I’ve always known the value of sleep, but it’s only as I’ve got older (and had children) that I’ve made sleep a priority. I think it’s human nature to take sleep for granted when you’re younger – I’ve lost count of the number of times my mother would tell me to get an early night and I’d retort “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”… ah, the ignorance and arrogance of youth!
Since then, I recognise the importance of sleep not only for optimum health but also for its beauty benefits, so as British Summer Time comes to an end and we ease our way into shorter days and longer, darker nights, here’s a round up of the things I rely on for better, more healthful sleep and what I use to boost my skincare… with an extra hour of sleep coming our way as the clocks go back tonight, maybe try a few to really capitalise on that hour and maximise their benefits… who knows – they may even help you.
First and foremost, switch off your phone at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens on phone, laptops and tablets such as iPads plays havoc with the body’s melatonin production and can really mess up your sleep patterns. So few us of do it (me included, I’m as guilty as the next person), but on the nights where I’ve made the effort to read a book instead of scrolling on instagram, I’ve definitely slept better and woken up feeling more refreshed.
Talking of bedtime rituals that make a whole lot of difference, I’ve been taking magnesium supplements for while now and I swear by them – I know if I don’t take my regular dose at bedtime, I won’t sleep as well and probably won’t go to the loo in the morning. I’ve tried both Magnesium Citrate and Magnesium Glycinate, and found that the citrate form suits me best, but I’d recommend you do your own research to see which suits you. As an indication, citrate seems to be most helpful for those suffering from constipation, whilst the glycinate form is more useful for those suffering from poor sleep, anxiety, insomnia, chronic stress and some inflammatory conditions. (I am not a doctor nor a functional medicine practitioner – this is just my own experience and you should consult a professional before taking any supplements).
When we sleep, our skin repairs, recharges and rebuilds. Making the most of the skin’s natural processes and giving it a helping hand with the right skincare products seems like a no brainer to me; letting the skincare do all the work while I sleep seems like great a multi-tasking regime.
My favourite overnight skin masks include the Emma Hardie Moringa Renewal Treatment Mask; it’s one I use quite regularly, most often when I’m on the school run, as it’s completely invisible (comment below if you’re one of my OG #MondayMorningMoringaMask tribe), but it’s also fab as an overnight treatment. Applied to clean, dry skin, massage it in about an hour before bedtime (so you don’t sacrifice any to your pillowcase) and you’ll wake up with soft, hydrated, moisturised and plump skin in the morning with minimal effort.
Whilst I use Alpha H Liquid Gold regularly (not pictured), once in a while I like to vary it, and the Elixseri Opening Act Serum is a great overnight resurfacing treatment that diminishes dead cells, cellular debris and product build-up. Also applied to clean dry skin, you wake up with a more luminous and radiant complexion. It contains natural AHAs, lactic acid, prebiotic papaya, edelweiss concentrate and a whole host of other ingredients to work as a treatment/mild peel hybrid that’s gentle and safe yet effective to use regularly at home.
More recently, I’ve been trying and loving the Tired Mask from Faace. This little beauty gives a skin a serious reboot overnight, packed chocka with ingredients to combine hydration and gentle resurfacing to give tired, stressed skin an instant lift. Caffeine to soothe inflammation, aloe vera to help retain moisture and speed up healing, Vitamin C for radiance and luminosity, lactic acid to gently exfoliate, pomegranate and rosehip for natural vitamin A (retinol) to boost collagen and keep skin springy, and much more. A light gel formulation, it goes on transparent but a little sticky, but is soon absorbed and the stickiness disappears, leaving you to wake up with more hydrated and smoother skin than you had the night before.
Talking of masks, I’m also a great believer in using a hair mask at night. Whilst my favourite hair mask of all time, Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer (not pictured) is still my go-to, it has to be applied to wet hair, which isn’t great if I decide to apply it just before bed (I hate going to bed with wet hair). Fine if I remember to do it early evening, as my hair has time to dry before bedtime, but I’m loving Percy & Reed’s Wonder Overnight Recovery as an overnight hair mask as it’s applied to DRY hair, so no forward-thinking needed! It’s washed out in the morning after working hard overnight as a deeply conditioning treatment – a perfect way to ensure you use a hair mask once a week.
Drifting off to sleep is sometimes the hardest part of getting a good night’s sleep so a good pillow spray is a must. Tisserand’s Sleep Better Pillow Mist is the perfect blend of Lavender, Sandalwood and Jasmine essential oils to create the loveliest aroma to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. (Guilty secret – I love to use it in the daytime too to stop me from feeling frazzled – I spritz a tiny amount on the cuff of my sleeve and sniff it whenever I need to take a moment out of my day to recentre.) And if the idea of a sleep ritual is something that appeals to you, then their Little Box of Sleep is great little addition to your routine (and would make a lovely gift too). Three little pulse point roller balls encourage a considered approach to your sleep hygiene and routine: you use Breathe Deep on your pulse points 2 hours before bedtime to help your mind slow down, True Comfort an hour before bed to help you feel serene and calm, and then Sleep Better at bedtime – which echoes the exact same essential oils as the mist.
I’m so used to getting up at a certain time every morning (hello, school run mums!) that to make the most of the extra hour I need all the physical help I can get too. Blackout curtains and blinds in my bedroom are the best investment in good sleep I’ve ever made, but there are also a couple of other things that are indispensable – I never travel without these two!
A good pair of ear-plugs – I prefer the wax ones to foam, which I find totally useless. My favourite ones are by Quies, which I buy from my local independent pharmacy but Boots own brands ones are very good too.
And last, but not least, a good eye mask that blocks out all the light – not just some, but all! My other sleep luxury is a lavender-infused eye pillow and eye mask, both from Holistic Silk – not pictured because I can’t find them, I think they’ve both fallen behind the bed. A bean-bag eye pillow is incredible for calming stressed and overactive eyes (if you know what I mean), but at the very least, a silk eye mask (the freebies you get on airplanes are just not the same) is a sleep investment you’ll never regret.
And with that, I wish you a very good night and a well-deserved extra hour of sleep – here’s hoping you make the most of it!
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