“Getting deep sleep is one of the best things you can do for your skin. It’s during REM sleep that your body regenerates cells and produces collagen—both keys to maintaining youthful skin.” ~ Dr. Howard Murad
A change in season gives us an opportunity to cast off bad habits and embrace changes to our regular routines. Here are a few tips to ensure you’re getting a good night’s sleep:
- Create a sleep sanctuary. Transform your bedroom into a place for slumber, not an entertainment centre or office. This means keeping your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. If your bedroom is not dark enough, try using a sleep mask. If ambient noise is disturbing your sleep, use soft foam earplugs or a white-noise machine. It’s also important to have a good mattress, pillows and sheets. Think about how much money you spend on a car. Chances are you spend more hours in your bed than you do in your car, so consider it a wise investment. And make sure you’re wearing loose-fitting, comfortable sleepwear.
- Exercise for great sleep. Exercising during the day supports sleep, but remember to give yourself enough time to decompress (at least three hours). Exercise too late in the day will stimulate your body and mind when you should be winding down for sleep.
- Keep an eye on seasonal partying. Christmas parties are a blast, but keep in mind how this will affect your nightly rhythm. If you consume alcohol up to three hours before you hit the sheets, you may fall asleep easier, but your sleep cycle will be disrupted. Instead of a night cap, try a cup of chamomile tea with honey.
- Tune technology out. We’re attached to our devices from the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we crash at night. The problem is that the light emitted by smartphones, iPads, laptops, etc mimics daylight and sends a signal to our brains to get active! The release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) is inhibited, which is bad news for getting a good night’s sleep. So commit to turning off technology at least half an hour before bedtime.
- Prepare for sleep. Once you’ve finally powered down all of the gadgets, what’s next? Do you have a good book? What are some books you want to read but never seem to have the time? Bedtime is also a great time to practice relaxation techniques, including gentle yoga poses and breathing exercises to calm the mind and body. Start by breathing slowly and deeply as you ease into slumber. Another soothing way to transition from a busy day and mind chatter is to develop a gratitude practice. As you lie still in bed, make a mental list of all the things you are grateful for.
- Create a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Realistically, we know this is not always possible. But if you can, try going to bed at approximately the same time every night, within a half hour. You’ll start to train your mind and body that “this is bedtime, time to go to sleep.” Same goes for waking up. No sleeping in on Saturdays! If you can get up and go to bed at approximately the same times every day, you can train your mind and body to naturally be on track for good waking energy and a sound night’s sleep.