BEAUTY SLEEP – IS IT REAL?
One of my favourite sayings is “You can sleep when you’re dead”…. But really it’s a bit of an oxymoron for me.
Well, it seems my narcolepsy (I jest….I don’t really have it!) is doing me a massive favour when it comes to skincare and natural anti-ageing, as sleep is, undoubtedly, your skin’s best friend – and the best bit it’s free!I literally fall asleep everywhere; friends come over for dinner and I fall asleep, I go to friends’ houses and I fall asleep. The list is endless, there are occasions where I cringe, like when I slept through a comedy performance that was being filmed, I was sat right at the front in the middle! I’m honestly not being rude, I just can’t help it; if it’s warm (or cold) the light is ambient (or bright) it’s quiet (or really really noisy) and I am relaxed, my eyes WILL close! We all know the negative effects that skimping on sleep has on our faces; the bags under the eyes, the sallow, lacklustre skin; they all shout – getting your beauty sleep is real!
HOW IS SLEEP ANTI-AGEING?
Our skin is the largest and one of the most receptive bodily organs. It’s continuously renewing itself and needs special care to keep it supple, healthy and radiant as time progresses. When we asleep our bodies spend the time working hard to the repair the damage of the day and to rejuvinate. Unfortunately, this means that less hours in bed can result in suffering any number of skin-related ailments and worse adding extra years to the appearance of your face.
Ideally to reap the full anti-ageing benefits of sleep we need to experiences its full five stages and most importantly the fifth and deepest stage, Rapid Eye Movement (REM). It is during this stage of sleep that your body’s voluntary functions are temporarily paralysed and the healing and rejuvenation can begin.
With less REM sleep you produce more cortisol, the hormone that heightens attention and alertness. Unfortunately, this stress hormone causes sugar stores to be mobilised, insulin levels to spike, inflammation to occur and enzymes to be produced that break down your collagen and elastin. As collagen is the major structural component of the skin that maintains its elasticity, when it breaks down the result is wrinkles and sagging skin.
In addition, whilst in a deep sleep, our bodies produce human growth hormone (HGH) – this hormone is key to repairing daily skin damage. When your sleep less your body will produce less HGH.
So the long and short of it is; with less sleep you will be producing more skin damaging hormones and less skin repairng hormone,so over a long period of time the small amount of daily skin breakdown will eventually accumulate into more visible signs of ageing
Finally not getting enough sleep also results in water retention in your body – leading to puffy bags and dark circles under your eye and unfortunately dry skin. As I mentioned in my post about hydration – dry skin creases and wrinkles much more.
HOW TO SLEEP BETTER
Don’t get me wrong, I know sleep isn’t easy for everyone and this can be caused by a multitude of different reasons such as stress, side effects of medication, large intake of caffeine, not a sufficient amount of darkness in the room, too much noise, etc. However, putting in place a good bedtime routine can certainly help.
- Reduce stress in your life with regular exercise, meditation and breathing exercises
- Be wary of what you put in your body before bedtime and avoid things such as greasy foods, alcohol, or caffeine
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
- Develop a pre-sleep routine such as reading a book or listening to calm music to condition yourself for bedtime
- Make your bedroom a comfortable place just for sleep
- Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated. Oxygen is essential for restful sleep
- Keep your bedroom temperature 2 degrees lower than other areas
AND Turn off your mobile phone! No one is worth the saggy face.
While the right amount of sleep will vary between people, the goal for most adults is around 7 to 8 hours a night and ensuring that you consistently get enough sleep each night will result in a variety of health and beauty benefits.
On that note I’m off to get my beauty sleep so good night :)