Sleep is a hot topic right now. Now that we're up to speed on the CDC's finding (spoiler alert: we're not getting enough zzz's), it's time to talk about how we go about getting better sleep. Something that has helped me is simply having a routine. I have a morning ritual to get ready for the day, and I have a nighttime one to get me ready for bed.
Before I get started on my nighttime routine, I set up my oil diffuser. Filling my room with relaxing lavender fragrance is not only soothing, but has also almost become somewhat of a sleep trigger for me (of the Pavlovian variety).
The idea here is not necessarily around skin care specifically, but more so finding a ritual that works for you and gets your brain to wind down. During the same time I brush my teeth, I take time to cleanse, exfoliate, occasionally do a peel or treatment, tone, apply serum, and moisturize. I use a heavier moisturizer at night than I do during the day, especially if I have the heater going, and sometimes I do a nighttime mask. Carving out this time to do a little self-care before bed helps me relax and forces me to dedicate some time to sleep prep.
Melatonin and Supplements
On nights where I am dealing with insomnia, I typically take melatonin before bed — this sometimes includes my iChill "shot" of melatonin, B vitamins, rose hips, and valerian root. I also pop an omega-3 supplement before bed; if you're taking any vitamins or supplements, include them in your nightly ritual so you don't miss a dose. Fortify your efforts by downing all this with some chamomile or sleeptytime tea. I do my best to not rely on the supplement too heavily as it may throw off your circadian rhythm over the long run.
Sometimes you'll find yourself tossing and turning all night because you've got a kink in your neck, a sore lower back, or a cramp. Eliminate the possibility of nighttime discomfort with simple stretches you can do in bed. For me, it helps release tension from the day, whether it was stressful or just really productive and jam-packed.
Get the Right Alarm
I've been using the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock for a few years for a number of reasons. One: soothing noises. I have mine set to ocean waves, and the gentle noise plays on whatever volume you have your phone set to, then fades out as you fall asleep, eventually becoming silent. Two: I'm able to track the quality of my sleep nightly, with notes, including how the weather, number of hours in bed, daily exercise or stress, etc., all affected my sleep quality. Through tracking my stats, I found that the earlier I hit the hay (typically around 10 p.m.) and the longer I stay in bed (typically around eight hours), the better quality sleep I have — this past weekend I got a 99 percent.
Bed = No-Phone Zone
I've been taking the no-screen-time rule to heart, as the light emanating from the screen messes with melatonin levels and can disturb your circadian rhythm. Lately, I've been reading (usually Harry Potter) before bed to relax and get myself snoozing. . . . It's much better than counting sheep.