Beauty Sleep: You're Doing it Wrong, but We Can Help

Photo by: R29
Stop Freaking Out

Stress is one of those unfortunate things that's impossible to avoid and that has a negative impact on almost every aspect of our lives. Nowhere is this more evident ... more 
Photo by: R29
Stop Freaking Out

Stress is one of those unfortunate things that's impossible to avoid and that has a negative impact on almost every aspect of our lives. Nowhere is this more evident (or annoying) than in the case of your nightly slumber. Lying awake staring at your ceiling while the million things that are bugging you run through your head is one of the most depressing, frustrating experiences. Since you can't stop stress altogether, Dr. Arand says you need to focus on ways to manage it instead.

"Multiple studies have shown behavioral approaches to reducing insomnia are extremely effective," she says. Before you head to bed, take a few minutes to sit down and put to paper all of the things that you need to do tomorrow, then write a brief plan of action on how you are going to complete each task the next day. That way, when you start fretting over everything you have to do, you can calm yourself down with the reassuring thought that you are a woman with a pl less 
1 / 10
Mon, Oct 29, 2012 1:38 PM EDT
By Megan McIntyre, Illustrations by Ammiel Mendoza, Refinery29


Between demanding jobs, an overabundance of stress, late nights, and an increasingly plugged-in life (put down that iPad Mini please), it's no wonder that most of us aren't getting the proper amount of rest. Making matters worse is the fact that women are biologically programmed not to sleep as well as men, thanks to our good friend (stupid jerkface) progesterone.



According to Dr. Donna Arand, clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center and spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, when the balance of estrogen and progesterone in your body fluctuates (like during your period, or when you enter menopause), it can affect how well you sleep.



"When progesterone is low, you might experience insomina because progesterone is also used as a precursor to chemicals that induce sleep, like serotonin," she says. "That just means there are fewer materials to generate the sleep hormone. You may find you have more difficulty falling asleep just before and during your period, when progesterone is at its lowest levels, and that you can fall asleep much more easily just after, when it is at its highest." Just as not every woman's cycle is the same, Dr, Arand says that these levels may not impact every woman in the same way - some women don't see any issues related to their cycles. It's just the luck (or misfortune) of the draw.



In addition to the fact that your body is working against you, it turns out that most of us are actually making it more difficult on ourselves by engaging in a whole host of sleep-depriving activities during our day. We asked Dr. Arand to tell us what mistakes we're making in the bedroom and how we can fix them, pronto. So, pour yourself a warm glass of milk, turn on the white noise machine, snuggle under the covers, and read on to learn the secrets of slumber.



More from Refinery29:


How To Boost Your Metabolism: 9 Easy Tips


Steal These 5 Quick Celebrity Style Secrets!


How To Find The Perfect Black Blazer


12 Stylish All-Weather Boots That Are Perfect For Fall


How To Do Your Makeup In 5 Minutes (Really!)