It’s that time of the year again. The clocks go forward and we get a sweet deal from the universe with an extra hour of daylight to go jogging, take the kids to the park, walk the dog or just sit outside and soak up some rays. But it comes at a price, a very steep price. We lose an hour of rest, and to some of us, catching up on that lost beauty sleep is close to impossible. And so begins the vicious circle of puffy eyes, cranky mornings, snappy moods and empty wallets from two too many lattes!
Luckily for you, we’ve come up with a few sleep aids to help us all get back on track and regain control of our precious zzzzz’s. (Image via Anne Taintor)
Our first super hero is aromatherapy. There are candles, diffusers and room sprays (oh my!) that can set the mood for us to dose off and start dreaming. One of our favorites is Aura Cacia’s Aromatherapy Room Diffuser. It comes with 5 little bands that you can pour your favorite essential oil combination onto. Choose lavender or chamomile essential oils, plug it in and your room is transformed into a haven of rest and relaxation. The best part about this one is that it will keep on going as you sleep, promoting relaxation for every minute that your eyes are shut, unlike candles or incense which will doze off and stop working when you do.
2. Calming Mists
Another fun way to bring sleepy scents to our bed is using calming mists. And here’s where a little DIY action comes into play. All you need is a spray bottle, some water and once again, some essential oils. Mix it all up and spray in your bedroom and onto your pillow before bedtime. One of our favorite combos for the mist is lavender and eucalyptus. This will promote not only restful sleep but also help you breathe better. Once your magic mist is ready, make it cute with a label and some ribbon tied around the bottle. Keep it on your nightstand and it will be ready to come to your rescue on those restless nights. Or you can use one of Aura Cacia’s already mixed concoctions such as Chill Pill or Pillow Potion which are pretty magical.
3. Create A Bedtime Routine
Another good way to gain back control of our beauty sleep is by creating a little bedtime routine, just as we do with babies. Think of it as pampering yourself, guilt free, every night of the week. Start by turning down the lights all over your home a few hours before bedtime. Light some candles, and turn off your electronics too. If you must watch TV, try to make it something that is not suspenseful or stressful in any way and don’t do it in bed! And we know it’s rough, but it’s good practice to put your computer and iPhone to sleep well before your own bedtime. Make yourself a cup of sleep promoting tea. We absolutely adore Yogi Bedtime Tea. It’s available at most supermarkets, tastes delicious, and brings on the yawns.
4. Relaxing Nighttime Bath
If you enjoy a nice bath, bring in the scented therapy to your tub! There are countless bath salts and even bubble baths in the market to help our skin feel soft and glowing, and our eyelids heavy and shut! We really like E.O. Nighty Night Bath Salts and Bubble Bath.
5. Foot Massage
Then when it’s time to turn in for the day, give yourself a mini foot massage with a nice creamy foot lotion. We love Kiss My Face Peppermint Foot Lotion, which you can find at natural food stores or pharmacies, or on Amazon.
6. Sleeping Mask
Investing in a sleep mask is key. One, you get to feel as glamorous as Holly Golightly, and two it will block the light to prevent you from waking up too early. Bucky 40 Blinks Ultralight Sleeping Mask comes in a fabulous array of prints and patterns, which will please even the pickiest of you or check out a DIY we love by Oh Lovely Lolo. See for yourself! Pair your mask with some tasseled ear plugs and you’ll be quite the sleeping beauty (for 8 hours at a time, of course).
7. Breathe Deep
Once your mist is sprayed, your diffuser is on, your feet are massaged and your eyes are closed, practice this simple, yet effective breathing exercise. With your mouth closed (but not clenching) take a few deep breaths through your nose and focus on making your inhalations and exhalations even in length (see how many seconds it takes you to naturally take a deep inhale, then focus on making the exhale as long). When you have mastered your breath timing, focus on the feeling of rest every time you inhale, and as you exhale, let go of any stress or anxiety still present in your mind or body. Visualize any tension you are holding onto, physically leaving your body as the air comes out through your nose. (Image credit)
Now, we know that sometimes life is just too hectic, and even with ALL these little tricks we still can’t seem to fall asleep. So for those evenings of tossing and turning while making random “to do” lists in our heads, we can resort to some homeopathic solutions. Gaia Herbs company has an array of different herbal remedies to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. Another favorite of ours is Boiron’s Quietude Sleep Aid, which ensures no grogginess when your alarm goes off. Rather important if the point is to get some rest!
reBloom is yet another natural sleeping aid, but one that you actually drink before bed. It’s like a dose of Tylenol PM or Ambien without grogginess or, obviously, drugs. They’ve combined L-theanine (which helps you relax), Melatonin (which signals your body to sleep), and Valerian (which improves quality of sleep) to create a veritable triumvirate of sleep power. (Image via Krasey Beauty)
10. Milk and Honey
Last but not least, sometimes we need to go back to basics and do as grandma would have done. Make yourself a nice cup of warm milk with honey, and sip it slowly as you practice that breathing exercise we described above. Do keep in mind that it takes at least an hour for the components in milk to be converted by our amazing bodies into the natural sleep inducing substances we are searching for. So make sure to drink this old remedy with plenty of time for it to take effect.
We hope these tricks will help you catch up on your beauty sleep so that you can enjoy the wonderful weather of spring and summer feeling fresh and fabulous. How do you use natural methods to catch up on sleep? Send your tips and tricks our way by leaving a note in the comments below or finding us on Twitter.
Ana Paliza-Brown is a professional chef, and the pastry chef at Txoko restaurant in San Francisco. She loves everything homemade, and believes that there is nothing more wonderful than home cooked meals prepared with both nourishment and flavor in mind, which she tries to inspire people to make in her new blog Healthy Sazon.