Sleep-Care is the New Self-Care

Brighter, clearer, more even skin while we sleep? Sign us up!

I get it. Life is super busy. A million-and-one things are happening, so adding another task to your to-do list might send you over the edge. But how will you accomplish your 2020 goals if you look and feel so exhausted?

In the last few years, we've become better about prioritizing self-care, whether it's by carving out alone time for ourselves or booking monthly massage appointments. But one area many of us continue to struggle with is sleep. We're either not getting enough of it or we still feel fatigued even when we do. Make this the year you prioritize sleep-care by adopting one — or all — of these resolutions:

Resolution No. 1: Make Your Beauty Rest Count

Basic nighttime skin-care routines often only involve simple makeup removal, which is great for preventing acne and skin irritations. But your routine shouldn't stop there. You should end every night with a dark spot- and wrinkle-fighting serum that contains resurfacing ingredients, like alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acid (BHAs), which are best used overnight.

I recently added the Erno Laszlo AHA Resurfacing Sleep Serum to my sleep-care routine, improving texture and evening skin tone while gently exfoliating. Within a few weeks, I started seeing noticeable results. Concealer was no longer the hero product of my morning makeup routine. My skin was so smooth and even, all I needed was sunscreen and lip gloss, and I was out the door.

Courtesy of Erno Laszlo
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And the best part is it provides those results without using harsh ingredients, like parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, fragrance, synthetic dyes, or silicone. Instead, its power comes from these:

Lactic Acid: As one of the most effective AHAs for refining skin texture, it helps exfoliate and promote even skin tone and reduce dullness.

Glycolic Acid: It's the smallest of the alpha hydroxy acids, allowing it to penetrate deeper, de-clogging pores, reducing wrinkles, and evening skin tone.

Goji Berry Extract: A botanical extract chocked full of antioxidants and high concentrations of vitamin C (500 times what is found in oranges), which firms, tightens, and protects your skin from environmental irritants and free radicals.

Wild Plum Harvest AF: A nourishing cocktail of Australian superfruits (kakadu plum, illawarra plum, and budekin plum) that diminishes your dark spots when combined with AHAs.

PerfectionPeptide P3: A skin-sloughing tripeptide that helps exfoliate dull skin before adding intense hydration, refining skin texture, and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Adding this serum as a step in my nighttime skin-care routine was fairly simple. It has a pump dropper, so I can carefully dispense the right amount, and it's a lightweight liquid, so it absorbs quickly. I noticed results after only a few weeks. The damage that sleepless nights had done to my skin was gradually fading, taking with it acne scars, dark spots, wrinkles, and dullness. Well worth the extra 30 seconds it takes to do.

Resolution No. 2: Turn off your screens

Certain seemingly innocent habits can be preventing you from getting the proper amount of rest: drinking caffeine in the evening, indulging in alcohol, working out at night, snacking after dinner, and, the worst of them all, using technology before bed.

Whether you're working late on your laptop or scrolling through Instagram, you need to minimize your screen time in order to get better rest. According to Dr. Michael Breus (aka The Sleep Doctor), "blue light delays the production of melatonin, an essential hormone that helps us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer."

To start, schedule a nightly timer that tells you when you should put all your screens away. And to avoid temptation, charge your devices in another room or put your phone on airplane mode to avoid distracting alerts.

Resolution No. 3: Stick to a Bedtime Routine

Sleep experts agree that practicing a consistent bedtime ritual can signal your mind to start prepping for bed. This could include taking a warm shower or bath, reading a book, or stretching. Personally, I enjoy journaling to recap my day and relieve stress.

Resolution No. 4: Eat Better

Eating certain things for lunch and dinner can work to your benefit. For example, Breus is a fan of cherries, because "they are one of the few sources of melatonin in food, making it one of the top fruits when it comes to fostering a good night's sleep." Other effective sleep aids include almonds and fatty fish, like salmon, tuna and trout. And, of course, chamomile tea is still an old tried-and-true standby.

Resolution No. 5: Meditate

It might seem simple, but taking five to ten minutes before bedtime to stop and be still is an artform. Whether you unwind with a meditation app like HeadSpace or merely take time for deep belly breaths, letting go of the day helps both your mind and body officially rest. In scientific terms, meditation can help increase physiological changes ranging from lower blood pressure to a decrease in stress hormones.

The three key types of meditation experts recommend include mindfulness meditation (simply paying attention to your body — and nothing else), concentration meditation (zeroing-in on one specific thing like a mantra) and, the most popular, guided meditation (listening to the commands of someone else). I would recommend an app that features a timer that sets off bells to periodically remind you to refocus if your mind starts to wander.

As you can see, there are many simple habits you can adopt this new year, so you can finally look and feel re-energized. So don't just practice self-care, practice sleep-care: pat on a transformative night serum, turn off notifications, establish a nighttime routine, choose your meals wisely, and meditate. You'll be deep in a REM cycle in no time and wake up with flawless skin.