A few weeks ago I embarked on a bit of a mission: to improve the quality of my sleep. It would be completely unrealistic to expect to be able to get more sleep, because I have a new baby and am juggling work, family and a dog who likes to get up to do a wee in the garden at 3am every morning; and so whereas a year ago my goal was to go to bed earlier and clock up more hours in bed, now it’s simply to make whatever hours I do get count.
Olay challenged me to improve the quality of my sleep over the course of a few weeks, by implementing some of their top tips (they worked with sleep consultant Dr Nerina Ramlakhan to come up with the most useful and realistic ideas) and by carrying out a nightly “Lights Out” facial massage. The massage has been created by the lovely Anastasia Achilleos, top facialist and Olay’s Global Ambassador – you can follow the steps in the video at the bottom of the page. The moves are very simple, but so effective; I love the fact that you can just lie down in the dark on your bed and fall asleep afterwards! Anastasia designed the massage to relax the body and mind so that it’s destressed before sleeping – so many of us rush about and then just collapse, exhausted, into a kind of coma. It’s important to have some quiet time to really clear our minds, even if it’s for just a few minutes. (And this massage does take just a few minutes – three steps, three minutes; though you can obviously prolong the steps if you’re in the zone!)
Anastasia used the Olay Regenerist 3 Point Age-Defying Night Cream for the “Lights Out” massage and I’ve continued with it for the last few weeks. It’s fragrance free (which Anastasia loves because she lights candles or incense and doesn’t want to be distracted by a strongly-scented face cream) and it has just enough slip to perform the massage steps without leaving a greasy residue, even though I use quite a dollop! Although it doesn’t feel overly heavy, the moisturising effects are really good thanks to a nice whack of hyaluronic acid in the formula, and the cream also contains Olay’s highest concentration of penta-peptides. These help to lock in moisture as well as encourage surface skin cells to renew themselves more quickly, making the skin look visibly plumper and firmer. It also contains the ingredient niacinamide, which can help to make skintone more even and improve skin elasticity (I think it’s a bit of a wonder ingredient, you can read my post about it here) and so the Regenerist 3 Point Age-Defying Night Cream is really a bit of an anti-ageing all-rounder.
I must say that it’s a very nice habit to get into, lying there in bed and massaging your face – I think that just having those few minutes to do something that is completely and utterly for your own benefit is very important. It’s hard not to let all of your worries and stresses whizz about your brain, but blimey – if you can’t clear your head for three minutes then there’s no hope! I also tried to implement Dr Nerina’s tips for quality sleep:
- a warm bath in the evening
- a ban on electronics in the bedroom, and no tweeting or emailing for an hour or so before bed.
- hand-writing a list of things that are bothering you or stressing you out – but the list must be on paper, because using your iPad or phone will distract you, and you must write it outside of the bedroom so that you separate your sleeping place from the worries of everyday life.
I’d like to lie and say that I did really well with all of the above, but actually the two that I managed best – and this will come as no surprise – were the beauty-related things! I’ve been really making a point of having a nightly bath, if I can, with candles and oils and so on, just so I can “escape” for twenty minutes and think about nothing, and I’ve also done very well with my face massaging. The electronics thing? Not so good! Mainly because I have become slightly addicted to searching eBay for furniture in the middle of the night. And the lists rule? Well. I have been writing lists, but I can never be bothered to get out of bed in case the creaks wake the baby up, so I always write the list in the notes section of my iPhone. Oh dear. They are bloody good tips though – the electronics thing especially. It can not be good to be checking Twitter last thing before bed and first thing in the morning, and buying stuff on eBay at 2am is definitely terrible for my brain and my bank balance.
But I feel as though I’ve learnt these tips inside out, now, and that they are permanently ingrained on my mind. Even if I don’t manage the last two often, I still feel bad when I don’t do them, so at least I’m halfway there… I need to get back into reading my Kindle at night rather than looking at stuff on my iPhone, so I’ve just charged it up and will start that tonight. Then I really can leave my iPhone outside – it’s not as though I need an alarm clock these days!
You can see all of the tips and also the “Lights Out” massage in action in my video below – I’ve listed the written steps underneath it for quick reference. You can find Olay’s Regenerist 3 Point Age-Defying Night Cream at Boots.com here.
*my New Mum Switch Off Challenge is a paid advertorial with Olay.