It’s an age old saying “get your beauty sleep”. But how and why does sleep improve the way you look, and most importantly – how do we get more, better quality ZZZs.
Beyond just limiting bags under the eyes, the reason sleep can improve how you look is all that wonderful increased blood flow. When this is consistent, your hair gets the nutrients it needs to be fuller and stronger, your skin has a healthy glow about it and all the other beauty products you apply during the day work their best. Plus, you replenish collagen when you sleep – the key ingredient for making skin look fuller with fewer wrinkles (much cheaper and more enjoyable than Botox).
But since modern lifestyles are more frantic than ever before, settling down for sleep is hard and finding hours of ‘me time’ to relax before bed is even harder. So, we spoke to RY.com.au senior beauty therapist Jade Dowling about her recommendations on boosting your beauty sleep.
1. Slip into silk: The benefits of sleeping on silk are honestly boundless – thin smoother hair, health and fewer pesky creases all over you when you wake up. It’s touted as one of the most effective preventative measures for wrinkles. Slip a silk pillowcase over your pillows and you’re sure to notice the difference almost immediately. But not only will it help to reduce hair frizz and ward off acne, silk is a breathable fabric – making for a more comfortable sleep, particularly in the warmer months. Celebs have been big on this band wagon, and many have their own lines but we love The Goodnight Co. pillowcase, also available in charcoal or nude.
2. No phone zone: Most of us know by now that the blue-light screens of devices ruin us, but still use them before bed anyway. I love magazines as much as Instagram for my creative inspiration but if picking up a book or glossy doesn’t appeal to you, try a positive mind exercise. Grab a notepad and pen and write down the three best things that happened that day. They don’t need to be significant achievements, this is about taking pleasure in the little moments that make us happy and reminds us of the joys of living. Positive reflection before sleep is a fantastic way to relax a stressed mind and you can also add to the atmosphere with a relaxing candle like this Lavender & Patchouli option from Aspar.
3. A cup of calm: Walk into T2 these days and you’ll know there’s a tea for every occasion and that includes sleep. Certain scents promote relaxation and for many this reduced tension and anxiety relief is key for REM. Try those with lavender, camomile, fennel or lemon. Goodnight Co. have a wonderful blend or if relaxation is the name of your game – treat yourself to a ‘Relax Me’ gift box from Physics Garden, which has an abundance of beauty sleep aids including tea, balms, a wheat eye pillow and more. But hot tip for pre-bed tea drinkers – double check first that your blend is naturally caffeine free.
4. Spray, rattle and roll: Sleep is so essential but we don’t want to be pumping our body with nasties just to get a good night’s rest. For those who haven’t done much research in the natural sleep aid space lately, there are some weird but wonderful options out there – we’re talking what dreams are (literally) made of! Magnesium is known for its ability to improve sleep, improve muscle recovery and help with cramping. If you’ve been really active use Salt Lab’s Magnesium Oil – it’s an easy spray that can be quickly applied before bed. For general boosted bed rest, try a simple Sleep Roll On by the Goodnight Co – its lavender, cedarwood and coconut oils make it smell divine and you role on to your pulse points, like perfume, to help the calming scents radiate further for a relaxing sleep.
5. Nama’sleep tonight: Is there anything yoga can’t do? There are a few gentle poses that you can do in bed, which will help relieve tension, promote blood flow and switch off your mind – aiding in a restful night of ZZZs. These are also particularly great if you are on your feet a lot during the day and have stiffness in your legs. Remember to take long, steady breaths as you relax into these poses. I like to start with Viparita Karani, otherwise known as the ‘legs up the wall’, except with my headboard. I also spend two minutes each on the cat stretch and child’s pose, which are amazing for getting the blood circulation going ahead of bed. The ‘night time goddess stretch’, so aptly named, is also brilliant for this – for this one, lay on your back facing the ceiling with the soles of your feet pressed together and your knees bent (like a diamond shape) and breathe. And don’t sweat about working out just before bed time with this chamomile and lavender relaxation-inducing deodorant from The Physic Garden.
You can’t look good on the outside, if you don’t feel good on the inside and that often starts with sleep. While a long hot bath would be great every night of the week, that isn’t always realistic so start with these simple sleep hacks and enjoy a world of difference.