Bountiful Sleep = Beautiful Skin
Sleep deprivation is a major stress on our bodies, including our largest organ - our skin.
So why is it called beauty sleep?
Because when we don't get enough sleep we don't look our best. Short term - a lack of sleep will give us puffy eyes and dry skin, and longer term our skin will lose it's glow. Not enough sleep can worsen existing skin conditions, and other health concerns for that matter, because sleep is essential for recovery and healing.
Why puffy eyes and dry skin?
While we sleep, our bodies re-balance hydration, and we need our full quotient to complete this process. A lack of sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol which breaks down collagen and hyaluronic acid, the molecules that give our skin its glow and translucency.
Sleep hygiene is a variety of habits that invokes good sleep quality, which in turn will support our overall health and alertness. Keep to an evening routine, avoid blue light, and ensure your bedroom is dark and cool, and your bedding comfy.Alcohol
While alcohol is well-known to help you fall asleep faster, too much close to bedtime can disrupt sleep later in the night as the body begins to process the alcohol. I aim for no more than one or two glasses of wine in the evening, and please speak to your GP for advice regarding alcohol consumption.Exercising
Adding exercise to your daily routing, such as walking, jogging, cycling or weights will improve sleep quality. Aim for at least 10 minutes each day, and not close to bedtime.Eating
Going to bed on a full stomach is not a good idea, and avoid foods that can trigger heart burn including rich spicy foods, fatty foods and carbonated drinks. If you crave a bed time snack try a glass of warm milk as it helps to induce sleep. Milk contains tryptophan, which encourages the brain to produce serotonin, a serenity boosting neurotransmitter.Fluids
Make sure you drink plenty of water during the day, but not a few hours before bed time. Pop to the bathroom and empty your bladder just before you go to bed.Bed time routine
Just like puppies and babies, we function best when we stick to a routine. This will vary for each of us but here are a few possibilities: Eat your dinner at approximately the same time each night, and at least 2 hours before bed. Have a hot bath or shower, read a book or watch a little TV. Try to avoid stimulating or upsetting conversations before bed, and avoid being physically active - sex is allowed ;)
Are your pillows, linen and mattress comfortable? It might be worth investing in new items. Use laundry detergents that do not have strong fragrances which can irritate your skin. The bedroom should be cool for optimal sleep. Bright light will make it difficult to fall asleep, so turn lights off, close doors and adjust blinds to block out the light. You might want to consider full block-out window treatments, eye shades, ear plugs or white noise. I like to have the ceiling fan on at night because it makes a soft whirring noise that blocks out other night time noises. Change your pillow case every week and more frequently if you are unwell. A clean face needs a clean place to rest.Blue Light
You have probably heard about the effect blue light from computers, mobile phones and tablets can have on our ability to fall asleep. Many new items have a blue light filter. Activate this function or avoid your devices at least an hour before bedtime.How many hours?
This varies from person to person, and most of us thrive on between seven and nine hours per night, preferably uninterrupted! If you are in your teens you need a few hours more, and seniors an hour less.
Are you having trouble catching ZZZzzz?
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in our bodies that plays and important role in the regulation of sleep cycles. Ask your GP or pharmacist if melatonin tablets would help you achieve a good nights sleep.