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LESSONS:

CAROLE
RADZIWILL’S
COMPREHENSIVE 
GUIDE TO
SUPERIOR SLEEP

Why settle for a good night’s rest when you can have a phenomenal, restorative, and altogether glorious slumber? Take it from me: A solid eight hours changes everything.


Written ByCAROLE RADZIWILL

Have you ever run into a friend who looks really good—I mean, just absolutely incredible—and when you ask her what she’s done, she says, “Nothing! I just got a great night of sleep.” And you’re like, “Sure, b#*ch.”

Well, she may be telling the truth, especially since none of us are seeing our dermatologists and facialists these days. It turns out that when you get beauty sleep, you look better. Seriously; it’s a real, scientifically proven thing. In 2017, researchers in Stockholm, home of the Nobel prize and Abba, asked university students to get a good night’s sleep for two nights and then restrict themselves to only four hours of sleep per night for another two days. Photos were taken before and after. Then, strangers were asked to look at the photos and rate the subjects on attractiveness, health, and trustworthiness. 

Surprise—the photos of sleep-deprived undergrads were rated less attractive. (May I remind you that we are talking about famously gorgeous Swedes in the prime of their youth.) Those who had gotten a good night’s rest were perceived to be healthier, more trustworthy, and, yes, better-looking. Researchers claim this makes perfect sense in evolutionary terms, since unhealthy-looking faces make us want to protect ourselves by staying away. In other words, it’s in our DNA to be attracted to a well-rested face. 

Clearly, we all need to get more shut-eye. But not in the form of a siesta, snooze, slumber, or doze. Naps, catnaps, disco naps, and power naps won’t cut it either. (Although, if napping were an Olympic sport, I’d medal.) Deep, sound, REM sleep—you know that full eight-hour stretch of nighttime bliss in which you awake all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed—is the key to a more youthful countenance. 

When it comes to beauty, sleep is second only to water in maintaining a healthy complexion. Your body repairs itself during sleep by increasing blood flow, which in turn, minimizes discoloration and puffiness and produces more collagen. As with most people, quarantining has rocked my normal sleep pattern in all the wrong ways. Luckily, I have found there are things you can do to get back on a healthy circadian rhythm. Below are some of my tips. I hope they make you sleep like a baby—or at least, a 20-year-old Swedish college student.

for a
blissful slumber

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A languorous evening soak is one of my favorite evening rituals, and I firmly believe that one should not skimp on bath salts. Epsom salts are good for relieving sore muscles, but if you want an upgrade, this one is it. It smells of rose geranium, jasmine, and patchouli with a base of sea salt and marula oil, a combination that leaves my skin feeling soft, hydrated, and ready for a pretty nightgown (or my quarantine sweats).

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Going to bed without attending to your face is like slipping into the sheets while wearing the day’s dirty clothes. Not a civilized option. After removing my makeup and cleansing thoroughly, I apply this serum, which supports the skin’s overnight renewal process. Using it reminds me of a good piece of advice from Dr. Sturm: “Charge your phone overnight in the kitchen.” That way, I can be undisturbed by news alerts and can focus on the important things, like moisturizing.

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Whenever my skin feels dry or just isn’t looking as fresh as I’d like, I swap my usual night cream for something a little more intensive: a sleeping mask specially formulated for nighttime repair. This one has an incredibly luxurious texture, but it doesn’t feel greasy on your skin. It’s made with saffron flowers, and does the heavy lifting overnight.

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A good night’s sleep requires consistency. That means lights out at the same time every night—no exceptions. If you can’t stop tossing and turning, might I suggest this handy little supplement? It's an all-natural blend of vitamins and herbs to help the mind and body relax.

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For sweet dreams, fill the air with your favorite fragrance. Here, you have options. Now that it’s spring, I appreciate a bedside bouquet of freshly cut flowers; lilacs and peonies are lovely options. The latest addition to my nightstand is this sculptural diffuser, which works with your choice of essential oils to release a steady—but never-overpowering—stream of soothing scent.

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Bluntly put, our friendship can’t move forward in a growth-oriented way if you are not yet sleeping on silk. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase is one of the most indulgent yet practical things you can do. Yes, it sounds wildly luxurious to rest your head on the finest-quality silk—and don’t get me wrong, it is! But silk is actually better for your skin (say goodbye to those bizarre pillow creases) and your hair, since it doesn’t cause friction the way most cases do.

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Treat yourself to the best-quality linens your budget allows, then make them even more inviting with a hit of fine French fragrance. I’m obsessed with this linen spray, which smells of just-cut roses and a hint of musk.

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During the day, I use my hands to type, swipe, cook, clean—so as a bedtime treat, I spend a few minutes massaging them with this healing cream. Think of it as serious skin care for your hands, since it is loaded with the same anti-aging complex as the famous face cream. Plus, as people always say, you can gauge someone’s real age just by looking at their hands.

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Sandal season is upon us, and even if you’re not planning to venture far from home, it’s preferable to look down and see feet rather than hooves. Which is why, I like to slather mine with a softening moisturizer before hitting the sack. Susanne Kaufmann’s version is my current go-to because it warms upon contact. The effect is very relaxing, and again—if you want to sleep well, it helps to be stress-free from your head down to your toes.

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If you are blessed with a highly active mind, you know that sometimes, it just won’t let you drift off to sleep. For times like these, there are only three letters to know: CBD. This cannabis extract won’t get you high, but it can help relieve discomfort and calm a too-busy brain. This oil can also be used topically to soften skin, but it really works wonders when taken internally.

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It’s a good idea to have some concealer around in the morning, just in case you didn’t get your nightly eight. This one is among the best of the best. It’s easy to apply (even before the mind-sharpening magic of that first coffee) and it hides dark circles while making you look as though you aren’t wearing makeup at all.

SHOP CAROLE’s
vanity

The journalist and Real Housewife is a skin care obsessive, who relies on daily acts of self-care to keep her looking and feeling her best. Here, the essentials she always keeps fully stocked.