Sleep is the biggest Wellness + Beauty trend since dry brushing, but most of us don’t get enough of it. Nearly every study on the subject reveals that most adults don’t manage to get in the full 7 to 9 hours we need to function at our peak.
Is this why we’re all so tired all the time? (yes)
So what’s the problem? For most of us, external distractions (checking your Instagram feed at midnight, anyone?) work or relationship stress and a late night Netflix binge can all rob us of those precious minutes and hours we need to get a good night’s sleep.
Can you sleep yourself skinny? (Sort of)
Dark circles and a dull complexion are the least of it. Getting less than 7 full hours on the regular lowers our immunity and puts us at risk for bigger health issues like obesity, lower thyroid function, inflammation, cortisol and adrenaline rise, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and dementia.
Yikes! So how do we achieve true Beauty Sleep?
Everybody has different needs, of course. But there are a few golden rules to restorative sleep that most experts agree on.
Here they are in order of importance:
- Stick to a routine. This means that you should go to bed and rise at the same time each night. Tricky sometimes, but you can actually “train” your internal body clock to get sleepy and wake if you keep regular hours. Even on the weekends.
- Get some sunshine. Bright lights or a walk outside can help you reset your body’s natural circadian rhythm (the thing that tells your body when to wake and when to sleep).
- Do a nightly digital detox. That blue light glare on your screen is messing with your sleep. Try (seriously) to unplug at least an hour before you go to bed.
- Slow. Your. Roll. Simple things like dimming room lights, turning down the volume on the TV and stereo, clearing your mind and quieting your voice and mood will signal to your body that you are preparing for rest. This is also why you should avoid strenuous late night workouts!
- Establish a bedtime ritual. A relaxing bath and guided mediation are ideal, but even washing your face, brushing your teeth and a nightly cup of herbal tea can help ease you into restful, regular slumber.
- Watch what you eat (and drink). A late afternoon latte, that third glass of wine and a late night slice can all disrupt sleep patterns. I know because I’ve done all 3 in one day. Not good. A healthier idea is to try to avoid eating between dinner and bedtime, or if you do, make it a light, clean meal that’s not going to overtax your digestive system. Apple slices and almond butter? Perfect.
- Exercise daily! You know this is good for your overall health, but it’s especially helpful for sleep. Even a 20-minute walk to lunch and back is better than nothing, but do your best to get in a good workout each day.
- Refine your environment. Small changes in light, temperature and bedding can make a huge impact on your quality of sleep. You don’t have to totally redecorate, but try and limit the blinking lights from clocks and chargers, adjust your thermostat to a slightly cooler temperature (68 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal) and make sure your pillows and mattress are comfortable for you.
If you make these lifestyle changes and sleep still proves elusive, you can take it up a notch with these tried and true tips:
- Melatonin. The most popular natural supplement to induce sleep. You can get it over the counter almost anywhere.
- Magnesium. This is our go-to for a guaranteed slumber. You can buy a supplement, but we like it as a deodorant or spray on oil for the fastest and most effective delivery.
- Valerian. Often comes in a tea form, but you can find tablets, too.
- White Noise Generator. You can opt for a real machine or just an app. Either way, the background noise is meant to cut out other environmental factors (like noisy neighbors or a barking dog) and soothe you into sleep.
- Relaxed Breathing. There are plenty of meditative apps that can guide you into a deep restful sleep (just don’t look at your phone while you do it). Or try an unplugged version: We love the 4-7-8 Method.
- Black out curtains/Sleep Mask. Making your room totally dark might sound creepy but it works. Your body is naturally sensitive to light and can stop you from winging down. Try it for a few nights until you can re-establish your sleep rhythm.
- Sleep Diary. The National Sleep Foundation has a template for recording your sleep habits, but if you have an iPhone, there’s a native app right there that tracks it for you!
- Sleeping Aid. As a last resort, you can try something over the counter like Nyquil for Sleep. Try it for 3 nights in a row, and then stop, to see if you can reset your internal body clock. If that fails, you may need to see your doctor for something stronger.
We’ve been talking about sleep a lot in the office and this is what some of us to do when we want a good nights’ sleep:
- I exercise the s#*t out of myself.
- Then I scrub my body, do a facial, warm shower and moisturize before hopping into clean jammies and sheets!
- 2 hours before bedtime, I turn all the lights to super low, turn on and listen to an audiobook.
- I try to disconnect and turn my off phone at least an hour before bed.
- I limit caffeine and spicy foods late in the day.
- I try not to eat within two hours before my head hits the pillow
- But I DO drink a warm tea with honey before bed (Sleepy Time Chamomile tea, if you’re wondering)!
- I read a book for 30 minutes right before bed
- Oh! And fresh, clean sheets always help too!