Experts Agree: This Is the Best Routine to Maximize Your Beauty Sleep

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As I write this, I can feel the effects of prolonged, poor sleep. Once every few months, everything converges upon me at once, and, despite my best-laid plans, I end up sacrificing sleep for a few days —or even weeks. Whether you have a hectic family, career obligations, or the Sunday scaries are keeping you awake, you know that poor sleep is impossible to hide. “You look tired,” is devastating to hear. And while some days there’s nothing for it but heroic amounts of concealer (shoutout to the concealers that cover without caking), the best solution is a solid beauty sleep routine.

From simple fixes like sleeping on your back to TikTok hacks like mouth taping, many small things might can improve your sleep. Sleeping deeper, breathing easier, and waking up with glowier skin is all possible by tailoring your sleep routine to your goals.

While overall sleep hygiene is important, I wouldn’t be a beauty editor if I wasn’t curious about maximizing the beauty part of beauty sleep. As I embark on my mission to reset my sleep routine, I spoke to some experts about the things we can do to maximize our beauty sleep routine. And yes, reap all the benefits.

Featured image from our interview with Sanetra Nere Longno.

Woman reading in bed.

What Your (Lack Of) Sleep Is Really Doing to Your Skin

Sleep, above all, is about repair. When you sleep, your body gets to work resetting—and one thing about me: I love a good reset. This precious time for your body earned its moniker “beauty sleep” because, as your body’s largest organ, your skin goes through a transformation during. It’s why the cardinal sin of skincare is sleeping in your makeup. And it’s why a nighttime skincare routine is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your skin health. So, at a bare minimum, make sure to wash your face and apply an overnight moisturizer! 

Your skin soaks up the nourishing products you apply at night and produces natural oils. At a minimum, you should cleanse your skin and apply your moisturizer.  Your skin is also busy repairing damage, receiving nutrients from your blood, and rejuvenating itself for the morning.

But slugging and retinol are not the only things you can do to help transform your complexion overnight. From lymphatic drainage before bed to infrared therapy, our experts recommend some possible additions to your sleep routine. Read on to discover how to optimize your beauty sleep to wake up looking refreshed. And remember: take what you need and leave what you don’t.  

Meet the Experts

Dr. Kami Parsa, Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon

Gabriel A. Sher: Chief of Acupuncture and TCM Development at ORA

Dr. Claudia Aguire: PHD + Neuroscientist

Woman making bed.

Is beauty sleep a real thing?

According to Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon, Dr. Kami Parsa: “Not getting enough sleep can affect various aspects of your appearance, including your skin, eyes, and overall facial expression, making you look tired and less refreshed.”

Dr. Parsa explains that, if you’re not getting enough sleep, you might notice:

  • Dark Circles and Puffiness. When you don’t get enough sleep, blood vessels under the eyes can dilate, causing dark circles to become more prominent. Additionally, fluid can accumulate under the eyes, leading to puffiness and a “tired” look.
  • Paleness. Sleep deprivation can reduce blood flow to the skin, making it appear paler and less vibrant.  
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles. Chronic lack of sleep can reduce collagen production, resulting in the premature formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Bloodshot Eyes. Sleep deprivation may also lead to red or bloodshot eyes, which can be caused by irritation, dryness, or inflammation of the blood vessels in the eyes.
  • Dull Skin. The skin’s natural rejuvenation and repair processes occur during deep sleep, so insufficient sleep can make the skin appear dull and lackluster.
  • Facial Expression. Tiredness can lead to drooping eyelids, sagging mouth corners, and an overall less alert and lively appearance.
  • Increased Stress. Lack of sleep can elevate stress levels, releasing stress hormones like cortisol. These hormones can negatively impact the skin’s health and appearance.
  • Poor Skin Health. When you consistently lack sleep, your skin doesn’t have enough time to repair itself and maintain its natural glow.
Woman making bed.

The Benefits of Quality Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is one way to approach beauty holistically. It’s not just about skincare, according to Gabriel A. Sher, Chief of Acupuncture and TCM Development at ORA—it’s about wellness.

“Our bodies restore different organs at specific times during the night. To provide proper nourishment and restoration, we need to be in a deep sleep.

Ahead, Sher explains how sleep impacts our skin and overall well-being.

Sleep is our time to reestablish balance. In Chinese medicine we think of the day as yang—our energy is strong, and we are very active and doing work. At night, we are in a yin stage which is more internal regrouping and getting our bodies to turn inward. Sleep is essential as it helps our body reestablish equilibrium from the day. If we don’t have yin we don’t have yang.

If you don’t sleep, the body doesn’t have time to recover, which disturbs our shen (spirit or presence). I know from having little children and not getting regular sleep my emotional, physical, and internal state was in chaos. If you don’t let me sleep, my body will become chaotic, and my heart will be in complete upheaval. This is seen in the quality of your skin and physical glow. 

In Chinese medicine, we must care for the internal and external body. Emotions, diet, sleep—these all affect the body. When our bodies are not balanced, we see physical and emotional symptoms get much worse.

Daily Habits for Better Sleep

  • Keeping a consistent sleep schedule and getting up and going to bed at the same time can help your body intuitively know when it’s time for rest.
  • Creating a healthy, calming bedtime ritual is super important. We all know the basic concepts: stay away from your phone, don’t drink fluids too late, and don’t have stressful conversations before bed.
  • If you have a lot on your mind, write your thoughts down so that your mind has time to rest.
  • Practicing meditation or breathwork can be very effective at calming the mind. I like to incorporate essential oils, like the Campo Sleep oil during my meditation or breathwork as well.
  • After dinner, before it gets too close to bedtime, I also like to have a cup of ORA’s Calming Chai herbal tea to help my mind and body relax.
  • Pairing this with a warm foot soak infused with calming bath salts is amazing on those nights when you’re feeling overstimulated.

Nighttime Routines for Better Beauty Sleep

“Suboptimal sleep can look like many things,” says Dr. Claudia Aguire. “Getting less than seven hours or more than nine hours, waking in the middle of the night, not getting enough early morning dreaming, all of this can be considered suboptimal. So tidying up our sleep hygiene is key to optimal health.

“In addition to dark circles and puffy eyes as the first signs of sleep deprivation, skin hydration, skin barrier function, and skin elasticity are also decreased by sleep deprivation.”

But what does a good sleep routine look like? “For me, it means listening to what your body needs and creating routines to adhere to, so you always have time slotted for self-care.”

Dr. Aguire recommends the following evening habits to optimize your beauty sleep.

  • Wind it down. In the evening, do more relaxing activities and get your room in the mood for sleep. Having a relaxation routine like taking a warm bath, spraying your pillows with lavender scent, or reading a book by a warm-toned light (no bright white LEDs) can set the scene for sleep onset. 
  • Stay cool. Providing the optimal room temperature is a key component of healthy sleep hygiene. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that the ideal temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees, a range that takes into account different age groups. 
  • Stay dark. Use darkening curtains, shades or an eye mask to create enough darkness to bump up your natural melatonin.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink a little water as we lose skin hydration at night the most. Drop in a couple of Hilma sleep support if you want to ease into sleep.
  • Get comfy. Depending on the weather, use natural fabrics to either keep cool or stay warm in bed so you don’t wake unnecessarily.
  • Sound. Use low sound frequencies to get deeper sleep. The hypnotic tones can help you fall asleep.
Modern minimalist bedroom.

More Ways to Optimize Your Beauty Sleep Routine

Try a Sleepy Girl Mocktail

Here’s a TikTok trend we can get behind. The sleepy girl mocktail is a blend of pure tart cherry juice, magnesium powder, and digestive soda like an OLIPOP. The natural melatonin and L-theanine from the cherry juice combine with the digestive powers of OLIPOP for a yummy and beautifying treat. Choose a magnesium powder that gives you glowy skin when you wake up.

Take a Sleep Supplement

Sleep supplements aren’t just for getting you to sleep. The most effective options work while you’re resting to maximize your beauty sleep with nourishing ingredients and even help debloat or hydrate as you rest.

Use a Humidifier

A humidifier combines wellness and beauty benefits. It can relieve congestion, ease allergies, and stop snoring. It also keeps your skin moisturized to prevent excess dryness as you sleep.

Do a Hair Mask

Make the most of your nighttime routine by letting a hair mask sit in your strands overnight. Choose a leave-in conditioner or a hair mask for a more intensive treatment. Or try hair oiling every other night for shinier, thicker locks.

Optimize Your Overnight Skincare

Slather on occlusive creams for slugging. Start a nightly sculpting ritual. Use a red light mask. Prepping your nighttime skincare routine to set you up for better sleep pays dividends while you rest.