There are big things that make us happy (such as Instagram-worthy beach vacations and pricey spa treatments), but it's the small things that keep us sane and smiling on a daily basis. We're partnering with Clinique on a new series to help you look and feel your best every day. Check back each week for ways to take your life from good to great, whether that means finding a foundation that boosts your confidence (try Clinique Even Better Glow™ Light Reflecting Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15) or learning how to eat more mindfully. This week, we're sharing how to improve your nighttime routine.
There’s nothing worse than climbing into bed after an exhausting day only to have trouble actually falling asleep. Why is it that our minds start to race at the exact moment our heads hit the pillow? While we may not be able to solve this mystery just yet, there are several ways to improve your nighttime routine so you feel more zen before closing your eyes each night—and we learned them from the experts. One of our favorite techniques is using essential oils, and there’s a reason it works… “It creates an ambience that turns our rooms into welcoming, cozy environments,” explains aromatherapy expert Andrea Butje.
Ready to start yawning? Discover all of our favorite expert-approved tips for unwinding, and prepare to have your best night’s sleep yet.
Feng-Shui Your Space
While you may not always clock in a full eight hours of sleep (a girl can dream!), chances are you’re still spending a significant amount of time in your bedroom. That’s where the Chinese practice of feng shui comes in. And it doesn’t just improve your sleep—it can also increase your overall calmness, says Laura Cerrano, CEO of Feng Shui Manhattan. Feng shui can provide healing on four levels: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
To aid in your sleep, Cerrano says to start with decluttering your bedroom. “Anything you don’t need, use, or love—let it go,” she advises. In fact, a St. Lawrence University experiment suggests that people who sleep in messy bedrooms are more likely to have trouble falling and staying asleep at night. The moral of the story? Organizing your space—even just putting away small things you’ve used that day—should become a nightly routine.
Turn Off The Tech
Another tip we gathered from the feng shui guru is to (yes, you guessed it) unplug from technology before bedtime. No, this suggestion is not part of a plot to get you to stop obsessing over your Instagram feed. In fact, there’s science behind it: Baubiologie, influenced by feng shui, is the study of how indoor irritants impact our bodies, including our sleeping habits.
According to a Harvard Medical School study, the light emitted from devices can interfere with your body’s ability to produce melatonin, a sleep hormone. Cerrano suggests avoiding engaging with your computer, television, and cell phone for at least an hour before bed. Or if you need to start small, keep these devices several feet away from your bed while you sleep. It looks like we’ll have to ween ourselves off of our evening TV binges.
Trick Your Mind With Scents
Another way to unwind at night is to use essential oils that promote a calming state. The benefits of certain scents are extensive, says Kerri Nau, an expert at Aromatherapy Associates, including everything from calming the nervous system to soothing headaches. “As you inhale essential oil, you’re awakening areas within the brain that govern the endocrine system, nervous system, and the memory and emotional control center,” she explains.
To relax in the evening, Nau recommends lavender in any form. “Apply a few drops of oil to a cotton round, and stick it inside a pillowcase,” she says of one of her favorite tricks. That way you can receive the calming benefits of the lavender even while dozing.
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You can even take your newfound love of aromatherapy one step further. Sue Phillips, president of Scenterprises, suggests incorporating scents outside of the bedroom. “A lovely scented hot bath is a wonderful way to encourage relaxation and sleep prior to going to bed,” she says. Phillips recommends adding a few drops of rose oil to your bath water, as it’s a known stress reliever.
Ready to make your life even better? Check back next week for more tips—and in the meantime, shop the Clinique products that’ll improve your makeup routine every time.
Editor’s Note: Clinique does not endorse the brands or products mentioned in this story. We’ve added them in for your shopping pleasure!