Beauties, are you aware of just how much your nightly rest affects your appearance? Your body needs quality time to repair environmental damage and general wear & tear each night, and without it you'll wind up looking more aged over time. Poor rest = poor repair, simple as that.
But getting 8 hours a night? It's easier said than done. In fact, trouble sleeping is one of the issues that my clients bring up most often. Here are the tricks that make the biggest impact, and also provide a little time for beautifying self-care at night:
- However hard it may be, power down at least 30 minutes before bed (preferably earlier!). This means cell phone, computer, television and iPad. No checking emails between the sheets (this tip makes me feel terribly hypocritical because I am guilty of it myself!), and consider charging your electronic devices outside your bedroom, to limit your nighttime exposure to EMFs. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “Electromagnetic pollution may be the most significant form of pollution human activity has produced in this century, all the more dangerous because it is invisible and insensible.”
- Take a soak before bed. When your core temperature raises, then falls (as it naturally does at night), it signals to your body that it's time to sleep. Help the process by taking a warm bath with soothing mineral salts and lavender essential oil.
- You never seem to have time to pamper yourself, so start a bedtime routine of moisturizing your body with a calming lotion or oil, and you'll get multiple beauty benefits. If you're up for it, try skin brushing first, then follow with a rich, hydrating moisturizer before slipping into comfy pajamas. Aren't you feeling relaxed already?
- Ever been kept awake by your racing thoughts? You probably make a mental to-do list for tomorrow, or worry about a problem that's making you anxious. Get it on paper and out of your mind before you turn off the light with a nighttime journaling session.
- Now don't go and catch a chill, but lower the temperature in your bedroom at night (shoot for 60-68 degrees F, the optimal range). Not only will you save on your heating bill, but keeping the temperature in that range is conducive to better rest. Throw on an extra blanket or heat up a hot water bottle if you are worried about a chill.
And finally, one natural sleep aid that may be a bit unexpected: Escape to Sleep.
This infusion of natural herbs and flowers in aloe vera water was created by Geraldine O'Keefe, an expert aromatherapist, herbalist and perfumer of international significance, to relieve insomnia, aid in relaxation and alleviate gastrointestinal problems that cause sleeplessness. I tried Escape to Sleep and experienced a fantastic night's rest, and was surprised at how pleasant the sweet, fruity herbal infusion tasted. Its flavor is complex (I found it to have juicy, peach notes), and incredibly calming. The best part? There's no drowsiness or grogginess to contend with the next morning.
Says O'Keefe, "Escape to sleep is infused with time-honored herbs such as valerian, passionflower, hops, and skullcap, and it is sweetened with stevia leaves. It contains fewer than 4 calories and does not include the natural or synthetic hormone, melatonin or 5-HTP." You won't find any sugar or artificial sweeteners in Escape to Sleep. For those who are considering an over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid (or are already using one and dealing with side effects), this natural tonic is a wonderful alternative that's already getting attention.
Fashion designer Norma Kamali has taken notice of Escape to Sleep, which is available for purchase in her Wellness Cafe in New York City, as well as online at thewellnesscafe.com. Escape to Sleep is also available (along with lots more info!) at escapetosleep.com.
I asked Geraldine, the true sleep expert, to share her own sleep ritual:
BIW: Could you share your own sleep rituals with Beauty Is Wellness readers?
Geraldine: I like to practice lucid dreaming. [Check out some of Geraldine's posts about lucid dreaming on the Escape to Sleep Facebook page] At the end of the day, to get ready, I light some incense, do a few yoga asanas, darken the room, lie down, take a few minutes to go over the day and let go of any "loose ends" or anything that might disturb my peace. Then, I do yoga nidra. When I am totally relaxed, I then think about what I would like to dream about. The object of lucid dreaming is to become conscious of being in the dream state. There are seven levels of consciousness. Most people are operating in the first three: waking, sleeping and dreaming. I think this is great practice that leads to being more aware even in the waking state and can lead us to the the fourth level.
Readers, what do you think- have you ever experimented with lucid dreaming? Would you try this botanical sip to get better beauty sleep this year? What's your favorite natural sleep aid?