Louise Morelli came to Monaco from England in 2005 with her partner. She married here and her daughter was born here five years later. And this is where the story of her business began. As much as she loved being a mum, her daughter was not a good sleeper. Exhausted, Louise tried to find a solution and in her desperation ended up buying a pdf guide on how to get your baby sleeping through the night. “I followed this plan and to my amazement, it worked! Small human beings don’t tend to follow the plan, but this time it worked!,” she tells me over lunch at the Conscientiae. 

The relaxing atmosphere of the environment around us is a perfect place to talk about sleep. World Sleep Day is being celebrated every year on the Friday before the March Equinox which this year happens to be Friday, March 15.

Raising awareness about the importance of sleep became Louise’s passion but ironically it was learning about sleep that woke her up and led her on the most amazing self discovery path. 

After a year of study and work with volunteer families Louise became qualified as a Sleep Coach in 2017 and launched her business in Monaco Gently to Sleep (www.gentlytosleep.com). 

“I now help exhausted parents to guide their children to better sleep and I absolutely love what I do. Sleep is everything, whether you are a parent or not, and if you’re not getting enough sleep then everything in life is a problem.  Your ability to think clearly is affected, your relationships are affected and your hormones and emotions can be all over the place.”

Her success rate with sleep is very high. However she quickly began to notice that, despite the success of the personalised plans and support she offered, there were some parents, and in particular Mums, who struggled with implementing the changes. “When I meet parents or have zoom calls with them, I frequently see women struggling. I see them struggling to make decisions, I hear their guilt, self-judgement and feelings of failure. I see the relationship with her partner strained and often see that she is scared to speak up or feels that his opinion has greater value than hers.”

This touches her and she often organises a call with mum to see if she is okay. A truly holistic Sleep Coach doesn’t just look at sleep as the whole family unit needs to be healthy for everything to work well. Louise has frequently met women who were knocked off their feet by the transition to motherhood. “It’s a huge life change and one that needs support.”

“I see this a lot with my local resident mums. Monaco is a place where people come and go and there are so many families here living without their extended families. There is no mother or mother-in-law nearby, no sister, no best friend, no aunties, no grandmothers… no help from the wise women that previous generations enjoyed as support. I see that women who previously had high-powered positions or successful careers often find this transition difficult. Where has her team gone?” 

“For men”, says Louise,”the transition to fatherhood is a different journey. Largely their lives continue as they did before, albeit with a new little life or lives in the mix. They get up and go to work, their social life often remains and they don’t have a small person (or small people) attached to them all day. Their career is certainly unaffected by becoming a father.  The expectation is still that women do the bulk of the caregiving for children and this is a heavy load in the modern world.”

But It isn’t just new mothers who lose their sense of self, according to Louise. “I see so many women when I walk around Monaco who on the face of it really have it all. But then I look into their eyes and there is another story. I see it all the time in photos of public events. Women living the ‘perfect’ Riviera life with eyes that just don’t sparkle. Why is this? Is something missing?  What is behind the façade?”

“Added to the problem is that they can’t talk about this. Many around them are in the same position and family and friends back home will look at them and say, “Wow look at your life! You lucky thing you have everything. That’s a real privilege!”  If they complain or say they are unhappy, they fear they’ll be met with ridicule or simply not be understood. How ungrateful to have ‘all this’ and still feel unhappy!”

Louise says that genuine happiness needs a genuine life and there are ways to find this.

She used to be a competitive runner – often winning the race – and daily exercising is still a big part of her being, albeit on a slightly more spiritual level. 

She became a teacher of Tibetan yoga. “Tibetan yoga is very functional and Lu Jong (healing Yoga) works positively on the body; physically, emotionally and energetically. I also teach a practice called Tog Chöd (The Wisdom Sword) which is a powerful series of movements with a wooden sword that works on your greatest enemy, that is, your own negative thoughts and emotions. There are no enemies outside yourself, and with the beautiful movements of Tog Chöd we work to cut and stomp on our own negative thoughts and emotions. It’s truly liberating.

“I am also a Méthode Dô practitioner. This takes the form of a massage, but is in fact, an exploration of the self. In looking at the body’s energy meridians (the same ones pinpointed in acupuncture) it is possible to see the emotional health of a person.

“Each energy meridian is linked to an organ within the body and in turn this organ is linked to an emotion. If I find pain or resistance we can discover the emotion that is linked to that. The body holds the story of our lives and does not lie. Our conscious mind might try to say everything is okay, but the subconscious will always bring out the truth.”

With these practices, Louise offers the chance for a woman to really know who she is, discover her emotional health and find ways, if she chooses, to make changes in her life to improve her situation.

“I now offer Cocoon day and weekend retreats. The cocoon is a place of transformation and it’s important to have space in your life to reflect. Daily life is noisy and busy, and often women find themselves at the bottom of a list of priorities. Time in my Cocoon is time just for you. I find beautiful spaces and give women time there to reflect and recharge. We practice Tibetan yoga, breathwork and meditation with sessions of one-to-one Méthode Dô given. If you really feel stuck, if you feel something is wrong but don’t know what it is or if you just want to feel happy again then Cocoon is a great place to start,” Louise says.

“Change can only come from within, but I offer a safe space to explore this and a hand to hold during the journey. I’ve experienced this process myself and I know it isn’t easy and can feel overwhelming, but I know the transformation that can come.”