We're all about creating a positive lifestyle and finding the right balance between energy and relaxation is a big part of it. But who hasn't at times struggled to switch off after a hectic day?
We spoke to natural health and beauty expert Sarah Zimmer from the soon to launch natural skincare brand Naya about her top tips for maximising your beauty sleep.
We know a good night’s sleep is good for us, but often it is easier said than done. The good news? Revamping your bedtime routine can be easy and enjoyable.
Here are a few tips that sleep experts recommend to help you to get the precious shut-eye hours you crave. I’ve used these particularly on business trips, so I know they really work. They’ve helped me to go to bed relaxed and wake up happy and well rested.
Create a comfortable sleep environment
Keep the bedroom dark, cool and as quiet as possible and switch off all electronics before going to bed. Stimulating objects such as electronics (yes, that includes your phone), lights and noise affect levels of melatonin, our sleeping hormone, which is great for daytime when the body needs to be alerted, but unhelpful during nighttime.
Have a tea
Decaffeinated herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint, or a turmeric latte have a calming and sedative effect on the body. And there is simply something comforting about having a hot beverage before bed. Just creating the habit of pouring a cup may help signal your body that it’s time for sleep, helping you relax and unwind.
Avoid stressful situations before bedtime
During business travels, this is the hardest to avoid as they usually involve dinner meetings with constant conversation about work. Stressful situations create tension in our bodies, our heart starts to race, pumping blood into legs and arms, and cortisol levels, our stress hormone, increase to get us prepared for a ‘fight or flight’ situation. Even though there is no tiger attacking us, we still experience what would have been valuable 1000s of years ago. Protect yourself and practice self-love by preventing yourself to deal with stressful topics long before bedtime.
Treat yourself to some beautiful, comfy nightwear
Your favourite clothes make you feel great, and it’s true for what you wear at night, too. Regardless of whether you are sharing your bed with someone, you deserve wearing something gorgeous while you get your beauty sleep. Look for soft fabrics that are kind to your skin, such as the organic cotton used for AmaElla sleepwear and Noctu nighties.
Photo by SustainablyChic for AmaElla
Create a sacred space
Setting aside time to unwind and quieten your mind will help you get into a calm state of mind. Meditating, breathing exercises, taking a bath, smelling something nice and listening to relaxing music are great ways to calm down at night. Or create a beauty-regime with your favourite natural skincare products, not only exercising some self-care, also doing some other good for your body, mind and soul. Evidence suggests certain aromas, such as lavender, may actually reduce blood pressure and heart rate, creating a calming effect in the body.
Set a sleep routine
Humans like routine. When it comes to sleeping, nothing is more important than having a regular schedule. Try to keep this schedule not only during the week but also during the weekends. Ideally, you go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
As much as you we need the down-time, we need to know when to accelerate our heart-beat. And there is nothing better than a good exercise regime. Studies show that exercise increases total sleep time, in particular the slow-wave to support the body to repair and maintain itself. Just avoid exercise right before your down-time.
Limit Caffeine intake, not just from coffee
This is one that varies from person to person. Some sleep like babies when having an espresso right before bed. Some cannot have a sip of it from mid-day onwards as it disturbs their hormonal balance. Listen to your body and find out what works for you. Just remember not only coffee has caffeine.
Keep late night meals light
Skip heavy meals and sugary snacks before bed, and limit alcohol. Even if a cocktail seems to help you fall asleep, it can interfere with sleep quality and disrupt sleep later in the night. Reach for a healthier snack like whole grain crackers, banana, walnuts or almonds, which contain sleep-inducing tryptophan.
Stick to this as a night time plan each night and I promise you’ll be counting fewer sheep and feeling fresh come morning.
Sarah is the founder of Naya skincare and an expert on natural health and beauty.