Most of us at some stage claimed that “we need our beauty sleep”. This is often said in jest as we know that there is no magic kind of sleep that can be labelled “beauty”. This phrase is used rather to express how long we need to sleep for each night to have healthy glowing skin.
We all know that a poor night’s sleep can result in hanging eye lids, dark circles under our eyes and deeper more defined fine line and wrinkles. This happens regardless of how good our diet is or how healthy we are in other areas of our lives.
Why is this?
Our bodies need time to rejuvenate and regenerate. This applies to every part of the body including our largest organ, our skin.
Our skin needs us to stop and rest while it goes to work. Here’s what happens while we sleep:
Regenerate & repair
While we sleep our skin replaces dead skin cells. This is also when the skin repairs damage from UV exposure and other pollutants.
Cytokines that have an anti-inflammatory effect are produced while we sleep and help fend off dark circles under our eyes.
At this time the body releases human growth hormones, a necessary ingredient for collagen production. This collagen helps keep our muscles toned and skin at its full thickness which reduces the sign of fine lines and wrinkles.
When we rest at night blood flow to our skin increases, feeding nutrients where needed.
What can we do to help with our beauty sleep?
- Get a full night’s rest.
The importance of this cannot be overstated for healthy skin. It’s not always possible to get a full night of unbroken sleep but aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night with at least 4 hours of unbroken sleep.
- Cleanse face thoroughly before going to bed
Our facial skin is exposed to a cocktail of environmental pollutants and grime each day. Cleansing thoroughly with a gentle cleanser free from harsh chemicals allows skin to breath, minimise the risk of blocked pores and is vital for healthy skin.
- Feed the skin
Use a moisturiser with natural and organic ingredients to help boost skin elasticity and replace lost nutrients.
Keep a glass of clean water near the bedstand. By the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. Fending off a feeling of thirst is the best way to stay hydrated.
- Pillowcase care
Rough cotton or nylon pillowcases can pull and stretch the skin. For people who sleep primarily on their back this is not a huge problem. For people who habitually sleep on their side, consider using a silk pillowcase which is gentler on the skin, allowing it to glide as you move around. Regardless of what kind of pillowcase you use over time it will accumulate a build-up of pollutants from hair and skin so replace with a fresh one every week.
- Let go of your day
In general, under stress we regress. As part of a healthy bedtime routine let your day be done, this can be as simple as saying “I let go of my day”. We know that everything will still be there to think about tomorrow.
We can help maximise the benefits that our skin reaps while we sleep. As an added benefit the steps above can help us feel healthier and more rejuvenated overall. Growing old is a privilege and our fine line and wrinkles tell part of our life story. Looking after our health and having a healthy sleep routine will allow our skin to look its best on this journey.