I went an entire week without my iPhone before bed. I barely lived to tell.|
You can’t talk about beauty without sleep. From the beginning of time, man has relied on deep sleep as a vital part of good health and well-being. Studies have shown that sleep affects growth and stress hormones, heals, boosts the immune system, and more. But experts are now seeing just how little sleep or “good sleep” 💤millennials and Gen Z are getting from their own lifestyles. Said disruption of sleep is why we’ve partnered with hims, an all-encompassing wellness brand for men, to launch our first SLEEP WEEK. Among hair, sex, skin, mouth products, hims launched sleep gummies. Together, we’re bringing you an entire week of stories that are all about achieving your best sleep – ever. From influencers sharing their best sleep tips, to the science behind sleep, to the best products before bed and more, we’ve rounded the best info to get you zZz-ing asap 😴.
The other day I had a slight sore throat and was overly dramatic, fleeing to my doctor’s office.
While I was scrolling through my Instagram, my physician, who also moonlights as a DJ, examined my throat and muttered something appalling – and somewhat rude?
“David, your digital hygiene is terrible!”
“My diyiyal who?!” I replied, my tongue sticking out.
“You and your generation have a horr-i-ble di-gi-tal hy-giene,” he said, almost clapping back. “I can cure your cold virus with antibiotics but your digital hygiene? I suggest a detox. Or a therapist.”
A detox from my phone? Was my phone addiction that obvious? A month ago, a friend texted me his New Year’s resolution and said it was putting down all technology before bed, banning anything with artificial light. That meant no phone, no computer, no Netflix, no texting back your toxic friend from 2018. Nada. I was intrigued. Who, among our generation, goes to bed without swiping through Instagram as our bedtime stories?
But then I started to think about why he was doing this. It was to get better rest. For his brain to be more awake in the daytime – and be present.
According to the American Psychological Association, sleep deprivation has a lasting impact on your health. “Sleep deprivation taxes the immune system, and is associated with a heightened risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression,” they wrote. “The amount of sleep you get also affects your eating habits, as well as your memory, ability to focus, and mood.”
It’s after reading this that I realized that maybe, I, too, could try everything just for a week to recharge and see how I felt.
Make your room a sleep sanctuary
I wrote about this here, but creating a safe space for your brain to associate your room for sleep is key. So says Dr. Sally L. Davidson Ward, associate professor of pediatrics at the Kecks School of Medicine at USC. She tells me that training your brain for sleep takes effort and to make it into a tidied sanctuary. That meant decluttering, Marie Kondo-ing EVERYTHING and making it aesthetically pleasing. In a matter of a few days I felt myself less stressed and sighing with relief. Who knew that clutter – big or small – had such an effect on your mental health?
No electronics after 8 p.m.
This was the hardest week of my entire existence. Going cold turkey and charging my phone in my bathroom all night while I decompressed sans Instagram felt well, impossible. I have to admit, that for the first three days, I ran into the bathroom to check what I missed right before bed. But unplugging and reading a magazine or a book like it was 2010 was refreshing. My eyes were allowed to become heavy and my brain wasn’t so stimulated by all of that blue light. By Wednesday, I caved in. I’d wanted to watch the first episode of the Ted Bundy docuseries on Netflix before bed (not a good idea for nightmares) and decided 40 minutes wasn’t going to do anything. I failed for a night but got back on my digital detox for the remainder of the week. I can say with confidence that after unplugging for for an entire week before bed made a dramatic difference – so much so that I felt extremely refreshed the next day.
Mood lighting is clutch
Apparently, not all light before bed is bad. There’s one color that actually can be conducive to sleep. Red. According to scientific studies, red wavelengths produce melatonin. I changed my light bulbs to a smart one from Phillips Hue Smart Lighting and made my room completely red before bed. Not only did I feel as if I was in some spa – the red light was actually very soothing. So much so that I could feel myself melting into my covers and snoozing in no time.
I changed to an adjustable base
Now that my iPhone was out of sight, to keep myself from being so bored that I slept at a reasonable time, I had to find new before-sleep-hobbies. Reading or listening to soothing music. For the former, I changed to an adjustable bed from Leesa and holy shizz, my entire sleep experience changed. The adjustable base allows you to elevate both your legs or your head and this was so comfortable for my reading, I found I wanted to sleep that way. Contorting your body to the perfect pretzel before bed is a serious life hack that I’m so glad I found it.
Creating a beauty altar zenned me out
Beauty altars aren’t anything new but it wasn’t until I built my own that I felt completely … transformed. If you’re new to this sacred space, it’s simply a sectioned off place in your room that has special meaning. It could be where you place your photos, antiques, or things with memories. A beauty altar is similar: a space meant just for your beauty, fragrances, incense, tinctures and more. Add crystals or anything that’s soothing to your mind and spirit and you have a beauty altar.
Mine started out with three crystals: amethyst, selenite, and rose quartz – all stones that are purifying. I then added my favorite candles: Commodity in Book and Goop in Edition 04, fragrances: Le Labo Santal 33, The Nue Co, Byredo’s Rose Noir, lotions: Byredo’s Gypsy Water and Lord Jones’ hand cream, and a few others.
It’s a place where I end the night and I start by lighting my palo santo, a tree native to Mexico that emits a sweet, smoky fragrance while being said to ward off bad energy and spirits. I’ll then light my two candles, hold my crystals, speak an affirmation, while then spritzing myself with Nue Co’s calming fragrance, moisturizing my body and calming my soul.
While I can’t say that this process is for everyone, being mindful about meditation and calming the brain at night has really helped me to slow down, prepare for sleep and see my room as a sacred space. No
A little pillow mist goes a long way
Pillow mists aren’t new – but this one from REN is what I swear by. The formula is all natural with calming aromatherapy oils like frankincense and lavender along with hops, a sedative. With a spritz on my pillow and my blankets, I feel that I’m secured in a luxurious cocoon.
Use a sleep gummy
If all else fails – there’s always melatonin. It’s no secret that melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, helps one get going on their Zzz’s. For those whose brains are overly stimulated, taking melatonin may be the solution. There are many melatonin supplements out there but I haven’t come across one as fun – and delicious – as this one from hims. It’s in a gummy bear form, is pomegranate-raspberry in flavor, and gets you snoozing ASAP. You can take from 1-3 (depending on how much you think you need!) of them 30 minutes before bed. You’ll soon discover just how effective those little bears are in allowing you hibernate like one.