You know the saying, “there’s plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead”? I used to use this as an excuse to justify my erratic sleeping habits. When I was in naturopathic college I would stay up all hours of the night studying, or working late hours as a waitress to pay the bills. Coffee was literally my lifeline – if I couldn’t have it, I couldn’t make it through the day. Period. Does this sound familiar?
I would be foggy and groggy in the mornings, trudging around like a zombie until I had my cup of Joe. Then in the evenings, it seemed as soon as the sun went down I had a miraculous bout of energy that wouldn’t allow me to fall asleep. So I’d toss and turn, becoming tangled up in my sheets worse than an old telephone cord! I came to dread those long, desperate hours, feeling so exhausted but unable to drift off into Dreamland.
That’s when I learned about the simplest of sleep practices that totally changed the game for me. Gracias a Dios!
Eye Masks for Better Sleep
I learned that wearing an eye mask to bed helps us get a deeper, more restful sleep. The eye mask blocks out all light and promotes melatonin production1 in the body; our sleep regulating hormone!
The soft compression of the eye mask over the face also supports hormones that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy and relaxed, like oxytocin2 and dopamine3.
I was absolutely blown away by how much this simple practice helped me sleep.
Castor Oil for Beauty Sleep
Around this time was when I began falling in love with castor oil and castor oil packs. Through research, I quickly learned that castor oil was a beauty staple in Egyptian and Greek cultures, and that Cleopatra herself used it to enhance her eyes. I found that castor oil was commonly used as a treatment to help eyelashes and eyebrows grow, and found it in the ingredient list of dozens of lash growth serums.
This makes total sense! Castor oil improves circulation to where it is applied via nitric oxide stimulation4, so when applied to the lashes and brows it ensures that the hair follicle is getting a good blood supply. Castor oil is also anti-inflammatory5 and provides nourishment for the skin and hair follicle like vitamin E, polyphenols and omegas6. It’s antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant.
These properties also make it the perfect anti-wrinkle eye cream. The oil is exceptionally emollient and nourishing for the delicate skin around the eyes and can help with dark circles, puffiness, redness and fine lines.
Watch this video below of my friend Kitty Martone and I talking about our Nightly Castor Oil Routine, including how to do a castor oil face wash.
Is Castor Oil Safe Near the Eyes?
There is a wealth of research supporting the use of castor oil in the eye as a treatment for dry eyes7 8 9 and prevention of cataracts10. In a study done on rat lenses, castor oil was shown to preserve levels of glutathione exceptionally well11 (glutathione is one of our most powerful antioxidants!).
So castor oil is 100% safe and even beneficial to use in/around the eyes. This made me adore it even more because we have to be so careful with the products we use around our eyes – always read ingredients carefully!
Pair It With Your Castor Oil Pack
The most important part of my nightly castor oil sleep routine is putting on my castor oil pack. It immediately relaxes the nervous system1213, getting it ready for a deep night’s sleep.
Quality of Castor Oil
I just want to quickly note that not all castor oil is created equally. You want to use the best quality, especially when using it near the eyes. Castor oil should be certified organic, cold-pressed, 100% pure, hexane-free, extra virgin and ALWAYS packaged in a glass bottle. If you have castor oil in a plastic bottle, throw it away! Castor oil can absorb toxins and there are many compounds in plastic such as nonylphenol14 and benzophenones15 that can mess with our hormones, immune and nervous systems.
Sweet Dreams, Sleeping Beauty!
So this became my bedtime routine. I dab a little bit of castor oil in the palm of my hand and apply it to my lashes and brows with an applicator brush. Then I dab the excess oil around my eyes, put on my organic cotton eye mask and crawl into bed, easily drifting and dancing off into Dreamland.
I’ve never slept better in my life, and I’m always being complimented on my bright, beautiful eyes!
Get your Castor Oil Pack and Beauty Sleep Eye Kit together in a bundle that I like to call The Original Cleanse with special bonuses. Click the links below!
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1 Rong-fang Hu, Xiao-ying Jiang, Yi-ming Zeng, Xiao-yang Chen, You-hua Zhang. Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Published online 2010 Apr 18. doi: 10.1186/cc8965
2 Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.
3 Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.
5 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8
6 Marwat SK, Rehman F, Khan EA, Baloch MS, Sadiq M, Ullah I, Javaria S, Shaheen S. Review – Ricinus cmmunis – Ethnomedicinal uses and pharmacological activities.Pak J Pharm Sci. 2017 Sep;30(5):1815-1827.
7 Goto E1, Shimazaki J, Monden Y, Takano Y, Yagi Y, Shimmura S, Tsubota K. Low-concentration homogenized castor oil eye drops for noninflamed obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction. Ophthalmology. 2002 Nov;109(11):2030-5.
8 Maïssa C1, Guillon M, Simmons P, Vehige J. Effect of castor oil emulsion eyedrops on tear film composition and stability. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2010 Apr;33(2):76-82. doi: 10.1016/j.clae.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Dec 6.
9 Jean-Sébastien Garrigue, 1 Mourad Amrane,1 Marie-Odile Faure,2 Juha M. Holopainen,3,† and Louis Tong4 Relevance of Lipid-Based Products in the Management of Dry Eye Disease J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Nov 1; 33(9): 647–661. Published online 2017 Nov 1. doi: 10.1089/jop.2017.0052 PMCID: PMC5655476 PMID: 28956698
11 Holm T, Brøgger-Jensen MR, Johnson L, Kessel L.Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.
12 Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.
13 Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.
14 Kim H1, Oh S1, Gye MC1, Shin I1,2. Comparative toxicological evaluation of nonylphenol and nonylphenol polyethoxylates using human keratinocytes. Drug Chem Toxicol. 2018 Oct;41(4):486-491. doi: 10.1080/01480545.2017.1391829. Epub 2017 Nov 10
15 Amar SK1, Goyal S2, Srivastav AK3, Chopra D3, Ray RS2. Combined effect of Benzophenone-2 and ultraviolet radiation promote photogenotoxicity and photocytotoxicity in human keratinocytes.Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2018 Jun;95:298-306. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2018.04.003. Epub 2018 Apr 4.