Monday, April 7, 2014

Beauty Sleep 101

Today I am honored to be writing this post at the request of the folks at HSN. Carly Woods recently wrote a blog post there titled 4 Overnight Beauty Products You Should Be Using. If you're interested, you can also click on over to HSN's Skin Care Products page to check out all of the products they have available.

We all know it's important to get plenty of sleep at night. We feel better when we've gotten a good night's sleep, and we're able to get through the day easier too.

For many of us, we have a typical "bed time routine" we follow. These routines are good, and can help us unwind at the end of the day.

When it comes to beauty/skin care products that I use as part of my own nightly routine, my main goal is to moisturize!

Long-time readers are probably already aware I am a huge fan of body lotions and use a wide variety of lotions from numerous brands. Whatever suits my fancy at the time is what I use. I adore Bath & Body Works lotions, as they come in so many fragrances and are lightweight and non-greasy. Organix Hydrating Moroccan Argan Oil Lotion is another of my favorites. It smells amazing (I always get compliments when I use it!) and is also lightweight and non-greasy. It's got mica in it, so it also leaves your skin with a soft shimmery glow. Some other favorite body lotions include Avon Skin So Soft, Vaseline Intensive Rescue Repairing lotion, and St. Ives Replenishing Mineral Therapy Body Lotion. There are lots of other body lotions I love too, but if I were to sit here and list each and every one, we'd be here all day.

Oils are also great for moisturizing. A couple of my favorites are Organix Moroccan Dry Body Oil and Alpha Kerri Shower & Bath Moisture Rich Oil. I also like to use pure argan oil and grapeseed oil - because these are pure oils and not oil blends like the bath/body oils you can get, they are ideal for use on the face. I know it might sound weird to use oil to moisturize but it does work. (Oil is also a great cleanser, as crazy as that sounds! I'll be doing a post in the future about this, so if you're not familiar be sure to check back soon for that!)  Whatever oil you like to use to moisturize, the key is using small amounts on damp skin. Applying oils to dry skin tends to not work as well in my experience; after a shower your pores are open thus allowing your moisturizers to soak in better than if you were to apply to dry skin. Lotions work better applied to damp skin as well, but are of course fine (and more suited than oils) to be applied to dry skin. To recap: lotion can be applied to both damp and dry skin, but stick to applying oils to damp skin only.

I also make sure I always apply some lip balm before bed. Kind of like lotions, I have loads of favorites. Some of them are Vaseline Lip Therapy, Carmex, Blistex Daily Conditioning Treatment, and ChapStick Hydration Lock.

I have not added any eye creams or serums to my routine yet, though I know I ought to. I have been "window shopping" and reading reviews of a few things that might make their way into my routine but for now these are things that are not a part of my stash of products.

To take things away from the beauty product realm a bit, there are some other things that can help you get a good night's sleep.

Stay hydrated: Above I talked about moisturizing your skin from the outside with lotions and oils. It's very important that you keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day as well. If you find it's difficult for you to get the recommended 64 ounces a day, try keeping a large water bottle on hand throughout the day and make it a point to take a sip every so often. (32 ounce bottles are great, and you know if you drink two full bottles during the day you've met the 64 ounce recommendation.)

Exercise regularly: Having a regular exercise routine is important for many reasons, one of which is that regular exercise can help you sleep better at night. I'm no medical professional so make sure you talk to your doctor about fitness routines for you to make sure you're safe with your chosen workout plan.

Have a cup of tea. In the evenings about an hour or so before bed, a cup of hot, soothing tea can help you unwind after a long day. The simple act of making and drinking tea can be cathartic. By choosing a relaxing tea like chamomile or any number of tea blends designed to help aid in relaxation (like Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea, one of my own favorites!) your nightly cup of tea can also help you fall asleep once you slip under the covers.

You can also try a pillow mist with calming fragrances like Lavender & Chamomile Pillow Mist  from Bath & Body Works. Just lightly mist your bedding a couple of minutes* before bed, and the fragrance will help to calm and relax you so you can fall asleep more easily. Some of the top fragrances for sleep/relaxation to look for include lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, vanilla, and jasmine.

* - Depending on your sensitivity to fragrances this may not be a good solution for you, or you may want to spritz your bedding earlier in the evening prior to bed time.

White noise can be your best friend. Some people find it difficult to fall asleep if it's too quiet, and they need something making a small bit of noise so they can sleep. You can try buying a white noise machine if you can find a model that has sounds you find soothing, or look for a CD with soft music/sounds of nature to help lull you to sleep at night. My mom always sleeps with a fan on, and can't sleep without it. She even takes a small tabletop fan with her when she travels. She doesn't need the fan for the air flow it provides - it's simply for the noise.

What are some of your favorite/must-have products for your night time routine? Do you have any tips, tricks, or products that help you sleep at night?

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