Get Naturally Beautiful in One Night (Plus 10% Off Silk Pillowcases Until December 31st)

Get Naturally Beautiful in One Night (Plus 10% Off Silk Pillowcases Until December 31st)

Get Naturally Beautiful in One Night

I think it’s pret­ty safe to say that most of us prefer to have good things arrive quick­ly and stay forever.

Nat­u­ral beau­ty is no dif­fer­ent — we desire it to be there our entire lives. It can be with us since birth, but leave quick­ly in our young adult years due to inter­nal and exter­nal neglect. Or it can come to us lat­er in life, when we first learn how to real­ly take care of our­selves and unleash the beau­ty that’s been hid­ing.

Either way, one thing is eter­nal­ly impor­tant to nat­u­ral beau­ty:

Sleep.

Yes yes, you sleep by default, but sleep­ing prop­er­ly will bring you infinite­ly more ener­gy, health, and there­fore, beau­ty.

We have all been taught to “get your 8 hours of sleep!” but with­out any decent expla­na­tion. Sleep is restora­tive to our brain and every cell in our bod­ies. Whether you are a monopha­sic or polypha­sic sleep­er, the amount of time you spend sleep­ing is a chance for your body to work on repairs and gen­er­ate an even chem­i­cal play­ing field for your brain. Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley and Har­vard Med­ical School have com­plet­ed stud­ies indi­cat­ing that a good night’s sleep reg­u­lates your mood and helps you cope with the chal­lenges of your wak­ing hours. Well-rest­ed peo­ple are hap­pier, less-stressed, and more con­sis­tent with their moods. They also tend to smile more, be friend­lier, and because their brains are bet­ter equipped to deal with stress, there is less silent impact on their cells (i.e. inflam­ma­tion, oxidation/free rad­i­cal dam­age), and there­fore their out­ward appear­ance is more nat­u­ral­ly beau­ti­ful.

Oh, and I almost for­got to men­tion: less stress and more prop­er sleep means no weight gain (assum­ing you don’t eat crap food all the time), and being lean (not stick thin, don’t get me wrong) is an unde­ni­able sign of health and beau­ty.

And while you might get 8–9 hours of sleep every night, take a look at when you are going to sleep. Are you on a super late night sched­ule? 1 am to 10 am, 3 am to noon? If so, try switch­ing to a sched­ule that bet­ter suits your nat­u­ral cir­ca­di­an rhythms. This is the clock your body is nat­u­ral­ly set to (just like every liv­ing thing on the plan­et) and oper­ates the best on. If you’ve ever expe­ri­enced jet lag or insom­nia, then you know what it’s like to have fal­l­en off your nat­u­ral rhythm. You nev­er see any grog­gy birds, insom­ni­ac deer, or squir­rels that won’t leave the house with­out first drink­ing a cup of cof­fee and putting on make­up to hide the hints of sleep depri­va­tion on their faces. For me, get­ting on a bet­ter sched­ule means going to sleep by 10 pm and wak­ing up by 7 am.

But it’s not always like that, because mod­ern soci­ety says that going to a movie at mid­night with your fam­i­ly and friends is per­fect­ly accept­able, and stay­ing up til 3 am to fin­ish a paper or an epic blog post is also just fine and dandy. But your body doesn’t see it that way, and falling into those time traps forces our sys­tem to work out­side its most effi­cient state. Sure, our bod­ies are amaz­ing, adapt­able bio­log­i­cal machi­nes, but why should we take advan­tage of that all the time? Why not work with our bod­ies, instead of con­stant­ly work­ing again­st them in order to sat­is­fy every tem­po­rary whim? Let’s do what we can for our health that is with­in our imme­di­ate per­son­al pow­er. For instance, we can’t get rid of all the air pol­lu­tion out­side by our­selves, but if we take away some of those extra stres­sors that are so unnec­es­sary (i.e. not get­ting prop­er sleep, eat­ing junk food, smok­ing), we’d be so much health­ier and beau­ti­ful — imme­di­ate­ly!

So here’s some take-away tips that will have you wak­ing up the next morn­ing feel­ing and look­ing more beau­ti­ful than before:

1. Set your­self up for a won­der­ful sleep — whether that’s light­ing a few can­dles, read­ing a bor­ing book or a page-turn­er, tak­ing a soak in the bath, hav­ing some fun with your part­ner, or lis­ten­ing to some relax­ing music. 

2. Don’t exer­cise with­in 3–4 hours of your intend­ed sleep time, as it can ener­gize you instead of induc­ing sleep (a relax­ing yoga class may have the oppo­site effect).

3. Don’t drink cof­fee. Bet­ter yet, avoid any­thing with refined sug­ar or caf­feine. Not only does it com­plete­ly screw up your brain chem­istry and your abil­i­ty to have a nor­mal, rest­ful sleep sched­ule, it also dehy­drates your skin and can cause pre­ma­ture wrin­kling. You don’t need cof­fee to wake up. You don’t see dogs and deer drag­ging their feet to the cof­fee pot. Sleep­ing prop­er­ly, eat­ing bet­ter, and exer­cis­ing will provide you with all-day nat­u­ral ener­gy.

4. Avoid com­put­er activ­i­ties with­in 1 hour of going to sleep. Stim­u­lat­ing your brain with the bright light and infor­ma­tion over­load of a com­put­er is gen­er­al­ly not a good idea right before bed. This has been the best adjust­ment for me per­son­al­ly, since my work revolves around a com­put­er. I shut every­thing down 1–2 hours before bed, and I’m guar­an­teed to fall asleep quick­ly and have a good night’s sleep. If not, it can take me an hour to “turn my brain off” and sleep may not be as rest­ful.

5. Aim for going to bed ear­lier and wak­ing up ear­lier. This gets you in tune with your body’s nat­u­ral, most effi­cient rhythms, mean­ing you will feel more ener­get­ic, be more pro­duc­tive, be more emo­tion­al­ly sta­ble, and be more relaxed. And since your cells will be repaired quick­er, you will look more refreshed. If you like being a late-night per­son (like me), but def­i­nite­ly see the ben­e­fits of get­ting on a health­ier sleep time, then I rec­om­mend you read Steve Pavlina’s help­ful arti­cle on how to become an ear­ly ris­er.

6. An impor­tant part of sleep is what you’re sleep­ing on. Ever notice the smooshed red cheeks and frizzed-out hair of most peo­ple when they wake up in the morn­ing? Sur­pris­ing­ly, it is entire­ly due to their pil­low­case. The fibers of the major­i­ty of pil­low­cas­es, even cot­ton, are rough on the skin and tend to fray the hair (and will even con­tribute to break­age), and you will find that the many beau­ti­ful wom­en (and hand­some men) in his­to­ry have slept on silk. Silk has a beau­ti­ful con­sis­ten­cy that mesh­es incred­i­bly well with our own skin, and its ben­e­fits to the skin are wide­ly known. I’ve been sleep­ing on this Dream­Sacks silk pil­low­case for 7 years and even bring one with me when I trav­el — after you start sleep­ing on silk, sleep­ing on a reg­u­lar pil­low­case will feel like sand­pa­per. This isn’t meant to sound snooty, because silk is more afford­able now (Dream­Sacks are $58 for a set of 2 and they’re offer­ing 10% off with code 10DREAM09 if you order by Decem­ber 31st, 2009) and it’s just plain bet­ter for your skin and hair over­all. Sleep­ing prop­er­ly for nat­u­ral beau­ty def­i­nite­ly includes sleep­ing on a skin-friend­ly fab­ric!

7. Hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing? Try tak­ing mag­ne­sium. It is a min­er­al almost all of us are defi­cient in, and it’s too bad because mag­ne­sium is respon­si­ble for relax­ing your body and elim­i­nat­ing waste build-up in cells. Try to eat mag­ne­sium-rich snacks through­out the day or an hour before bed, such as a hand­ful of raw pump­kin seeds, raw sun­flow­er seeds, a cup of spinach or any oth­er dark green, or 4 ounces of fish (name­ly salmon, hal­ibut, and tuna). You can also take mag­ne­sium in pow­der form. Pure Essence Ion­ic Fizz Mag­ne­sium Plus and Peter Gillham’s Nat­u­ral Calm are both excel­lent mag­ne­sium sup­ple­ments and what I take when I haven’t been eat­ing my greens. ;D

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