Sleep, a time to recover, repair, and restore damage to the body, created from the stresses of the day. In response to stress we produce more cortisol. High levels of cortisol suppress serotonin, the hormone we need for sleep, therefore preventing the body from shutting down and going into a deep sleep.
Beauty sleep is exactly that. When we don’t have adequate sleep, cortisol levels remain high in the body and are responsible for creating thinning skin, stretch marks, and discoloration. When we do get a good night’s rest, the body produces increased levels of melatonin, which acts like an antioxidant to fight age spots, fine lines, or in some cases skin cancer. There is also an increase in the efficiency of special growth hormones that repair and regenerate collagen-producing cells, which are directly responsible for skin’s elasticity and tightness. But it’s not just how long you sleep, it’s how well you sleep, explains Dr. Murad. “While cells repair and rebuild at all stages of sleep, the majority of cell turnover and regeneration occurs during deep REM [rapid eye movement] sleep.”
So what can we do to ensure we get our beauty sleep:
Life Style Tips
- As any sleep expert will tell you, it is incredibly important to kick start the sleep cycle by turning off the lights and using back-out blinds or an eye mask in the bedroom.
- Go to bed by 10 pm; Adrenal repair begins at 10 pm and continues until 2 am
- Avoid alcohol. It interferes with Melatonin levels. It may help you fall asleep but it also causes you to wake up in the middle of the night.
- Eliminate or restrict stimulants such as caffeine.
- Wear comfortable clothing to bed.
- Avoid hot and spicy foods at dinner.
- Do not bring work related material into the bedroom.
- Do not have TV’s, computers or cell phones in the bedroom.
- Practice good stress management throughout the day where possible.
- Eat 3 nutritious meals a day.
- Exercise regularly.
Smell your Way to Sleep
- Lavender has a reputation as a mild tranquilizer. Simply place a couple of drops into a cream and place a little on your temples and forehead before you hit the pillow. The aroma should help send you off to sleep. However too much lavender will keep you awake.
- Put a drop of jasmine essential oil on each wrist just before you go to bed. In studies conducted at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, researchers discovered that people who spent the night in jasmine-scented rooms slept more peacefully than people who stayed in non scented or even lavender-scented rooms.
- Try a soothing aromatic bath before bedtime. Add 5 drops lavender oil and 3 drops ylang-ylang to some sea salt and add to warm bathwater, enjoy a nice soak.
- Diffuse essential Oils. Try a blend of essential oils designed to help you sleep, ingredients might include Valerian Root, Lavender, Sweet Orange, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Geranium.
Skin care Routines
Optimise the body’s natural healing systems as you sleep by using appropriate skin care. Thorough cleansing followed by high quality, clinical serums that support rejuvenation, regeneration but also support barrier function are recommended. Hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, antioxidants, growth factors, stem cells and peptides are a few suggestions.
Matthew Walker; Director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science, University of California warns us that sleep deprivation is not being taken seriously. We are facing a catastrophic sleep–loss epidemic that is causing a host of potentially fatal diseases. Sleep well, be happy and healthy.