10 Ways To Boost Beauty Sleep & Relieve Stress
If the past year has totally messed up your sleeping habits, you’re not alone. Not only has the global pandemic interfered with our daily routines but our sleeping patterns too. From health battles to money problems and the lack of movement caused by WFH, there’s no denying our stress levels have skyrocketed and our sleep has suffered.
Right now, the world’s finally waking up and realizing just how important sleep is to your mental and physical health. First and foremost, it helps improve your cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of heart disease, but it can also help strengthen your immune system and reduce stress levels. There has literally never been a more vital time to get a good night’s sleep, and for an adult, that means anywhere between seven to eight hours a night. We spoke with sleep expert and sleep consultant, Julie Mallon, to get her top 10 suggestions for ways to improve your sleep and relieve stress.
1. Valerian Root Tea: Yogi Bedtime Tea, $4
According to Julie, “Valerian root tea is the best tea for sleep as it contains natural antioxidants, alkaloids, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, which promote a healthy sleep cycle.” She continues, “It can even help ease muscle pain and will calm your mind.” A word of warning? It has a very potent taste, so you may want to find a tea that contains valerian root or add a peppermint tea bag to mask the taste. Julie recommends the Yogi Bedtime Tea, $4, which features a soothing blend of valerian root, chamomile flower, and cinnamon.
2. A Weighted Blanket: Gravity Gravity Blanket, $189
Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular over the last year, praised for their sleep-inducing abilities. For those of you who may not know, weighted blankets are therapeutic blankets that weigh between five to 30 pounds, and are recommended for anyone with sleep issues, anxiety, and even autism. Julie explains how they work, “The pressure from the weighted blanket will trigger the nervous response system that lowers your heart rate, breathing, and anxiety, which will, in turn, help you sleep.”
Julie explains that they’re not a cure for insomnia, but will simply encourage deep, restorative sleep. Our go-to? The Gravity Blanket, $189, which is one of the most popular weighted blankets. In a recent study, 72% of participants reported deeper, more restful sleep and 76% reported falling asleep faster when using the blanket.
3. Pillow Spray: This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, $29
“Sleep sprays contain essential oils to promote sleep, and just like the weighted blanket, it will trigger the nervous response system to calm down the brain,” says Julie. Julie recommends a pillow spray that contains lavender, like the This Works Deep Sleep Spray, $29, which is formulated with a sleep-happy blend of lavender, chamomile, and vetivert to aid relaxation. However, Julie does also say it’s important that you like the scent, otherwise, regardless of the homeopathic qualities, it will not put your mind or body at ease.
4. Essential Oils: Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Lavender Essential Oils, $16
“If you’re looking for a more natural solution, I love essential oils as they help relieve stress and anxiety, enabling you to fall asleep more easily,” says Julie. Her favorite oils include lavender, chamomile, valerian, bergamot, sandalwood oil, sage, and sweet mandarin. Simply apply them to your pressure points 30 minutes before you sleep. Just remember one drop is plenty, and if you have sensitive skin, then try mixing a drop with a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba oil.
Pro tip: If you’re really struggling with your sleep, Julie recommends combining multiple oils for a more powerful blend. Her go-to is three drops of lavender, three drops of chamomile, and two drops of bergamot, which she mixes together in a bowl and stores in a glass rollerball container.
5. White Noise Machine: LectroFan Evo White Noise Sound Machine, $32
If you’re a fan of meditation or use sleep apps like Calm, consider investing in a white noise machine. Julie insists, “White noise machines are the best sleep association because they’re sustainable, and it doesn’t matter if you do become dependent as they’re easily removed.”
The best white noise association? The sound of the ocean. Julie explains, “Evidentially the best white noise is the sound of the ocean because it mimics our circadian rhythm and the brain is able to absorb that pattern, which naturally soothes the brain.” If you’re not a lover of the ocean, Julie says it’s important to find a low-intensity frequency. Continual frequency sounds such as the sound of rain can actually disrupt your sleep.
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6. Magnesium: Now Magnesium Capsules 400mg, $19
According to Julie, “Magnesium is incredible for sleep.” She explains why: “Again, we know it has such a positive effect as it relaxes the central nervous system. In fact, magnesium increases a neurotransmitter called gaba in your brain, which encourages relaxation as well as sleep. [On the contrary] low gaba levels in the body makes it difficult to relax.” Julie recommends taking magnesium supplements (available at most drugstores), one hour before you sleep.
7. Epsom Salts: Dr Teal’s Soothe & Sleep with Lavender Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution, $6
A warm bath with Epsom salts is another ritual that promotes healthy sleep, as Epsom salts contain… Magnesium. Julie reveals, “The absorbency of magnesium in Epsom salts is actually five times higher than a capsule, as it’s absorbed at a much quicker rate.”
Another major bonus of taking a warm bath is it’ll help lower your body temperature, as when you step out of the bath, the moisture will evaporate from your skin, which in turn will cool you down.” Although Julie said for this to be most effective “you should take a bath one hour before bed.”
8. Calming Teas: Pukka Tea Night Time, $14
Julie told us whenever she’s feeling stressed or mentally drained, her cure is this Pukka Night Time Tea, $14, and a hot bath with Epsom salts. This tea combines the sleepy-powers of oat flower, soothing lavender and silky-sweet lime flower. Full disclosure: the taste is a lot more subtle than the Yogi tea!
9. Black Out Curtains: JC Penny Sullivan Blackout Curtains, $10
If you’re someone who forgets to shut their curtains, it could be seriously disrupting your sleep. Julie says, “As we’re now exposed to so much blue light and light pollution, blackout blinds are critical. The reason why is they’ll help prevent the disruption of melatonin – the sleep hormone – which is only produced in the dark.” Julie swears blackout curtains are “One of the most crucial components of good sleep hygiene.”
10. Silk Eye Masks
According to Julie, “Research shows an eye mask can help increase your REM sleep, which then elevates levels of melatonin – the essential sleep hormone.” Her go-to is the Elasca Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask & Blindfold, $11, or the Total Eclipse Sleep Mask, $13, as it offers almost complete darkness.
For more helpful sleep tips, check out Julie’s 7 tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
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