How to (beauty) sleep ?
Do you know that feeling waking up well-rested, right? How good it feels for your skin, for your mind and for whole body. Without doubt a proper good night’s rest is essential for our mental and physical wellbeing, but is there such a thing like ‘beauty sleep’ ?
With some of the nations now averaging just five hours of sleep each night, it’s no wonder that sleep is always on our minds these days. From hardworking exhausting mums comparing their bedtime battle stories, to those whose minds cannot stop chasing thoughts when hit the pillow, good sleep is one of the most precious gifts everyone wants.
Well, it is no any secret that poor sleep has numerous negative effects on the body and mind. Headaches, moodiness, lowered immunity, drowsiness, lowered insulin levels leading to overeating, you name it. But did you know that a lack of good quality sleep also speed up ageing process?
Our body goes through five distinct sleep stages, from light to deep sleep, and finally dream sleep. A combination of all of these stages in sequence, repeated couple of times during the night, is essential for a good night’s sleep. When this sequence is interrupted , especially during later stages when body has tendency to heal itself, the ageing process accelerates. Magic happens during the ‘dream stage’ when human growth hormone helps rebuild and repair body tissues as well as increase cell production. This cellular cycle of regeneration takes on average 28 days and peaks each night at 2am, considered to be key to glowing skin.
Moreover, poor night’s sleep causes the body to produce higher level of stress hormone - cortisol, which highly affect your skin. It is known that high levels of cortisol cause inflammation in the body and decrease production of collagen that makes our skin younger, bouncy and plump. So, what can we do to improve the quality of our sleep?
If you want to do something with your trouble sleeping, there are few simple solutions that should not be overlooked.
1. Setting bedtime and making it a routine has a huge impact. Try to develop a habit that you will repeat every evening before bed and try that for at least 3 weeks in row. It can be reading a book while sipping lavender tea. This structured routine helps boost your '‘sleep drive'‘. If you make this strong association, your body will remember that reading a book at that time while drinking a tea means switching off the lights and the whole process of falling asleep will be automatised.
2. Quality over quantity. Rather than aiming for that 8-hour golden standard and spending half of that time turning around in your bed, balance your sleep drive and sleeping window. Try to track it first in your diary to see how much quality sleep you are getting and how much you need. Let’s say you are getting 7 hours of unbroken sleep, then your sleep window is around 7 hours, from 11pm-6am, for example. Stick with this routine for a week, your body will learn when it needs go sleep and falling asleep will be easy.
3. Screens off. This point cannot be emphasised more by me. There is so much supporting research how avoiding screens and red light in general at least 2 hours before bed is bringing tremendous benefits and can help you falling asleep easier. I know, nowadays it is easier said than done, cause we tend to write emails even while sitting on a toilet. But try it. Take it baby step at the time. First week cut off screens half an hour before bed. Next week an hour. And observe if you can see a difference. Play a board game with your boyfriend, talk to your roommate, journal, make some art or read a book instead of TV and mobile phone. It might make you fall in love with it.
I am strongly hoping that you got some tips you can implement into your sleeping routine already tonight. Sleep is such an important pillar of overall health and lifestyle, so I will definitely dedicate more posts to sleep as it needs better PR :)