Build a Better Beauty Sleep Ritual

Osmia Night Body Oil— relaxing to the nervous system and so restorative to your skin.

Osmia Night Body Oil— relaxing to the nervous system and so restorative to your skin.

I absolutely love sleep.

I've said many times that good sleep is even more valuable than the most expensive night cream you can buy. It's so important for skin, energy, weight, moods—you name it—that I devoted a whole chapter to beauty sleep in my book Eat Pretty. Did you know that when you sleep your body secretes anti-aging hormones that boost skin cell production, increase collagen synthesis, and speed up damage repair? And that lack of sleep contributes to collagen breakdown, immune suppression, as well as slowed metabolism and cravings for sugar and simple carbs? Good sleep is a beauty MUST HAVE.

One key to getting the kind of sleep that's most restorative to your skin and balancing to your hormones is regularity. Your body, and nature, loves a regular cycle. Maintaining a similar schedule of sleep and wake times goes a long way toward optimizing your restorative pillow time. And the time you turn out the light and go to sleep is also key. I strongly believe that there is an ideal bedtime window (which varies in individuals but is between 9 and 11pm in general) for falling asleep to prevent a nighttime surge in cortisol, the stress hormone that has many negative effects on your beauty and sleep if it remains high. Find your ideal lights-out time (mine is 10:30) and try not to stay up past it.

And there's really so much more you can do to get fabulous beauty sleep. Ahead, I share some of the most effective strategies for optimizing your precious hours of beauty rest...

My top 5 beauty sleep rituals—practice them to look & feel better in the morning!

1. Shut off your devices at a reasonable time. When I'm on my computer or phone late, my sleep is noticeably worse. Blue light from screens is partially to blame, but your brain being keyed-up with work or social media plays a part too. I try to set a nightly shut-off time for my devices (say, 9pm) and stick to that as often as I can to protect my sleep health.

2. Sip something warm and calming. I keep a stash of herbal teas and reach for them when I want snacks, sweets, or chocolate late at night—which I know will disturb my sleep. Many herbal teas actually help relax you. Nighttime favorites include a digestive blend (see p 309 in Eat Pretty Every Day for ingredients), tulsi, or a Natural Calm magnesium drink, which further relaxes the body and prepares it for restful sleep.

3. Take a bath. You already know that baths feel amazing, but do you know why they're especially sleep-inducing? Baths raise your body temperature and then lower it when you exit the bath, signaling to your body that it's time for sleep. Add some salts and essential oils like lavender and sandalwood for even greater chill factor. I'd take one every night if I could, but I settle for days when I've been especially busy or stressed, and it helps me wind down.

4. Set aside nightly self-care time. Yes, washing your face counts as self-care. But I challenge you to do more. If you bathe or shower at night, definitely opt for a dry brushing ritual, followed by a head-to-toe natural or organic body oil or lotion. Your skin and body will be so relaxed, and you'll get the best sleep. Right now I am using the incredibly lovely Osmia Night body oil from the latest Beauty Heroes Discovery Box, and it's the best pre-sleep oil I've ever used. It combines more than a half-dozen organic oils (think evening primrose, hemp, kukui nut, avocado...) with organic French lavender and Roman chamomile, two classic calming botanicals that are ideal for nighttime. Overall, this particular oil is relaxing to the nervous system and so restorative to your skin. After this ritual, you'll feel so luxurious you'll want to sleep in silk sheets!

5. Clear your mind. Taking 3 minutes to write a quick to-do list for the next day helps me feel less stressed and more organized before getting into bed. Nothing keeps me up more than a racing mind. I also love journaling my thoughts, or even taking time to express gratitude, in my head or in writing, for the gifts of the day.

What's your must-do ritual for beautifying sleep? You can read more in-depth about the foods and habits that support great sleep in Eat Pretty!

Currently Using: Osmia Organics

The January 2016 Beauty Heroes box is filled with tiny treasures—think of it as an extension of your holiday stocking. These skin-pampering treats, all from organic and wild crafted beauty brand Osmia Organics, deliver more power than you'd expect from their pint-sized packages. In fact, the smallest product of all, the Nectar Vital Rose Drops serum (which is a special gift for Beauty Heroes subscribers—more reason to join!), is my favorite of the three! This serum is a sneak preview of a brand new launch coming from Osmia.

In addition to Osmia's gorgeous new serum, Beauty Heroes features Osmia's signature favorite Black Clay Facial Soap (which comes with stories of having cleared or soothed acne and perioral dermatitis for Osmia customers), a soap-saver perfectly sized for this precious bar (another gift for subscribers), and Purely Simple Face Cream, which, refreshingly, is exactly what it claims to be: pure & simple.

The Black Clay Facial Soap is a super-mild exfoliant that draws moisture to skin and tones (enough that it made my skin tingle when I left it on for a few minutes in the shower). I love Osmia's in-depth story of black soap here.

The Purely Simple Face Cream delivery couldn't have been more perfectly-timed with the cold snap in the Northeast that has left my skin needing a little additional moisture. I'm generally not a face cream devotee, but, admittedly, my skin has been quite happy to have this one!  After applying it to my face, I've been rubbing the extra into my hands at night to keep them from getting dry as well. My skin loves the gentle aloe and jojoba oil, which hydrate without heaviness.

Next on my wishlist to try from Osmia Organics: Amethyst Body Essence. The Osmia Gem Series of oils (the Amethyst is the second in the series) looks so lovely! If you haven't tried the brand, the January Beauty Heroes box is an ideal sampling of treats, at a fabulous price.