Beauty sleep, real or myth?
With our self care month coming to an end and the clocks changing this weekend it seems like a perfect opportunity to talk about sleep! Taking more care of ourselves here at Nourish for our self care October has made us all look at our own habits and behaviours, a little self care audit if you like. This week we hear from Kate from the Nourish team. Kate’s been struggling with insomnia and having noticed that she wasn’t just feeling, but also looking tired, she’s been researching why we really can’t manage without our beauty sleep.
3 little words
What are 3 little words that can instantly drain your energy and wipe the smile right off your face…?
‘You. Look. Tired’……followed by….’is everything ok?’
It’s absolutely the last thing you want to hear when you’re struggling to keep your eyes open.
However, when you’re tired and sleep deprived it’s quite literally written all over your face.
On the flip side, if you can string together a couple of good nights sleep, you’ll be wondering where that youthful glow has come from.
So what is the truth behind the myth?
When we are young we can more easily ignore the signs that our body needs more rest.
However, as we age it becomes harder and harder to ignore the signs like dark circles, more pronounced wrinkles, poor skin tone and breakouts.
Did you know that while you’re sleeping your body is busy on a mission to replenish and restore?
You might be asleep but this is the busiest time of the day for your body and that’s why you need those 7- 9hrs.
For instance as your body settles into its deepest stage of rest, your growth hormones (HGH) peak and stimulate cell and tissue repair.
Without enough deep sleep, the repair process of your skin will be slowed, resulting in increased signs of ageing.
5 reasons why you need your beauty sleep
Recent press has highlighted a problem with the blue light that is emitted from our devices, tablets, phones etc.
Blue light exposure at night time is shown to have a huge impact on our ability to get to sleep, decreasing our melatonin production and disrupting our circadian rhythm.
A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is exposure to light or to darkness. This is controlled by the tiny pineal gland in the brain that is responsible for producing the hormone, melatonin.
Melatonin is important as it is your chief anti-aging antioxidant and a powerful free-radical scavenger. The less you sleep, the harder it is for your body to harness the benefits of melatonin.
Research has also examined how melatonin can stimulate the growth of fibroblasts, those cells that produce collagen and elastin to make skin smooth and wrinkle free. Think of it like your skin’s own in-house dermatologist.
The great news is that you can avoid the blue light glare and its effects by using wearing a pair of Anti-Blue Light Beauty Sleep Glasses. Make the most of that melatonin and get those all important 7 – 9hrs sleep a night
Stress is a major contributor to skin damage and for speeding up the signs of ageing.
When your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are increased then you won’t sleep as deeply or as soundly. You may also wake more often and find it hard to settle back to sleep.
High levels of cortisol are also linked to an increase in inflammation, think aching limbs, swollen joints, abdominal pain and more.
From the perspective of your skin, conditions such as acne eczema, psoriasis and rosacea, are all shown to become worse when we are suffering with inflammation.
Stress is, of course, unavoidable at times but by introducing some simple bedtime routines you may find it easier to wind down before it’s time to sleep.
Try dimming the lights, turning your devices off, lighting a candle or two, having a sleep inducing drink like our Cherry Smoothie, or taking a warm bath.
If you haven’t discovered the wonders of magnesium yet, then why not try some Magnesium Bath Salts? Most of us don’t have enough of this important mineral but this is a super soothing way of increasing your intake. It is needed for over 300 enzymatic responses in the body and can help prepare you for sleep by working to calm your central nervous system.
Oxidative stress (free radicals)
If you aren’t managing to get into the deep sleep part of your sleep cycle then you’re at risk of an accumulation of oxidative stress.
During the night, your body deals with all of those pesky free radicals that it doesn’t like. From chemicals in your household cleaners to the stress hormone cortisol itself.
Free radical damage causes wrinkles by activating enzymes that break down collagen. Collagen is like the scaffolding of our skin, providing strength and structure, ensuring those wrinkles are kept at bay!
Your tissue repair happens at night, whilst you are in deep sleep. If you don’t reach this state, or stay there long enough, then your collagen production will be limited.
You can easily add collagen to your diet, adding it to your morning latte or smoothie is one of the easiest ways. Check out Lizzie Loves Healthy and her thoughts on why it works for her.
Your lymphatic system will struggle to cope if you aren’t sleeping well.
This often overlooked process is absolutely vital to our body’s abilities to detoxify, nourish and regenerate tissue, filter your metabolic waste, and keep your immune system healthy.
Isn’t it amazing that this is all happening while you sleep? It’s a powerful reason for reviewing your sleep habits.
Poor lymphatic drainage and fluid accumulation leads to puffy eyes or the appearance of dark circles around the eyes.
Staying well hydrated, keeping your pillow level and considering sleeping in an eye mask will help you to avoid the bags under the eyes look.
Sleep and sugar don’t mix. If your body is busy trying to balance our your blood sugar levels then you won’t sink into that valuable deep sleep.
What goes up must come down, when your blood sugar crashes you’ll have the same sugar slump that you normally experience mid-afternoon.
When this sugar slump occurs your body naturally releases cortisol, the stress hormone. It becomes ready to get up and go. You’ve made it ready for action, not ready for sleep.
The kind of sleep you’ll then experience is characterised by not being able to get into a deep sleep and early waking.
Unfortunately this is self perpetuating and once you wake up, tired from a bad night’s sleep, you’ll more than likely want to reach for a sugary breakfast or snack to keep you going.
Cue unhappy, dull skin and breakouts from the excess sugar consumption and dark circles from your lack of sleep.
Limiting your intake of refined sugar will really help with this, if you want a sweet treat without the crash why not treat yourself to a pouch of our macaroons?
It’s amazing how hard your body is working while you’re sleeping isn’t it? All that work that goes into keeping you fit and healthy and you don’t even know that it’s going on during the night.
So the next time you’re tempted to stay up late to have fun, do, it’s every bit as important for your mental wellbeing. Just remember that the day after your body, your mind, your skin and your overall wellbeing will need you to indulge in a few early nights so that it can repair and restore.