It’s human nature to want to look young for as long as possible. While we were kids, we always dreamed of becoming an adult as fast as possible to “do whatever we want”. Now, we reminisce about our childhood, and wish we didn’t look our age.

But did you know that there are sleep habits you can try to help you look younger? There are plenty of things you can do and change to help you look younger than your true age. From pre-bed routines, to finding the right sleep position, and everything else in between, let’s take a look at some tips on how to get beauty sleep that actually works.

Create a routine

Like anything else you do in life, you want to create a routine for beauty sleep. Simply put, starting and keeping a routine will help get your mind and body ready for sleep, and know when it’s time to start winding down. Try finding an activity that isn’t stimulating, such as reading a good book, writing in a journal, or listening to music. Do this every night to train your mind and body.

Make sure you also go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Maintaining a schedule allows your body to develop a natural cycle. This makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up well rested. While you may be tempted to stay up later on weekends and on holidays, having an inconsistent sleep schedule can be detrimental to your ability to sleep.

Dietary changes

To maximize the benefits of beauty sleep, there are some things you’ll want to cut out before going to bed, especially if you enjoy a late night snack or a nightcap.

If you are craving a late night snack, avoid having those potato chips or any other salty snacks. Salty foods can cause swelling, bloat and puffiness under your eyes, leading to the under-eye bags in the morning. Removing as much salt from your diet as possible, especially throughout the day, will really help things move along as well. If you use salt on your foods for flavor, try using spices and herbs like rosemary or garlic. That way, you get unique flavors without increasing the chances of inflammation.

If you enjoy a nightcap before falling asleep, you should change your beverage of choice from alcohol. Alcohol causes inflammation like salty foods. So while a glass of wine before bed may feel relaxing, it won’t help keep your skin looking younger. Alcohol also reduces REM sleep, which is the deep sleep your body needs to rejuvenate. If you really need something to sip on before you get to bed, try drinking water, as it will keep you hydrated, which in turn helps keep your skin looking healthier.

Unwind before sleep

Relieving stress and relaxing the body are the best ways to make sure you’ll get the sleep you need. If your body aches, or it’s the cold winter months, try drawing a warm bath. The warm water will help soothe the aches and pains from the day, and relaxing in the water will help clear your mind of any distractions and stress. Click Here to Shop for Eli & Elm Pillow

You can also try any kind of meditation to help create mindfulness and slow down your thoughts to bring focus to getting sleep. Not only will this help bring you to sleep, but reducing your stress is also beneficial to slowing down the aging of your skin.

Woman meditating

Practice good pre-bed hygiene

Before your head hits the pillow, make sure you wash your face and hair. Throughout the day, your face gets dirty, produces body oils, and carries around bacteria. Even if your face looks clean and doesn’t feel gross, you can transfer all these nasty little things onto your pillowcase. Failing to make sure you keep your face and hair clean before getting to bed increases the chance of an outbreak, and all the gunk will remain on the pillowcase until the next time you wash it.

Wait a little bit if you moisturize

Moisturizing and using specific creams while sleeping can help heal and maintain skin. If you do these routines each night, hold off getting into bed for at least 15 minutes after applying. You want to hold off so the moisturizer and creams have time to properly sink into your skin, instead of running the risk that they would rub off onto your best pillow. This also prevents the risk of the products getting into your eyes and causing irritation.

Optimize your bedroom

If you want to get the most out of your beauty sleep, you need to make your room optimal for sleep. The easiest thing to do is making the room a relaxing, peaceful environment. This means you can add family photos, plants, or whatever make you feel like you're in an environment that brings you peace and relaxation. This also means that you need to keep anything that reminds you of work or other stressors out! Remember, the bedroom should be for two things and two things only: sex and sleep.

Make sure your room is as dark as possible. Your body releases melatonin naturally to help you fall asleep based on the amount of light within your surroundings. If there is a lot of light within your room, your body will delay the release of melatonin, making it harder to get to sleep. If you live in an area where it tends to be bright overnight, consider investing in blackout window shades to keep the light out. You can also look at using a sleep mask to block out light if blackout shades aren’t feasible.

Keep out all electronics as well. The bright lights from televisions, tablets and phones can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s biological clock. And while you may feel the need to respond to an email from work in the middle of the night, prolonged exposure to these artificial lights will ruin your sleep quality.

Make sure your room is kept at a comfortable temperature. Most sleep experts say that the range for optimal sleeping conditions is between 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are trying to go a greener route and not use air conditioning, or not running the air conditioner throughout the night, try using ceiling or desk fans to help create a breeze. You can also open the windows, as long as the outside temperature isn’t high. During hotter summer months, try using lighter, breathable bedding sheets, such as bamboo.

Make sure that your room is quiet and free of distracting noises. While you might not fully wake up in a noisy environment, external sounds can disrupt REM sleep. If you live in a noisy area, using a white noise machine or calming sounds can help drown out the excess noise, allowing you to get to sleep.

If your bedroom tends to be on the drier end, look into using a humidifier. Dry air obviously can dry out your skin. Of course, you may want to do a little extra moisturizing instead of running a humidifier during the humid summer months, or if you live in a humid climate to begin with.

And finally, you can try burning a candle or two before calling it a night. Burning candles with specific scents can help promote sleep, as well as create a sense of calm and relaxation. Most experts agree that lavender is your best bet, as the herb has been shown to not only create a deeper sleep, but it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure. If you feel rather blue and need a little mental pick-me-up, vanilla is a good aroma to introduce to the mix. Some studies have found that vanilla has a positive effect on your mood, and can be used as an antidepressant in some cases. Of course, there are plenty of scents available, so you’re likely to find a candle that works for you. This should go without saying, but PLEASE make sure you blow the candle out before you go to sleep!

Woman meditating

The sleeping part of beauty sleep

For beauty sleep to work, you of course need to sleep! This means that you need to have plenty of quality sleep, about seven to nine hours worth. To help get the best out of beauty sleep, there are some things you need to know.

If you are aiming to prevent wrinkles, sleeping on your back is the best position to prevent wrinkles from happening. This is because you don’t put any pressure on your face, compared to sleeping on your side or stomach. If you suffer from back pain, you can use an additional pillow under your knees and a rolled up towel under the small of your back (part of your back JUST above the hip) to have the proper alignment, which is key to preventing worse pain.

While sleeping on your back is the best at preventing wrinkles from forming while you sleep, you need to keep in mind that getting quality sleep is the most important factor in beauty sleep. You need to find the sleeping position you feel the most comfortable with, and you believe that you will get the most sleep with.

You can also look into using a silk eye mask while you sleep. While we explained the benefit of blocking out light before, these masks may help prevent fine lines and the wrinkles below your eyes.

Keep your bedding clean

While you should clean yourself up before you get to bed, maintaining clean sheets is also important. The recommended washing schedule is to wash your sheets every week, and rotate sheets out. You want to do this so you can kill off any acne-causing bacteria, along with any body oils or sweat that might happen while you sleep. That way, you can ensure that you’re sleeping on clean sheets, and extending the life of your bedsheets. If you aren’t able to clean your sheets every week because of time restrictions, make sure you wash them after a maximum of 14 days.

The mental side of beauty sleep

When we think of beauty sleep, we tend to think of the physical aspects. You should really think of the mental side of beauty as well. When we get deep, rejuvenating sleep, our energy levels are much higher, and our focus improves. This can not only lead to better productivity at work, but it can help us feel like we can accomplish more.

Having better sleep also improves our perception of the world around us, and how we see beauty. A study done in Italy found that those who have better sleep have a better look at the world, and are more empathetic and show more appreciation. While our mental perception won’t make us look younger, it might help us feel younger.