Have you noticed that you are much more vulnerable to a skin picking session when you are tired and have not gotten enough sleep? If sleep is an issue for you (and not just because you are picking rather than sleeping), doing a little experimenting to sleep easier, better and more, may be well worth your while. Here are a number of considerations and strategies to try:
Sleep better guidelines
Caffeine – Remove any caffeine in your diet after 2pm.
Alcohol – Can interrupt a good night sleep. If you are a daily evening drinker, go a week without it to see the effects on your sleep.
Light – Light is a signal for your body to be awake. Any light in your bedroom can be keeping you awake or waking you up, so be strict about this. Turn your phone off or face down so any texts or twitter notifications don’t light up the dark. If your room is not pitch black you may want to get blackout curtains or a sleep mask.
Bright light in the hour or two before sleep can be preventing your sleep, including home lighting as well as the light from TV and computer screens. If you read on an ipad or similar tablet, you can cover it with a screen that blocks light. Or read on the kindle paperwhite, which is not back-lit, but rather is lit from the side and can be dimmed as much as you like. I read mine in the dark in my bed at night until I’m sleepy (or literally falling asleep).
Production of melatonin (sleep inducing hormone) is suppressed by the more energetic blue component of light. The free app f.lux gradually lowers the amount of blue light on your computer, ipad or iphone screen after sunset. Your screen gets warmer-colored, taking on a rosy hue. You can also replace some light bulbs in your home with special yellow-orange lights, or you can wear blue light blocking glasses in the hour or two before bedtime.
Getting some natural light during the day can help you sleep at night as well, so do your best to get outside for a while in the middle of the day.
Cooling of the body is another trigger for sleep, so be sure your bedroom is not too warm. (Too cold can interrupt sleep too, though.)
A hot bath before bed can be very helpful because the cooling of your body afterwards will induce sleep, not to mention the relaxing effect the hot water has on your muscles. You will be in an overall more relaxed state with a bath.
Exercise is great earlier in the day and can make you sleep better, but don’t do it within 2-3 hours of going to sleep, or you probably won’t sleep well.
Lavender essential oil has been shown in scientific studies to be an effective sleep aid. Vetiver, cedarwood and sandalwood are earthy / woodsy essential oils that can be very relaxing and sleep inducing. Chamomile is another one to try. Everyone is different, so you may need to experiment to find your ideal sleep aid. Rub sleeping oils on the back of your neck or the bottoms of your feet, or use a diffuser to disperse the aromatic oils into the air while you sleep.
Valerian root is a sleep inducing herb that is available in capsule form.
Chamomile tea is relaxing and sleep inducing. If a cup of the tea doesn’t do it for you though, the essential oil has many times more potency.
Magnesium relaxes our muscles and nerves, and is a mineral in which we are frequently deficient. It reduces anxiety and relaxes muscle tension. One way to supplement is to bathe in Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), which will absorb through your skin. Or you can take magnesium tablets with dinner. It is better absorbable in the glycinate or citrate form. Avoid magnesium oxide, which is not well absorbed by the body.
Melatonin, 5-HTP or tryptophan. Most frequently people take melatonin for sleep, but melatonin only helps trigger the onset of sleep, while tryptophan and 5-HTP metabolize into both seratonin and melatonin (melatonin is made from seratonin), and the seratonin adds increased benefits of more time in deeper sleep. Check with a doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any medications, such as SSRI antidepressants, which could be dangerous to use in conjunction with these sleep aids.
p.s. Have you downloaded my free “Freedom Kit”? It comes with a written and audio report, “Why you pick your skin and how to finally stop,” a video on “how to stop skin picking urges in two minutes flat,” and my “Live Free” newsletter in your inbox each month. Learn more here.