Healthy Skin Challenge #2: Catch More Z's

Welcome to the second installment of the Healthy Skin Challenge in honor of National Healthy Skin Month! If you missed Challenge #1 you can find it HERE.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting tips on how you can improve the health of your skin, along with challenges and recipes to jump-start your progress. 



We all know how important it is to get good sleep every night. It sounds easy in theory, right? But for many of us in this fast-paced world, getting a solid night's rest is a struggle.

While we sleep, our skin is regenerating and repairing itself from the stresses of the day (environmental irritants, physical stress, etc.). It is when we sleep that our skin fights off the free radicals that cause the aging process (i.e. wrinkles, loss of collagen and sagging skin). Lack of sleep also causes a rise in the bodies level of cortisol, a stress hormone, that contributes to accelerating the aging process and acne. Not getting enough rest also makes skin more susceptible to conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. 

People joke about getting their "beauty rest," but there really is a lot of truth in how sleep affects our skin. Getting more sleep is good for your body for many reasons, healthy skin being one of them.

For the next week, go to bed an hour earlier than usual. Ideally you should be in bed by 10pm and try to get AT LEAST 8 hours of sleep. 

Combined with boosting your fluid intake from our last challenge, take note of how the added rest makes your skin appear. Does it look more vibrant and clear? Is there less redness or more even skin tone? Does it feel smoother and softer?


  • Limit your caffeine intake to before Noon, so that you are not wired into the afternoon and evening.
  • Avoid too much alcohol before bedtime. While a glass of wine can be a nice way to unwind, too many glasses can actually disrupt your sleep (darn).
  • Designate the two hours before bedtime as sacred relaxation time. Rather than cramming more chores into your already busy day, honor yourself by taking this time to unwind - close the computer and turn off your phone, curl up with a book and a cup of tea, do some gentle stretches, a guided meditation or that yoga video you always wish you could get to, take a relaxing bath, chat with your best friend - whatever gives you relaxation and comfort to prepare your body for rest. Keep it simple, so that your nighttime routine flows easily.
  • Limit electronics (TV, computer, etc) before bedtime so your brain isn't overly stimulated.
  • Keep your room dark and cool for optimal sleep conditions. Layer your bed with several weights of blankets so you can add or subtract layers for your perfect level of warmth.
  • Consider using a guided meditation, relaxation audio or white noise soundtrack/app to fall asleep (see below for suggestions) .
  • If you are like me and have a nighttime hamster bladder that wakes you up to pee during the night, try to not turn on the light as it can jolt you awake and keep you from easily falling back asleep. :/ Also, try to limit fluids past 7pm.
  • Consult a medical professional if you have chronic issues falling asleep or staying asleep during the night. They can help determine if you have a sleep disorder or other health condition that can affect your sleep.


8:00 PM
With your chores for the day complete, sit down for 10 minutes in a comfortable position in a quiet location and close your eyes. Allow your brain to run through what happened during your day - what went well, what could have gone better, what tomorrow may bring. At the end of the 10 minutes, make a conscious decision to let everything you just processed go. The day is done.

8:15 PM
Prepare a cup of tea. Chamomile is a great choice for relaxation that you can easily find in your local grocery. For a bit more of a sleepy time kick, try Fidnemed Nightime Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. This tea blend includes hops, passionflower, skullcap and valerian - herbs that promote sleep and relaxation.

8:30 PM
Pour yourself a hot bath (not too hot!). While the water is running, mix a few drops of lavender essential oil into 1 cup full of Epsom salts. You can find Epsom salts at any local drugstore or grocery and, nowadays, it is sometimes easy to find a good quality lavender oil there, too. If not, you can find it at your local natural foods store or online.

Light a yummy candle, add the salts to your bath, hop in, sip your tea and take a 15-30 minute soak with that book you have been wanting to read - a real one made of paper and ink is recommended for the complete experience. :)

9:00 PM
Complete your bedtime routine - take the time to apply a luxurious lotion after getting out of the bath - you deserve it! Put on your robe and fuzzy slippers and curl up on the couch with your cup of tea for a few more decadent moments of reading.

9:30 PM
Crawl into bed and turn out the lights. Using whatever device you listen to music on (smartphone, mp3 player, etc.), fire up your favorite relaxing music, guided sleep meditation or white noise soundtrack. Here are a few of my favorites:
Hopefully, by now, you are asleep. Nuh nite. Rest well... :)

What do you do to get a restful night's sleep?

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