the next day off or have a lie in.... be a tough, vivacious, Sleep Out champion. Get up and get on with your day. And keep yourself busy; it’s a remarkable yet sobering experience.

"Second, remember that cold feet always make it hard to sleep! I always bring three pairs of socks: two for me and one to lend out. Someone is always grateful.

"And last but not least, keep reminding friends and family about your fundraising, right up until your page closes! You might feel like a pest but people are busy and often genuinely appreciate a gentle prompt."

“Send out weekly email updates,” Danny Farenden, Barratt London

"My main trick is being persistent and ensuring people know what the big Sleep Out challenge is all about. I send an email weekly, adding new messaging why I am doing the challenge. I found updating my Facebook page weekly definitely helped, but adding new people to the email seems to do the trick and has raised the most money."  

“It’s all about the headwear,” Afolabi Oliver, Aksia

"I have one tip and one tip only: bring warm headwear that is comfortable enough to sleep in."

“Be creative with your fundraising,” Debbie Johnson, The Co-Operative Bank

"As soon as registration opened, I signed up and set my target at £500 – which, to be honest, I was probably a little bit ambitious (or so I thought!).

"I started by blogging on social media about the event – what I was doing and why – I followed Centrepoint on Facebook and shared the personal stories to raise awareness. I even blogged about the long johns that I purchased in preparation for the night!

"I politely pleaded with my friends and family to support me and donate whatever they could; even if it was just £1, every little helps. Every time a received a donation I personally thanked each person on social media. Friends shared my status updates and this lead to donations from people I didn’t even know – such is the power of social media!

I quickly passed my original target of £500 just from providing updates on social media. I must admit I did get a bit competitive – I stalked the leader board daily. I wanted to be at the top of the board, so I decided to adjust my original target to £1,000 which was a big stretch but it drove me to think of creative ways to raise as much money as I could.

"I decided to raffle a couple of gifts (to no one’s surprise a gin calendar on offer was a massive success; apparently I know a lot of people who love gin!). I am thrilled to report I raised a massive £2,062.41. I never dreamed in a million years I could raise that much."

“Get a head torch,” Nancy Shakerley, Disney

"Number one (and above everything): WEAR A HAT – maybe even two!

"Number two: Get a head torch

"Number three: Snuggle up to your colleagues!

"As for fundraising, a couple of members of our team organised a pub quiz, this was fun way to raise awareness and some extra funds!"

“Listen to your bladder,” Simon Garfield, Aksia

"I'd say, remember to go to the loo before you zip up your sleeping bag for the night!"

"Share your experience on social media,” Jazmin Brown, Howard Kennedy

"Sleep Out is very close to Christmas and so I reached out to family and friends and asked for their support for Sleep Out for Christmas. Everyone wants to help young people who don't have a safe place to call home, but sometimes people don't know how to help! Importantly, I also used the Sleep Out as an opportunity to educate my friends and family about the problem of youth homelessness, and the fact that 'rough sleepers' only account for a small portion of those who are in need. On the night, I posted lots of Instagram stories and shared photos, videos and my 'live reaction' to encourage further fundraising.

"When it comes to sleeping out, my advice in one word would be LAYERS! I thought I was relatively warm in the evening, but as soon as you lay down on the floor you soak up an unbelievable amount of cold from the ground. It is an uncomfortable night, but it is incredibly humbling when you start really to appreciate that you have a safe home to return to after the challenge. I also listened to a couple of podcasts to try and doze off when it was getting really late and I needed a distraction. There were some real champions around me who laid down on the floor and immediately fell asleep – I don't know how they did it!

"I went to work the day after Sleep Out – I chose to do this to reflect on what it must be like for people trying to go to school and hold down a job on little or no sleep. It is hard. When I finally got home and had a cup of tea that evening, I felt alarmingly aware of the parallel between my life and that of someone who doesn't have a safe space to call their home. I always make sure now that if I see a person in need, I say hello and stop for a chat if I can. It's the least I can do to show solidarity and it's something we can all do! I also reached out again to my friends, family and colleagues about my experience which encouraged more donations."