Can’t get rid of those dark circles under your eyes? Before you spend money on expensive remedies or cosmetics, how about getting a little more sleep at night? One of our most basic beauty essentials is sleep! (How often have you heard the phrase, “” I need my beauty sleep””?)

More sleep means you look better and are less stressed

Getting proper rest will not only make you feel better and help get rid of those dark circles, it can even help reduce stress, avoid weight gain and improve your performance at work and play. And yet the majority of us get at least one hour less sleep per night than they need, especially during the work week. Even if you can’t find a way to get to bed earlier or sleep in later, you can certainly take steps to improve the quality of your sleep.

Here are a few ways to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly:

1. Develop a routine for going to bed at night, and be consistent about it. You might enjoy a cup of soothing herbal tea (no caffeine!) and a chapter from a favourite book before turning the lights out.

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2. Try to exercise daily, but not within three to four hours of bedtime. Exercise has been shown to increase the amount of deep sleep you get. It can also reduce symptoms of PMS in women, which can be uncomfortable enough to disrupt sleep.

3. Don’t have a heavy meal right before going to bed and avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine close to bedtime. These can all disturb sleep.

4. Don’t use your sleep space as a workspace, and keep the TV out of the bedroom. You should associate your place for sleeping with sleep, not with work or entertainment (other than lovemaking, of course!).

5. Make the room as dark as possible. The less light there is around you, the more melatonin your brain produces. This hormone has been shown to help you feel sleepier, fall asleep faster, and make you sleep longer. Room darkening shades can help tremendously, but a sleep mask is also very effective and a lot cheaper!

6. Control noise levels. You may get so used to familiar sounds like street noise or the sound of someone’s snoring that you don’t even notice it anymore, but it still affects the quality of your sleep! Ear plugs are helpful for some. Other people find that white noise or soothing music are helpful if it’s impossible to block out distracting sounds.

7. Don’t keep checking the clock. Experts say that if your sleep is interrupted, checking the time will only increase anxiety about getting enough sleep, and make it harder to get back to sleep.

8. Make sure you’re comfortable! Are you sleeping on the right mattress? Are your pillows giving your neck the right amount of support? Too much tossing and turning could be a sign that one or both need replacing.

These may seem like very common sense points to make, but you would be amazed at the number of people who donâ??t practice a single point being made here. Making one adjustment to your routine could mean a more comfortable nightâ??s sleep. And, since the more time you spend sleeping, the more youthful your skin will look.

Esthetician, chemist and spa owner, Melanie Vasseur has been producing her own line of skin care products for over 25 years.