There is No Substitute for Sleep
You can’t scroll through your Twitter feed these days without reading an article extolling the scientifically-proven esthetic benefits of a good night’s sleep. We get it! Not even our most beloved creams and serums can recreate what eight solid hours does for our faces. I resent these articles, because like Firefly pose and the perfect cat eye, easily falling asleep is a challenge for me. I also go to bed each night next to a husband who falls asleep so immediately upon getting in bed, I swear he’s hiding an anesthesiologist in the closet. While my husband is snoring up a storm, the wheels in my brain feel like they’re vying for first place in the Tour de France. I feel compelled to ponder the meaning of life, my kids’ educational trajectory and how to get that ink stain out of my favorite Phillip Lim bag. Oy. This is nothing new, either. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember.
Since “accepting the things I cannot change” has never been my forte, I have accumulated several sleep strategies that I think beat counting sheep any day of the week. In the name of looking and feeling beautiful, I share them here with you now. Whether you are battling a temporary bout of insomnia, or are regularly reading at 2 AM, I hope these tactics help deliver you to La La Land.
Commit to a Bedtime Beauty Routine
We’ve all done it – fallen asleep with our makeup on. I have only ever done this out of sheer exhaustion – feeling like I couldn’t possibly stand at the sink for those extra two minutes and wash my face. But what gets me into bed quicker actually ends up keeping me awake longer. Washing my face at night is a matter of integrity for me, so when I don’t do it, I lie there thinking I should have and worrying that I’ll end up in the morning with a huge zit.
Also, when I don’t wash my face, I don’t use any of my fabulous creams and serums that I know make me wake up all dewy and glowing. So an essential step to a good night’s sleep is going to bed with a clean face. For emergency situations, I keep cleansing wipes on my nightstand so I can still do a quick clean, no matter what. After my face is clean, I apply my skin care with a delicate and relaxing touch. I especially like to take a moment to massage my oft-tense temples. Face clean and conscience clear, I find it much easier to fall asleep.
Dim All the Lights
Donna knew what she was singing about! I dim the lights all over the house at least 1 hour before bed. I started doing this once I had kids, as a way to signal to them that it’s wind down time. I’ve found that it works wonders for me as well. My husband and I actually start talking more quietly once we dim the lights! And who needs hundreds of watts to put on PJs anyway?
After 9 PM, I put all dimmers at half-mast so my brain starts to slow down. If you’re reading in bed (I always am), grab a small book light or dim the screen on your tablet to a pale glow.
Once you’re ready to fall asleep, you need total darkness in the bedroom. Physiologically, this helps your body produce melatonin, which then makes us drowsy. I have blackout shades on my bedroom windows. I’ll admit – Elle Decor worthy they are not. BUT, they go right next to the window pane, so they’re easily hidden by a more stylish window treatment.
Next, move any electronics with little charging lights OUT of the bedroom. That orange light on your MacBook may seem like an insignificant speck during the day, but in an otherwise dark room, it can give off quite a stimulating glow. Move anything giving off even a little light to another room while you’re sleeping.
Upadate: I have found the most amazing product that is basically like blackout shades for your eyeballs. This Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask puts me in the deepest, most restorative sleep I can ever remember experiencing. This is a must-have for any insomniac, party animal and/or anyone that stares at screens for most of the day. (That pretty much covers everyone, right?)
Stay tuned for Part II on Thursday…
Claire McCormack Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack