Tuesday, June 12, 2018

10 Tips to Improve Your Beauty Sleep

Today I'm taking a break from makeup trends, travel and fashion to discuss sleep - a topic that many of us need to address for the benefit of our health and productiveness. Life can get pretty chaotic, especially when trying to balance work and responsibilities with family life and leisure. I fall victim to this myself – staying up late to write a press feature, going to bed at 4 am or dealing with terrible jet lag. Sometimes the culprit is weekend partying or binge-watching a new show, but whatever the reason, sleep and relaxation should be a top priority – after all, they do call it “beauty rest” for a reason.

Getting enough sleep is imperative to cognition, mood and well-being but it also has amazing benefits for the skin. Exhaustion can make your complexion appear dull, sallow and blemished with dark under eye circles and puffiness. You may also be more susceptible to viruses like the common cold.

During REM or deep sleep, the body fortifies immune resistance, heals and regenerates so today I'm sharing a few tips and products to help improve your sleep quality.

Photo modified from Pinterest, original source unknown

1. Stick to a Routine
If you go to bed around the same time every night (factoring in about 7-8 hours of sleep) your body eventually adjusts to the pattern so you awake feeling refreshed. Hit the sack as early as possible so you have more time to relax and unwind after a long day.

2. Create a Peaceful Environment
Good luck trying to get some shut-eye with the TV blaring or blinding light spilling through the window. For a peaceful snooze make sure the room is cool, comfortable and quiet – free of distractions and annoyances.

Investing in an essential oil diffuser is a great way to create a soothing atmosphere, relieve stress and purify the air with healing botanicals. I use Avon's Aura Ultrasonic Diffuser ($69.99) which mists for 4 continuous hours or 8 hours intermittently. It also has multi-colored LED mood lighting that cycles between purple, blue, teal, green, yellow, white, pink and red. (Available at avon.ca)

To create the perfect oasis for beauty sleep I also use a Himalayan Salt Lamp from Evolution Salt Co. The company mines high quality natural salt crystals that have been deposited in the earth for more than 260 million years! The ions released from the lamp cleans the air, boosts blood flow, improves sleep, calms allergy and asthma symptoms, neutralizes electromagnetic radiation from electronic devices and increases energy levels. I purchased this one at Winners for just $7.99 and it comes in all shapes, sizes and colors (available online at evolutionsalt.com).

3. Use a Humidifier
Most people are not aware that the air in our homes may be more contaminated than the air outside and the impurities can affect your sleep and health.

When suffering from a stuffy nose, allergies or cold symptoms, a humidifier can rehydrate the skin, eyes and nasal passages by making the air in your room easier to breathe. It is especially helpful during the dry winter months when we tend to spend more time indoors.

Recently I ordered this stylish unit from The Shopping Channel and my skin has been dewy, smooth and supple ever since. Before bed I apply nourishing creams and serums, turn on my Air Innovations System and awake to a healthy complexion! My throat is no longer dry or sore in the morning and I’ve noticed improved sleep quality in terms of duration and comfort. It also helps ease coughing and the device is lightweight, quiet and easy to use. I keep it on my bedside table and it runs for 70 hours on the low setting.

The humidifier is clean mist (it emits cool, refreshing air) and has an anti-microbial water tank, dual direction mist nozzle, safety shut-off switch, 4 settings and an aroma therapy tray for soothing scents. It usually retails for $99.00 but is currently on sale for $59.88. For more information visit theshoppingchannel.com.

4. Do Something Relaxing Before Bed
One of the hardest things to do when I get in bed at night is shut my brain off. I am always thinking about how much I have to get done the next day, what I should make for dinner and how to balance upcoming deadlines. To help de-stress and calm your nerves after a busy day, try a relaxing activity like reading, light exercise, sipping some warm chamomile tea, meditation or listening to soothing music. I like to indulge in a little self-pampering by taking a hot bath with Dr. Teals Pure Epsom Salt + Coconut Oil ($8.99 at drugstores nationwide). The rich minerals and nourishing oil helps ease muscle aches and soreness for a more restful sleep.

5. Soothe Your Eyes and Improve Sleep Quality with the Jidue Facial Massager
Most of us are constantly looking down at a screen but we do very little to heal our eyes. I work on the computer for hours and the rest of the evening I'm on my phone or iPad. As a result I suffer from tension headaches and eye soreness that effects my sleep. The Jidue Facial Massager ($134.91) has 18 uniquely positioned pulsating nodes that increase blood circulation, improve lymph flow, alleviate eye fatigue, reduce wrinkles, maintain connective tissue, diminish dark circles and promote relaxation. It also helps relieve sinus pain, congestion and stress so you can sleep more soundly.

The goggles (also available in black) fit snugly on the face to stimulate key acupuncture pressure points that may help ease headaches, pain and other conditions. There are 11 cycles that vibrate in different patterns and you can set the timer to customize your treatment. The nodules inside the goggles do not move or oscillate but the sensation is pleasant. Jidue also comes with a travel case so I can take it on vacation to recover from jet lag.

After using it for just 5 minutes before bed each night I've noticed minor changes in sleep quality and duration. The biggest improvement has been the release of tension. After removing the goggles my eyes don't feel as strained or heavy, my vision seems clearer and there is less burning and blurriness caused by fatigue. Find a comfortable position and close your eyes as the device works its magic.

You can even take the Jidue to work and use it at your desk to rest and refocus. The gentle pulsation permeates through the entire orbital area, temples and down towards the nose and cheekbones for an invigorating deep tissue massage.

All you need is 2 AAA batteries (not included) and the goggles turn on with the press of a button. For more information visit the website at jidue.com

6. Upgrade Your Mattress or Pillows.
If you are tossing and turning at night, unable to find a comfortable position, it could be your mattress. If you’ve had it for 10 years or more it is definitely time for a change. The springs become less effective, sagging occurs and the mattress itself can double in weight from dust mites and their droppings (utterly disgusting). A new pillow might also be the answer. Last year I received one from Endy ($80.00) and it has greatly improved my comfort, especially when spritzed with lavender to enhance relaxation. The pillow is fluffy and soft but very supportive and you can remove some of the bamboo charcoal memory foam inside to adjust firmness and height. Endy also provides a free travel pillow that can be used to store excess stuffing when not in-use. More details at caendy.com.

7. Turn Off All Electronic Devices
One of the biggest distractions and sleep inhibitors are cell phones. The bright light can actually trick your body into thinking it is daytime and mess with your circadian rhythm or internal clock. I know social media can be enticing but when you get in bed, put your phone and electronic devices on silent mode or tuck them in a drawer to avoid temptation.

8. Avoid Heavy Meals and Caffeine Before Bed
This point is self-explanatory because eating heavy meals before bed is tough on the digestive system and can cause heartburn, discomfort, indigestion and weight gain. Caffeine and other stimulants will also keep you up at night.

9. Get a Fitbit
If you feel tired each morning and aren't sure how well or how much you slept, a Fitbit or similar healthcare devices can help monitor and track how many hours of shut-eye you actually get. They may also help detect sleep deprivation.

10. Visit a Sleep Clinic
For a more comprehensive diagnostic, sleep clinics can identify disorders like insomnia and prescribe therapeutic or medical intervention if necessary. This may be a last resort but any road to better sleep is worth exploring. 

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