18 July 2012, 15:21
Calling all insomniacs, dark circle sufferers, & perpetual tossers-&-turners! It’s time you had a good night’s rest: concealer can only do so much! Sleep is essential to our well-being, something that quickly becomes apparent when it seems out-of-reach…
Below I’ve compiled a few of my favourite tricks for getting your maximum quota of beauty sleep! If you have any other tips, I’d love to hear about them on my Facebook page!
It’s hard to get a decent night’s sleep when your room is hot & stuffy! It leaves you feeling like a dried-out husk. Dry air is terrible for your skin, too. Our apartment is almost always warm & dry — in winter, the radiators keep us cozy & in summer, sunlight streams through the windows — so we use a humidifier year-round. We bought one for our bedroom a few months ago, & it is a total game-changer! I turn it on every night — it’s a revelation. For some reason, that burst of moisture in the atmosphere helps me to get the best sleep ever.
I did a bunch of research (of course!) & ended up buying the Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier on Amazon. I love it & recommend it very highly. Though, perhaps you would prefer a humidifier in the shape of a penguin, elephant or piglet?!
Aromatherapy can give your dreamtime a wonderful boost. Lavender oil is especially good for insomniacs, or people who can’t get their brain to slow down at night-time!
As well as oils — try this set! — you’ll need a diffuser. I prefer these to having a candle burn all night long! (Way too paranoid!) The Aura Cacia diffuser has no lights on it, which is great for those of us who need complete darkness to sleep. The Ultrasonic aromatherapy diffuser is the Rolls Royce of diffusers: much more expensive than the other models, but this is one of those things where you get what you pay for.
If you’d like to keep it simple, you can always invest in a bottle of lavender mist to spray around your room, or on your pillow!
I always love reading about hotels with their own “pillow concierge”. Really though, it’s just a fancy way of saying, “We have a variety of pillows for you to choose from!” Don’t think that your shapeless, pancake-esque pillow is your only option — it’s not! These days, even the most finnicky sleepers have a huge selection to pick from. You can get pillows to support your neck, pillows filled with lavender, hypoallergenic options (did you ever consider that your bedtime sneezing could be caused by an allergy to what’s inside your pillow or duvet?), & all manner of softness, firmness, size & shape.
There are pillows to keep you cool (one review said, “It is like sleeping on a cool marshmallow”!), contour to your neck & even pillows you fill with water to relieve neck pain! Incredible! Just have a look around & you will be astounded by what you discover.
...& when I say bedding, I really mean your actual duvet & mattress themselves! (New sheets are lovely too, of course.) As a general rule, when it comes to sleep, you’ll get what you pay for: a cheap duvet & an abused-looking mattress will never give you the slumber of your dreams.
Mike & I have a memory foam mattress, which, coupled with a hypoallergenic duvet, create the most sublime snoozing conditions!
Now before your eyes bug out your head thinking about the expense, stop! Our mattress is not a fancy Tempurpedic, as much as I would love that. Actually, it’s this one from Sleep Innovations. I bought it for a paltry $250! I love a good sale. That’s even less than you would pay at IKEA... & if you read the reviews on the Sleep Innovations mattress, you’ll never buy a mattress anywhere else!
Eye masks are divine. I never knew they could improve your sleep so much — I always just thought they were for fancy people! When I moved into my apartment in Auckland, it came complete with a huge window — yay! — but no curtains — boo! I absolutely couldn’t sleep past the sunrise, so I invested in an eye mask. What a revelation!
Somehow, they put you to sleep quickly & encourage you to remain there. So good.
Melatonin is my #1 trick for long flights, but it’s fab for prompting a deeply satisfying sleep once you’re on solid ground again, too. You let one tablet dissolve on your tongue about 30 minutes before you go to bed, & then slip into a delicious dream state.
Another fantastic option is Dream Water. These teeny little bottles pack a massive, sleep-encouraging punch, & they taste good too. Filled with lovely ingredients — GABA, melatonin & 5-HTP (which I have been touting for years!) — there’s no reason to worry that you’ll feel groggy or hungover the next day. Melatonin is a complete miracle-worker, & 5-HTP can put a grin on the face of even the grumpiest girl. Seriously, try it out. If it doesn’t work for you, I’ll eat my hat!
Go on — just do it. Start running the water, throw in some rose petals or a fizzing bath bomb, & enjoy it. You could even add Epsom salts for a detoxifying boost. Few things are more lovely than lying in a scented bath.
If you’re up late watching violent slasher films — or even the news (hey, same thing) — it’s no wonder you’re having trouble falling asleep. Instead of filling your brain with negative madness, turn off the telly & give your brain a chance to unwind & relax. Read a book or do something with your hands. Of course, sex is a great option too, whether alone (ooh la la!) or with a partner!
We live in a pretty noisy area of the East Village, & tyres squealing & people yelling on the street could keep even the most exhausted person wide awake! One solution I’ve found is to fill your room with white noise. It helps to block out all the aural distractions from the street.
The sound of a fan makes a huge difference, but another of my favourite things to do is listen to a recording of rain & thunderstorms! It’s so relaxing, you can’t even imagine. I like to download a bunch of different thunderstorm & rain MP3s, create a sleep playlist, then set it to loop all night long.
If you spend your day drinking coffee & sitting at a desk, don’t be surprised if by the time you go to bed, your body & mind don’t seem to be ready for sleep. Think about your lifestyle. If you’re sedentary all day, but regularly filling up on sugar & caffeine, you’re definitely going to be tap-tap-tapping your feet in bed.
Try cutting back on your sugar & caffeine intake, & instead of eating a chocolate bar at 3pm, go for a quick walk instead. You’ll feel so much better, & your body will thank you!