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Beauty sleep is a common saying, but what does it really mean and is it legit? It’s no secret that if we get enough sleep then we physically feel better on waking up, getting enough zzz’s means we spring out of bed energised, alert and ready to start the day. On the other hand, we feel lousy if we haven’t achieved the recommended seven-nine hours each night. (1) Sleep is when some of the most important internal — and epidermal — recovery takes place, so if a lack of sleep affects our mood and physical body so much then how does it affect our skin?
Studies have confirmed that sleep helps our skin’s appearance and there are numerous benefits our complexions receive from getting enough slumber; even being perceived as more attractive, trustworthy and sociable! (2) Here are three reasons you’ll want to get your beauty sleep …
At night time our skin is in repair mode and makes more collagen, the structural protein that our body naturally creates and keeps our skin looking plump and youthful. However, the stress hormone cortisol is typically released after an inadequate night’s sleep. Cortisol levels decrease while we sleep, so lack of sleep means cortisol levels will remain high and will break down collagen, making skin sag and wrinkles more prominent. A review published in June 2014 even suggested that elevated cortisol levels can lead to a greater risk of the skin condition psoriasis and slow wound healing time by 20 percent. (3) So more sleep means healthy complexions that have time to repair and restore.
When we lack sleep we make poor lifestyle choices, such as reaching for the caffeine to give us an energy boost. So many of us rely and even depend on our morning cup of coffee to perk us up after a night of little sleep, when, in reality, getting the extra sleep is all we really need to feel energised. Such choices cause dehydration and a decrease in blood flow to the skin, this can affect the pH levels in our skin. When our skin's pH levels drop, this creates an imbalance, causing our skin to fail to produce the moisture it needs; resulting in dryness, dullness and dehydration. It can also create unnecessary redness, revealing uneven skin tone and even trigger breakouts.
Lack of sleep can lower blood pressure, making skin look dull and cause poor circulation, this can manifest in the form of puffy eyes. (4) Puffiness under the eyes is often due to a build-up of lymph; a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph around the body to help eradicate toxins, waste and other unwanted materials; it’s one of our main detoxification systems and an integral part of our immune system helping us fight infection and disease. If we are dehydrated or not getting enough movement, we’re not supporting our lymphatic system which results in “pooling” of lymphatic fluids which can lead to blockages and swelling. This can often gather and “pool’ under the eyes causing eye bags. When we notice this we tend to reach for a quick fix in the form of a product that promises to do so much to correct this. We reach for the heavy eye creams thinking it will help, but surprisingly this can make eye bags worse! Your skin can only absorb so much, after absorption, the product that's left on top of the skin can overload the delicate skin tissue around the eye area and cause puffiness. Opt for lighter products for the thin skin under the eyes and go to bed earlier!
So how can we make sure we’re giving our skin a fighting chance? Here are some simple tips to help improve sleep hygiene to get a good nights rest so your skin can look its best:
Having a bedtime routine cues your body that it’s time to sleep. So, establish a set, consistent routine that you follow every night. For example, have a hot bath, put on your pyjamas, brush your teeth, give yourself a facial and then listen to soft music. Once your mind is in a state of relaxation and you feel sleepy, then take yourself off to bed.
Avoid consuming caffeine at least four hours before bedtime as it’s a stimulant and will keep you awake. This includes coffee, some teas, soft drinks, and chocolate. Also, avoid alcohol four hours before bedtime, although you may think that alcohol will help you fall asleep, it interferes with the sleep cycle later in the evening. You may drop off quicker, but the quality of sleep is poor.
People who exercise tend to have a more restful sleep. Exercising for at least 30 minutes three times a week can improve your sleep. (5) If you struggle to wind down in the evening, try going for an early evening walk or a gentle run.
Try to spend some time outdoors or in natural light every day. Getting some sunlight early in the day can be helpful for setting your body’s natural wake and sleep cycle.
Naps can interfere with regular sleep cycles. So, if you’re having trouble sleeping, evidently you’ll feel tired in the day, but avoid dozing. Try and power through until the evening, that way your body will be more tired when it’s bedtime and there’s more chance of you falling into a deeper, good quality sleep.
In conclusion, self-care is everything and the steps are so simple. If we treat ourselves well by ensuring we make the best lifestyle choices then we’ll set ourselves up to look and feel our best. Be consistent with your routine, pick a self-care strategy and stick to it, but be patient as setting new routines can take time to get used to. It’s easy to get sucked into our digital devices and opt for stimulation over relaxation because we live in a world now where we are constantly connected to our external environment. Choose yourself and follow these simple rules to show your mind and body you mean business when it comes to falling asleep!
 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/sleep-deprivation/faq 20057959#:~:text=People%20who%20sleep%20five%20hours,and%20six%20hours%20a%20night.