We often joke about getting our "beauty sleep," but we need 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep to stay healthy — and look good! So, what can we do when we have trouble catching those essential Zzzs?
photo credit Shutterstock
Falling asleep should be easy (we did it so effortlessly as babies and children!) But, as we get older, we may need a few tricks up our pajama sleeves:
Don't work on your computer or look at your phone before bed. The blue light from electronic devices can prohibit melatonin production. (The hormone that tells your body it's time for sleep.)
Avoid watching depressing or violent movies or TV shows late in the evening. (This includes the nightly news!)
Don't rely on alcohol to help you sleep. Although you may crash quickly, you'll often find yourself wide awake in the night, unable to fall back to sleep. Also, alcohol blocks REM sleep, which is the most vital stage.
Avoid caffeinated foods like coffee and chocolate. The best bedtime snacks are almonds, walnuts, kiwi, banana, milk, and cottage cheese. These are best eaten about 2 to 3 hours before bed. Herbal teas like Chamomile or passionflower will also help you unwind.
If you find your mind wandering about everything you need to do the next day (like mine does), write a to-do list before getting into bed.
Keep your bedroom temperature cool and invest in comfortable bedding. Choose natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, or silk.
Use a sound machine or an app like Calm on your phone. I love going to sleep to the sound of rain or ocean waves.
Enjoy a little aromatherapy. Lavender is a popular choice for relaxation and sleep. Unfortunately, regular candles made with paraffin wax aren't good for your health. A better option is soy or beeswax candles. I look for ones infused with essential oils instead of artificial fragrances.
Take a melatonin supplement about 30 minutes before bed. This hormone can improve the quality and duration of your sleep. Start with the lowest dose available, as taking a higher dosage won't help you fall asleep faster. I like to use 1 mg or less.
Try this breathing technique from Dr. Andrew Weil:
4 7 8 Breathing Technique:
1) With your mouth closed, inhale quietly through your nose for a count of four.
2) Hold your breath for seven seconds.
3) Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds while making a "whoosh" sound.
Slip into Something Silky
While we sleep, our bodies work hard to repair the damage done during the day (from stress, ultraviolet waves, and other pollutants). If you want to get the most from your beauty sleep, why not treat yourself to a luxurious silk pillowcase? This material is smoother and less porous than cotton and will help keep your hair and skin hydrated. (It may also help wrinkles at bay - yay!) I love my silk pillowcase from Fishers Finery (named best overall by Good Housekeeping). And their silk pajamas are gorgeous. But I'm keeping my cotton sheets. If they were smooth and silky, too, I'd probably slide right off the bed!
This was named the best overall silk pillowcase by Good Housekeeping.
Aren't these pajamas glamorous!
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