Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it's not. And if you read the title of this post then you already know where I am going with this.
It's sleep. Sleep is when our body heals itself. Recovers, regenerates, gets to do all those "secondary cellular functions" that we care so much about when they aren't happening but aren't as important when we are running around like crazy people doing horrible things to our skin via pollution, sun, stress, diet, living life, smiling, etc.
Sleep is a curative. It's basically magic for all your woes, skincare and otherwise. It's free. But damn is it hard to do. I am, at my best, about as good at sleeping as I am at speaking Mandarin Chinese. Which is to say I watch my husband do it effortlessly and marvel how it's done. Think in my head, "I should be able to do that!" Then hilariously botch any attempt with varying levels of shame and self loathing.
I can't fall asleep. I can't stay asleep. I nap like a champion, thereby perpetuating this vicious cycle.
But I want to get better. Lo, I need to get better. So I am working on it. And these are my best tips, the ones that maybe you have heard before, with a few I am sure you have not.
Regulate your body temperature.
We like to be cold when we sleep. 67 degrees is ideal. If like me you also need to be covered in heaping mounds of comforters and pillows, then this becomes a tricky challenge. To whit, I have optimized my bed, bedding, and sleepwear to help me stay cool, which helps me fall/stay asleep.
I do this by sleeping on natural fibers (linen is a personal favorite) and in natural fibers (silk and cotton FTW.) These sheets from Overstock are a gorgeous, soothing silvery grey. Smooth, soft and breathable. I am very into my silk sleep set from Everlane. I also have a cooling gel memory foam mattress and cooling pillows.
Create a space that feels tranquil
For me the beige, grey and stone color palette immediately takes my stress level from a 10 to a 6 or maybe a 4 on a good day. The over abundance of pillows also helps, as I like to build myself into a little pillow fort using my dog/husband for support beams. At last count we have two tiny decorative chenille bolster pillows, 3 euro shams, and 4 of the plumpest, firmest, dreamiest king-sized pillows ever.
Block out light and sound
See that picture of me with my phone, my BFF's genius brother taught me how to set it on "night shift" mode so I can read before bed without yucky blue light. I also invested in this pillowy soft jersey eye mask with a cooling insert (see #1 above) that also comes with stickers! Both of our bed stands are now stocked with headphones since car chases and loud talking on television shows now give me nightmares.
Have a soothing bedtime ritual
This was the thing I missed most about my skincare purge. The 20 minutes I spend washing my face then gently massaging in gorgeous whipped potions is my way of unwinding and relaxing. The soft smells, the decadent feeling creams, just taking that time for me, all helps me shift into bedtime mode.