Sleep: it’s essential for our health, our mental functioning and—that’s right—our beauty. Not catching enough zzz’s can lead to dull skin, premature aging and the dreaded facial puffiness. But with the constant stimulation and stress in our lives, getting a solid eight hours of shut-eye doesn’t always come easily. The easiest solution: rethink your sleep environment. Promoting better sleep can, more often than not, ensure better sleep. We’ve gathered simple, anyone-can-do-it tips from Mark Muehlbach, Ph.D., the clinical director at the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis, to make over your bedroom. You’ll be getting better beauty sleep in no time.
Dim All the Lights
“Light is a primer for our biological clock to help regulate our sleep/wake cycle,” says Muehlbach. The longer you spend in bright light, the longer it takes the body to naturally release melatonin, “which is released during the natural onset of darkness or when the lights are turned off.” Essentially, your body doesn’t know it’s bedtime. “Ideally, you should maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule and avoid bright light at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.”
Ban the Electronics
And this doesn’t mean swapping your bright lights for the dim lights of the TV. “The blue light from electronics may confuse your body clock, too.” Muehlbach recommends banning all electronics from the bedroom. Whether it’s the TV, your cellphone or the computer, they stimulate your mind and make it harder to relax. “In addition, you may be conditioning your body to become stimulated whenever you enter your bedroom,” Muehlbach tells us.
Ditch the Books, Too
Reading material shouldn’t be welcome, either. Although books don’t offer blue light, they’re also stimulating the mind and associating the bed with an activity other than sleep. “You may be telling your body that the bed is for reading, not sleeping,” says Muehlbach. “The more often you do this in bed, the more you will be awake while your body is trying to rest.”
Reserve Bed For Sleep and Sex Only
“Going to sleep and waking at the same time every day, and only using the bedroom for bed-related activities—sleep and sex—is what we in the sleep community call ‘good sleep hygiene,” Muehlbach tells us. Train your mind, and the body will follow.
Calm with the Right Colors
Who knew that interior design could affect your beauty sleep? Choose light, soothing colors that promote sleep. “A 2013 survey suggested that people whose bedrooms were painted blue, yellow and green obtained the most sleep (with blue being the most beneficial),” Muehlbach says. “While people with bedrooms painted gray, brown, and especially purple, obtained the least amount of sleep.”
Relax with Lavender
Both candles and aromatherapy help set the mood for sleep. When choosing your scent, opt for lavender. “There is some research to support that lavender essential oils may help promote sleep. The reason for this appears to be related more to the relaxing effects of lavender. Typically the more calm and relaxed we are, the easier it is to fall asleep.” Either spray the room with Basq Lavender Sleep Mist ($18) or position L’Occitane Aromachologie Relaxing Perfumed Sachets ($12) under your pillow.
Set the Temp
Goldilocks was on to something—not too cold and not too hot. “Research suggests a room temperature around 65 degrees may be ideal. However, everyone is different.” Refrain from going below 54 degrees or above 75, as those temps have been known to disrupt sleep.
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