We’ve shared tips before about how a healthy diet can help to improve your skin, but did you know that one of the best ways to great skin health you can actually achieve in your sleep. No kidding! Sleep is critical to your body’s restorative process, and that includes your skin, not surprisingly because it’s actually the largest organ of our bodies.

You’ve probably noticed before after a sleepless night those dark circles under your eyes and puffiness in your face. Well, imagine several nights of insufficient sleep and I’m sure you can start to picture the effects over time… fine lines and wrinkles, skin discoloration, larger pores, just to name a few. I won’t scare you with all that, but instead I’ll tell you how you can get a great night’s rest naturally and help benefit your long-term skin health.

Eat & Drink

Be thoughtful about what you eat and drink. Hydrating with water is great since it helps flush toxins out of your system and improves your skin, but consuming too much before bed is just going to add more of those midnight trips to the bathroom. Get your water in earlier in the day. Definitely skip the nightcap. Not only is it going to dehydrate you, but it’s also going to disrupt your sleep cycle. You might crash quickly and find yourself in a deep sleep, but after the alcohol metabolizes you’re going to find yourself a little more alert than you might like.

Avoiding foods close to bedtime is also advised. Your body requires a lot of energy to digest food. But, if you do find yourself in need of a late night snack there are some healthy options that will actually help aide you in getting to sleep a little faster. Make yourself a bowl of granola with milk or yogurt. The carbohydrates and calcium will do double duty in supporting your sleep. If you’re looking for something that might satisfy your sweet tooth, try a spoonful of honey before bed. It raises insulin and allows tryptophan to enter your brain more easily. You can also add it to a cup of chamomile tea for the added benefits of relaxation. Bananas are also chock full of potassium and a great source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin, combine that with the carbs, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a sleep snack.

Exercise

Of course you know exercise is good for your health in general, but it turns out that individuals who exercise actually have better sleep overall. The harder the workout the better, but even as little as ten minutes a day can make all the difference. The reason why is because it puts your body in the restorative state of sleep longer (which means it helps cell recovery and regrowth). The other benefit is that exercise helps to reduce stress, which if you’re anything like me could be the main thing keeping you from a good night’s rest. What time you workout is highly debatable based on what you read, just make sure its not too close to the time you plan to go to bed.

Sounds

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that noise can definitely keep you from sleeping, but the right kind of noise can actually help lull you to sleep. Ambient noises help to mask the background noise of say busy city streets or even a snoring partner or pet. White noise is the most common type of noise, created by playing equal levels of frequencies all at once. White noise can be expressed in a couple different forms like nature sounds of the rain or sea, by machine made noises like a fan or washing machine, or ambient sounds like a crackling campfire. You can buy a white noise machine, but nowadays there are tons of apps out there that do just as good if not better job to recreate those natural sounds. One of my favorites is a mindful meditation app called Calm that has a pretty extensive library of sounds.

Bedding

Since we’re talking about sleep, it would only make sense to talk about the actual place you sleep…your bed. Consider breathable cotton sheets. It’ll help keep your body temperature regular and prevent you from overheating in the middle of the night. Also, take a closer look at your laundry detergent and fabric softeners. Those that are highly fragrant can sometimes be irritating to not only your senses, but also the skin. Try naturally derived solutions like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day that leave out the dyes and synthetic fragrances, and instead tap into plant and vegetable based agents.

Aromatherapy

Shocker! We’re pretty much all about the good smells, but you certainly can’t go wrong with scents with a purpose. Probably one of the most well known scents is lavender. It calms your nervous system, lowers your blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. Equally as pleasing and just as powerful would be jasmine. Some research has even suggested that jasmine helps to provide a more productive night’s sleep, leaving you feeling even more refreshed in the morning.

Not crazy about the floral aspects of lavender and jasmine, try a little bergamont. The citrusy scent helps to reduce stress while also improving your mood. Going for an even more masculine scent check out cedarwood or sandlewood essential oils. Spray your sheets, consider a warm bath with a few drops of the oils, or utilize a diffuser to activate these essential oils and help you get a good night’s rest.

Now go get your beauty rest!