Recharge Your Body & Mind with a Soothing Bedtime Ritual
In our last post, we explored why sleep is so important for our skin, mental agility, metabolism, and overall health. For those of us having trouble clocking in a solid 7 to 9 hours, though, setting up a relaxing night-time routine is a great way to ensure that we get to sleep easily and wake up feeling refreshed. Below, we share our favorite natural bedtime rituals for a good night’s sleep.
Create a sleep schedule that works for you, and stick to it.
You knew it was coming, but we have to start here—7 to 9 hours every night. Yes, every night! The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours for adults age 18 to 64, and 7 to 8 hours for anyone age 65 or older.
Some people may be alert and happy on 7 hours, while others feel cranky and groggy with anything less than 9. Figure out what works for you, and stick to it. Try moving up your bedtime in increments of 15 minutes. This way, your body’s internal clock—or circadian rhythm—will adjust better to the new routine, making it easier to get up and fall asleep when you need to.
For the frequent travelers, our founder Munemi recommends a natural melatonin supplement to get your internal clock back on track post jet lag. Melatonin can also be found in some of our favorite foods, like oranges, tomatoes, and cherries.
Tidy up before snuggling up.
Take care of unfinished chores before you hit the hay—a cluttered room creates a cluttered mind. If you’re headed to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes and a pile of unfolded laundry in the corner, you might not be able to fully relax for rest. Studies have even shown that visible areas of disorder induce stress and impede our ability to focus.
Tidying up before bed will also better prepare you for the next morning, especially if you’re a night owl. Laying out your outfit, packing lunch, and making sure your gym bag is packed and ready will make mornings a lot smoother.
Exercise is sleep’s best friend.
To better ensure a deep sleep every night, get your heart rate going a few times a week. Getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week will help with insomnia and also ward off daytime sleepiness. Even if you fall short of 150 minutes, a quick workout is better than nothing.
Restorative yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can also help eliminate stress and better prepare your body for rest. For some simple pre-bed yoga, lie down on your back with your butt a few inches from the wall and put your feet up on the wall. This will help ease tired legs and feet and relax the mind.
Create a soothing bedtime beauty ritual.
To get out of daytime mode, establish a bedtime routine that works for you—something to pamper yourself before taking on tomorrow. Even simply washing your face can be a great way to unwind. Instead of thinking of it as one more task to complete, bask in the feel of the water, the scent of your favorite cleanser (hint, hint), and the softness of your towel.
Try to set aside a couple of nights a week for a more luxurious routine—think face masks, foot soaks, and essential-oil-infused baths. After a soak in the tub, our core body temperature drops, speeding up a cooling process that happens naturally when we sleep. This will help get your body into sleep mode faster, but to really get the full spa effect, try mixing 10 drops of lavender oil and 5 drops of chamomile oil with a handful of sea salt, and adding them to warm water. Lavender oil eases aches and induces relaxation, while chamomile relieves tension. For an even more elegant spa session, scatter some lavender buds in the water.
Set up an electronics-free zone.
It’s tempting to catch up on social media in bed, but electronics are our worst enemy when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. The blue light emitted from our screens (phones, tablets, computers, TVs) affects our levels of melatonin—the sleep-inducing hormone—and throw off our circadian rhythms.
In Arianna Huffington’s inspiring book, The Sleep Revolution, she touches on the difficulty of allowing ourselves to truly rest while living in a nonstop, constantly connected society: “To be able to leave the outside world behind each night when we go to sleep…we need to first recognize that we are more than our struggles and more than our victories and failures. By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are.”
Reading a book before bed is a great way to free our minds from the daily grind. There’s even science to back it up—studies have shown that reading may reduce stress by up to 68%. And simply establishing reading time as pre-sleep time will signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.
Your skin loves a good night’s sleep, too—let it luxuriate.
As we discussed in our "beauty sleep" post, our skin is better at absorbing nutrients at night. During the day, active ingredients are less effective because they’re exposed to sunlight, and our skin is busy fending off free radicals. When we sleep, our body temperature rises, allowing products to better absorb into our skin without having to compete with makeup and sunscreen.
If you’re serious about smooth skin, invest in a silk pillowcase to avoid those dreaded morning sheet-prints on your cheeks. It will also cut down on friction; as opposed to cotton or other materials, your face simply slides across silk, reducing redness and irritation.
Skip the snooze button.
Not all of us are morning people, but we can try. Hitting the snooze button isn’t the way to do it. Not only does it make you feel guilty (…Gym? Skip. Breakfast? Skip. Shower? Skip…) but it also makes you feel groggier when you do finally get up. Every time you hit snooze, your sleep cycle starts all over again, so you’re never really getting any extra rest.
If you find yourself groggy in the morning even when getting a solid 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye and abstaining from the snooze button, you might be waking up at a bad time in your sleep cycle. When you’re jolted out of a deep stage of REM, your body has a harder time adjusting to daytime mode. Apps like Sleep Cycle “listen” to your breathing through your phone’s microphone and wake you during the lightest phase of your sleep.
Munemi's Tip: Skin care expert, makeup artist, and MUN founder Munemi Imai stresses the importance of a regular sleep routine: “Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day really does make a difference—when I keep to a consistent schedule, I’m clear-headed, my metabolism is faster, and I wake up looking and feeling good.” Consistency is crucial.
To make the most of every day, we also have to make the most of every night. The restorative effects of a good night’s sleep help strengthen our bodies, refresh our minds, and rejuvenate our skin. Try incorporating our Ayour Body Toning Serum into your bedtime ritual to take full advantage of sleep’s revitalizing effects for the skin. Containing antioxidant-rich prickly pear seed oil, this serum helps promote faster cell turnover for a radiant, smooth complexion. Its skin-soothing blend of lavender, neroli and frankincense essential oils also provides a relaxing aromatherapeutic experience for unwinding after a long day.