Possibly one of the most overlooked and often undervalued beauty boosters, a good night’s sleep, can work wonders on our appearance. Apart from the obvious benefit—bright eyes sans dark circles and puffiness—skimping on sleep can also mess with our complexion by disrupting skin function, which could lead to a greater likelihood of developing wrinkles, acne, and more. But between the late-night parties, study sessions, and Netflix movie marathons, it’s all too easy to skimp on those precious under-the-covers hours. To help us squash sleep saboteurs, we turned to Sheryl Brooks, R.N., who created and leads sleep workshops at Miraval Resort & Spa in Arizona. Here, she shares some of her top tips on how to sleep a lot more soundly.
Write off your worries:
A busy mind inevitably leads to hours upon hours of counting sheep. To slash your chances of staying awake, anxiously overanalyzing the day’s events, physically take note of anything that troubles you, advises Brooks. Your game plan: an hour before bed, jot down whatever thoughts are occupying your mind. Want to take it a step further? Write down the negative thoughts that might make you toss and turn at night and throw them away—literally. Physically tossing the list of what worries you in the trash might help you stress less, according to research.
Nowadays, we’re so connected all the time, that it sometimes feels like we eat, breathe, and sleep in tweets, Instagram images, and texts. While that makes it easy to be in the know, it can also mess with our snooze time. The simple solution: make it a point to ditch your electronics about an hour before bed. And in that same vein, make your bed a strictly sleep-only zone. “Your body should know that when you crawl into bed, it’s time to shut down,” says Brooks.
While having a bedtime might remind us of our childhood days, trying to stick to a particular sleep time might do us some good. Brooks recommends snoozing and waking up around the same time—or within an hour of each—as often as possible. Plus, a consistent sleep and wake schedule has another pretty great healthy-body benefit: it’s been linked to lower body fat, according to a recent study.
Find the middle ground:
Goldilocks was onto something when she was looking for a happy medium—porridge that was neither too hot nor too cold, but just right. As it turns out, temperature can also play a big part in whether or not you get a good night’s sleep. In general, if your room is hotter than 75 degrees or cooler than 54 degrees Fahrenheit, you might be compromising the quality of your shuteye, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Though there isn’t a specific temperature that works for everyone, Brooks suggests keeping your room cool and your bed warm—and we can’t think of a more inviting combination.