Often overlooked in favour of another episode of your favourite Netflix show, a good night’s sleep is considered one of the three most important pillars of human health. Alongside good nutrition and regular exercise, getting enough sleep is one of the best things we can do to take care of our bodies. As we sleep, our skin’s blood flow increases, it rebuilds its collagen, the key to plump and healthy looking skin and repairs damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots.
Despite the importance of it, so few of us get enough sleep each night. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found 1 in 3 adults are not getting the recommended hours sleep. Getting less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours per night, can put you at higher risk of a number of serious health problems not to mention feeling groggy and drained on a day to day basis.
Sleep remains one of the least understood aspects of human health and research into its importance is ongoing. Even without checking scientific stats, we can all vouch for a good night’s sleep and how it improves our mood and appearance immediately.
So why do so many of us continue to avoid catching those all important z’s and how can we improve our beauty sleep?
We hear the term ‘beauty sleep’ constantly, but can we really sleep our way to looking better or is that just a myth our parents used to convince us to go to bed early?
According to a recent study, scientists confirmed that there is indeed a connection between our appearance and the quality of our sleep.
According to the findings, we look less healthy, approachable, and less attractive, when we display the telltale signs of poor sleep. Including puffy eyes, dull skin, dark circles and more. The findings also suggest that, “one might also avoid contact with sleep-deprived, or sleepy-looking, individuals, as a strategy to reduce health risk and poor interactions.”
We have all spent a night tossing and turning in anticipation of an event or meeting the following day or binge watched an entire series in one night only to realise it’s 3am and work is in a few hours and woken up looking something like an extra from a zombie movie. Looking dull and dreary is without doubt one of the most obvious signs of poor sleep.
It is widely accepted that skin cell turnover accelerates at night. Kendra Flockhart, education executive at Darphin says, “All day, the skin works hard to protect itself from constant attack, but while we’re sleeping skin switches into ‘recovery mode,’ a time of intense repair and regeneration. In fact, at this time the regeneration process can be up to three times faster than during the day.”
The jury may still be out about what beauty sleep really means and the specific facts behind these claims. However, it is clear that a good night’s sleep makes us feel much better and far more energised. If you have slept well and woken earlier, you’re far more likely to have the time (and energy) to put into your appearance instead of cutting corners after oversleeping.
However you look at it, there really is a link between beauty and sleep and in favour of glowy skin, we may just hit the sack a couple of hours earlier.
It is easy to convince yourself that you will start to get more sleep, but putting that into practice after years of late nights is easier said than done.
First of all, you will need to fix your circadian rhythm. Although this may sound like a Latin dance move, it is actually a natural, internal cycle that our body goes through every 24 hours, essentially our built-in sleep clock. Going to bed and waking up at the same times each day will help to allow our circadian rhythm to function properly.
Another problem that affects our quality of sleep is working in bed. Over the past year whilst many of us worked from home, distinguishing a healthy balance between life and work whilst stuck in the same place, has been a challenge. Avoiding working in bed will allow your brain to switch off from work mode when you are ready to go to sleep. Ditching laptops and phones before bed will also improve the quality of our sleep. Exposure to blue light sources like these, can decrease our body’s melatonin stores, making it more difficult for us to both fall asleep and stay asleep.
Lastly, stress has a massive impact on our sleep and many of us have spent hours lying awake worrying about all sorts of things and in turn, struggling to fall asleep.
It is important to aim to destress before bed in order to relax and allow your body to switch off. There are a number of effective ways to destress, from meditation, taking a bath or reading a book. Sleeping helps to lower cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone. This means, whatever makes you feel calm and relaxed, getting more sleep can also help ease the stress that has been keeping you awake.
The key to a good night’s sleep is all in the preparation. Winding down before bed is essential to ensure you get good quality rest.
Your surroundings can have a major effect on your sleep. Consider making your space as comfortable as you can. Whether you choose to dim the lights before bed, make your room warmer or cooler or light a scented candle, these are all ways of preparing your body for sleep.
Taking a bath or shower will not only ensure that you have washed away the grime of the day and prevented clogged pores, it also raises the body temperature. The hot water helps change your body’s core temperature so that you go to bed with a lower temperature. A drop in temperature helps signal to the body that it’s time for bed.
Follow this with a relaxing skincare routine. Take time to cleanse, remove makeup and wash away other elements that have built up on the skin throughout the day. As our skin works to regenerate as we sleep, a good nighttime skincare routine can give your skin a helping hand to wake up bright and fresh.
And finally as previously mentioned, go to bed on time and keep your routine consistent. We are creatures of habit and a regular routine will help keep our sleep in check and ensure we wake up looking bright eyed and bushy tailed.
From oils to pillow sprays, there is a whole host of products out there to lend a hand towards better sleep. Here is a selection of products that are designed to help you on your way to a first class snooze.
Part of their ‘Scent to sleep’ range, this face oil will not only leave skin nourished and hydrated, its unique blend of antioxidants, omega complex and oils rich in vitamins work hand in hand with the100% natural NEOM Perfect Night’s Sleep fragrance, to help you to drift off into the best possible night’s sleep, whilst working hard to restore skin overnight.
It’s easy to see why this product has become a cult classic over the past few years and why so many swear by its results. This blend of lavender, chamomile and vetiver helps to calm your mind and body to ease you into a restful night’s sleep.
What better way to wind down before bed than with a face mask. This clay mask is filled with calming and soothing ingredients, and also a spoonful of their most expensive and exquisite moisturizer: Gorgeous. Its soothing scent and nourishing formula relaxes both your senses and your skin and is guaranteed to make you feel sleepy in no time.
This multi-tasking bath and body product is the ultimate addition to your nighttime routine. Working as a body polish when massaged into the skin and dissolving into the water releasing a blend of magnesium, Epsom salts, lavender oil and chamomile. The relaxing aromas and natural oils are sure to help your stresses drift away.
If bright eyes are on your agenda, this gentle but powerful eye sleeping mask is the way forward. Formulated with avocado, retinol, coffeeberry and niacinamide, the long-lasting actives release throughout the night to help moisturize, brighten and depuff eyes to wake up bright and shining.