You’re probably well aware that when you skimp on sleep, it shows on your face. Your eyes can look puffy and your skin looks pale and washed out!
Lack of sleep makes you more forgetful and less alert, it can also be detrimental to your physical appearance. It causes blood vessels to dilate generating dark circles under the eyes. It can make you look stressed, angry and sad. Everyone can see the tension on your face and the last thing you want is for someone to point out the obvious
“ You look tired”!
If you’re inclined to stay up late drinking and smoking, unfortunately alcohol affects quality of sleep, leaving bags under your eyes and smoking leads to premature wrinkles. No amount of makeup can masque the underlying features of tiredness.
When you are asleep your whole body goes into repair mode giving your skin a chance to renew and rejuvenate as new skin cells grow and replace older cells.
Research shows that skin cell regeneration almost doubles at night, peaking between 11pm.and 4am. During these important repair hours all sorts of hormonal and metabolic changes occur in the body, including your skin.
Research has also proven that less sleep can drive an appetite for high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods, leading to you ‘putting on the pounds’!
The great thing about skin is that it recovers quickly, so if you get a good night’s sleep tonight you will look well rested tomorrow. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.
Clearly, we need to get our beauty sleep. So how much do we need?
The experts say seven to eight hours a night should do the trick! If that’s the case then is it possible that getting ten or eleven hours is even better. There are studies that show getting too much sleep can be as harmful to your skin as not getting enough. Oversleeping can actually increase skin cell breakdown. But if you’re getting fewer than 6 hours, it’s also likely to affect your appearance.
How can I change bad habits? How about starting a positive bedtime ritual!
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. The rhythm is good for your skin and energises the mind.
- Avoid overly stimulating activities prior to sleep, such as laptop, iPad and kindle since the stimulation of the computer screens can make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Start sleeping on your back. Stomach sleeping presses your face into the pillow, creating a meshwork of fine lines and creases when you wake up.
- Use white sheets. Dyes on sheets and pillowcase can irritate sensitive skin.
- Change your mattress every seven years.
- Dim the bedroom lights. Bright light inhibits the release of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin, which can only be stimulated in a dimly lit environment.
- Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol at least 4 hours before you go to bed.
- Try using essential oil of lavender or chamomile to calm your senses and induce sleep. Put a few drops on the top two corners of your pillow before you lay your head.
- Try 10 minutes of meditation in the evening, close to your bedtime. This will help to calm your mind and relax your body.
- Take an evening bath two or three times a week to allow yourself to wind down after a long day.
A good nights sleep is the most effective weapon in the fight against ageing. It is the key to our physical and mental wellbeing and can help fend off everything from stress to heart disease. Just like diet and exercise, sleep deserves your respect.
Annie Moore ITEC, ITHMA founder of Vidatherapy Spa, Advanced clinical massage therapist, Reiki practitioner, Yoga and meditation teacher.