How is Your Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene. I’ve only recently discovered that phrase, and I really like it. It perfectly sums up having good practices for getting enough sleep. And if you didn’t know – March is National Sleep Awareness Month so it is perfect timing for talking about sleep hygiene and ways to help you get more and better sleep!

If you didn’t know, getting adequate sleep is actually really important for overall health. Not only does lack of sleep cause the more commonly known side effects like being sleepy during the day, but it is also associated with weight gain and even depression. Take my word for it – getting enough sleep is really important. What is enough? Experts say 7-8 hours per night.

So what can you do? Well, here are some tips to help you fall asleep and stay asleep:

Avoid Tea, Coffee & Soda at Night

Beebalm and other flowers float in a cup of herbal tea made with catnip, motherwort, beebalm, lavender, and lemon balm.

While many people know that caffeine is a stimulant, they may not know that the evening soda could be the cause of why they can’t fall asleep. Even those who say they are not sensitive to caffeine may still actually be sensitive to it when it comes to sleep. If you have troubles sleeping and are drinking soda, coffee or caffeinated tea in the afternoon or evening, try going without it after 3pm for a few days to see if it helps. Leave caffeine for the morning and try decaf at night :o)

Exercise – But Not Too Late

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It goes without saying that exercise is really really good for you. But exercising too late can actually perk your body up, making it difficult to fall asleep. Something relaxing like a nightly stroll is ok, but leave vigorous exercise (think sweating or breathing heavy) to early evening or late afternoon. Or, if you are able to, try waking up early and starting your day with some exercise. It’s a great way to start the day!

Read – But Not in Bed

Eyeglasses on Open Book

Reading can be very relaxing, or it could be energizing. If you like thrilling and exciting books and find you can’t stop turning the page, avoid reading at night. The same goes for watching exciting TV shows or movies – if it sucks you in to where you are staying up late to watch more, leave it for the weekend. Try to read something relaxing, or even a bit boring if you need to fall asleep. Also, if you are reading in bed but have trouble falling asleep, it could be your have trained your brain that the bed is not for sleep. Instead of reading (or watching TV) in bed, try reading in a comfortable chair, the couch, or perhaps in a bath. Which leads me to…

Relax with a Bath

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – baths are a great way to relax and unwind. Try adding some bath salts to help soothe your muscles. I recently tried Amala’s Detoxify Bath Crystals and really liked the sage and sandalwood scent, it was very relaxing. I also like to add epsom salt too, which is great for tense or injured muscles. To kick it up another notch, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, I like lavender :o) Which leads me to…

Use Lavender (or Your Favorite Scent)

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Speaking of lavender (and Amala!), aromatherapy is a great tool to help you sleep. Lavender is my go-to, but really, it is up to you and what your favorite scent is. Even a favorite scented hand lotion can be a calming way to relax for the evening. I have Amala’s Lavender Mist and I love to spritz it on my pillow before bed. It’s not super strong so I get a nice whiff of lavender and then it fades so I can focus on sleeping without too strong of a fragrance. If you want something a bit stronger, try Farmaesthetic’s Dreaming Oil – a drop on your wrist is all you need.

Meditate

reflected orchid and candle

If you can’t fall asleep because you can’t seem to stop thinking, try meditating. It will be hard at first but will be time well spent! It will teach you how to quiet your mind, so you can fall asleep. Read my previous post on meditating if you don’t know where to start.

Or, if meditation isn’t your thing, try deep breathing or full body relaxation exercises. Here are 3 breathing exercises. If you aren’t familiar with full body relaxation, it’s really easy. Lay down, and then focus on relaxing each part of your body. Start with your toes and work all the way up to your head. Some people find it helpful to tense the muscles and then relax, but I usually just focus on relaxing without tensing or flexing the muscle first. By the time you get to the top of your head, you will find your entire body fully relaxed.

Try Natural Herbs

Gaia-Valerian-Root

If you don’t want or like to take prescription medicine, try natural supplements. Valerian root by Gaia Herbs is my go-to, but chamomile also works well (and a cup of chamomile tea is a great way to relax at night). For valerian root, I would recommend the pills over liquid. I don’t mind the taste of valerian but I know others find it pretty nasty (my boyfriend said it tastes like feet!).

If You Wake Up – Get Up

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If you are someone that doesn’t have trouble falling asleep, but find yourself wide awake at 3 in the morning, try getting up rather than laying awake in bed for hours. This goes back to training your brain that bed is for sleep only. Try to fall back asleep for about 15-20 minutes (using some meditation, deep breathing exercises, or lavender) but if you can’t seem to, get up and read a book or magazine. With reading, remember to not read anything exciting that will wake you up and make you want to read more! Try something a little dry, which subject of course is totally up to you as what I consider dry may be your favorite thing to read! Be sure to read in lower lighting, so stay away from bright computer and/or iPad screens. A small lamp with just enough light to read but not enough to be super bright is a good idea. After reading for awhile, you will naturally start to feel sleepy again, so then go back to bed and fall asleep.

 

That’s it for my tips!

What do you do to help you fall asleep?

 

Disclosure: Some of these products were provided to me to try. Opinions and the choice to review are 100% my own! I was not financially compensated for writing this blog post. This post contains affiliate links.

Beautiful & Fabulous: Alima’s New Velvet Lipsticks

If you haven’t heard, Alima Pure came out with a line of lipsticks called Velvet Lipstick! It was a few months ago actually, so I might be a little late in reviewing them – but better late than never! I picked up a few when Alima was having a sale and then they were super nice to provide a few more to complete my collection :o) There are six shades and I have to say, I am so impressed with how wearable they are. Usually when trying so many lipsticks, only one or two stick out but with this collection I can’t pick a favorite! So without further ado – the beautiful collection…

alima-pure-lipstick-lineL to R: Emma, Stella, Georgia, Beatrice, Lucy, Iris

Their official descriptions:

Emma – neutral flushed pink

Stella – bold garnet

Georgia – vibrant raspberry

Beatrice – deep merlot

Lucy – creamy rosy nude

Iris – earthy muted red

Overall, these are pretty accurate. But let’s take a look at swatches! I also have a video below showing off two makeup looks featuring the lipsticks. Here are the colors on my arm (featuring a slight scratch across Lucy, so please pardon that):

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And my lips:

alima-pure-lipstick-swatches

 

Emma is described as a neutral flushed pink and I would say that is accurate. It’s a cool-toned pink that almost has a mauvey tint to it. It’s very similar to my natural lip color, but with a bit more pinky color. Some pinks look too baby doll-ish, which I don’t care for, and I’m so happy this is not that way! It’s super wearable, and I think would look good on any skintone. This is definitely a YLBB (your lips but better) color. It is one of my favorites from the collection.

Stella is described as a bold garnet and that is also accurate. It’s a beautiful warm red. It’s not so warm as to be a brick red, or orange red, it’s just a wearable warm red. I also like that it’s not too bright. Some reds can be so bold that it limits when I can wear them. Stella is versatile. I feel that I could wear it to dinner, or out with friends, or even to a movie. This has officially been added to my favorite red lipstick list!

Georgia is a violet pink, almost like a cross between Beatrice and Emma. Because it is very cool-toned, this may not work with those who have warm or olive skin tones. I’m neutral that leans slightly warm and it works with me though. It’s such a pretty pop of color, it would be a great go-to for spring.

Beatrice is a beautiful wine color. Deep merlot is right. I also love it because some ‘wine’ colors can be too purple. This isn’t at all though. It’s a dark berry that isn’t so dark as to be goth, and not so bright as to be purple. I do feel it is a bit darker in real life than shown in the picture. Beatrice is another favorite of mine.

Lucy is the only one of the collection that I can’t wear. It’s called a creamy rosy nude but it’s almost like a frosty peach nude. There is nothing wrong with nude colors, or even frosty nude colors, but unfortunately I can’t wear them when they are light like Lucy is. I’m so fair it almost competes against my natural skin tone and unfortunately washes me out. I did want to include swatches though because I know that others with darker or tan skin can pull off light nudes and do it well!

Iris is a really pretty color that is tough to capture in a picture. It definitely is an earthy muted red, as described. The picture of it on my lips looks a little too orange and on my arm it looks way too dark (I have no idea why it came up so dark! Cameras are odd sometimes). Imagine it being the depth of color as seen on my lips, but a little less orange. I can’t quite get a picture of the actual color. It really is a lovely color though, and would be a great look when you want a more natural look, like bohemian chic.

As for the wear of the lipsticks, I would say they are pretty standard. They don’t feel overly waxy or overly glossy/oily. If I had to choose one or the other, I would say these are more waxy than oily feeling, but they aren’t super waxy or thick like some natural lipsticks can be. They actually feel really smooth and moisturizing on my lips. And it’s easy to see why these feel so nice on my lips when I look at the ingredients!

Ingredients: Ricinus Communis Seed Oil (Castor Seed), Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower), Euphorbia Cerifera Wax (Candelilla), Jojoba Esters, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter), Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut), Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Copernicia Cerifera Wax (Carnauba), Beeswax, Sesamum Indicum Seed Oil (Sesame), Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa Butter), Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethyl Vanillin, Glycine Soja Oil (Soy) [+/-] Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxide (Ci 77491), Iron Oxide (Ci77492), Iron Oxide (Ci 77499), Mica (Ci77019), Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Tin Oxide (Ci 77861). Note: Beatrice, Stella and Georgia contain carmine.

Castor seed oil, candelilla wax and carnauba wax are pretty standard for natural lipsticks because they have a hard consistency so help keep its shape. But Alima’s Velvet Lipsticks also have sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut butter, sesame seed oil AND cocoa butter. Hello moisturizing oils! There is even some vitamin E added as well. No wonder my lips like these so much :o)

The video below shows off Emma and Stella. I wanted to show off Beatrice but I feel I always show off the darker colors, so thought I would try something different and show off Emma! In the video, I use a few eye shadows (also Alima of course) and realized that I haven’t done swatches of them before, since I usually just review the seasonal collections. Here are swatches of the eye shadows I used:

alima-pure-amethyst-paris-champagne

alima-pure-chai-buttercream

And the video!

Have you tried Alima Pure’s Velvet Lipsticks yet? What do you think??

Disclosure: Some of these products were provided to me to try. Opinions and the choice to review are 100% my own! I was not financially compensated for writing this blog post. This post contains affiliate links.

Fragrance for a Cause ~ Pour Le Monde

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3 Lavender Loves

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Spa Night Favorites for Dry Skin

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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

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6 Ways to Shimmer and Glow

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Skin can start to look dull and dry in the winter - but you can't start 2015 with dull skin! Here are some great ways to get your skin back to looking naturally healthy, glowing and fabulous: Exfoliate For some reason, I tend to see and hear about … [Continue reading]

11 Best Products of 2014

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Happy New Year! I love the new year, a time for new beginning, fresh starts and lots of time for friends and family :o) It's also a great time to look back and reflect on 2014. And of course, think of my most favorite products I … [Continue reading]