Sleep And Your Health
They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing! Yes, one of life’s simple pleasures – a good night’s sleep – is a powerful tool for your overall skincare regime and in your quest to maintain beautiful skin throughout your life.
Not only is sleep good for your skin it is vital for your physical and mental well-being. Numerous studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to premature aging of the skin, ill health and predispose you to certain medical conditions such as stroke, heart disease or diabetes.
Some studies have even found that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain. And we all know what the effects of a bad night’s sleep or prolonged sleep deprivation can have on how we feel mentally.Tired and drained we spend the day in a bad mood or in a brain fog, unable to make decisions or get through all our usually daily tasks.
During sleep your body repairs and renews itself and after a good night’s sleep you should feel relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of the new day.
Sleep And Your Skin
Your skin cells are also nourished and replenished when you sleep and you can usually see the results of a good night’s sleep on your face. You are probably familiar with the results a bad night’s sleep can have on how you look…
Lack of sleep can lead to dark circles under the eyes, a dull, gray complexion and your face may appear more droopy or gaunt looking. It also affects your ability to deal with stress and, as we all know, stress is another factor that can have an affect on our facial skin.
Sleep Your Way To Better Skin
There are some simple steps you can take to help you get a better night’s sleep so that you can enjoy the therapeutic effects that sleep has on your skin.
1) Get A Good Quality Bed – This is the starting point for getting a good night’s sleep. Invest in a bed that has a comfortable and supportive mattress and choose pillows that suit your particular sleep requirements.
2) Create A Haven For Sleep – Make your bedroom your sanctuary, don’t use it for work or for watching television, keep it as a restful environment. Decorate in muted tones and avoid clutter in the bedroom.
3) Check The Temperature Of Your Room – Make sure you room is not too hot or too cold and remember that your body temperature drops as you sleep.
4) Avoid Stimulants – Caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee and colas should be avoided from late afternoon onwards as these can interfere with sleep. Even cocoa may act as a stimulant, try hot or cold milk instead as milk contains a substance called tryptophan, a natural aid for sleep.
5) Avoid Cigarettes And Alcohol – A nightcap may seem like a good idea but alcohol acts as a stimulant. It may get you off to sleep faster but it can cause sleep disturbances that can leave you feeling drained the next day.
It also dehydrates the skin. Smoking increases the heart rate, your blood pressure and brain wave activity making it more difficult to get off to sleep.
6) Avoid A Heavy Meal Just Before Bedtime – Try to eat your last meal at least 2 hours before you go to bed. If hunger is something that keeps you awake have a light snack or milky drink before retiring.
7)Avoid Prolonged Napping During The Day – A power nap of around 20 minutes in the afternoon can be useful but anything more than 30 minutes can impair the quality of your night sleep and could cause insomnia.
8) Avoid Exercising Too Close To Bedtime – Regular exercise during the day is fine and will aid good quality sleep but if you exercise too close to bed time you will find the results are more stimulating than relaxing.
9) Avoid Stress Before Bedtime – Try to avoid dealing with problems such as financial issues or other worries close to bedtime. An active mind will keep you awake. Try discussing your worries earlier in the day and try relaxation techniques like meditation or visualization to clear the mind and help you relax.
10) Take A Bath – A warm, soothing aromatherapy bath just before bedtime is an excellent way to relax and unwind. Aromatherapy oils such as lavender and chamomile are known for their relaxing properties, avoid stimulating oils however.
Foods That Aid A Restful Night’s Sleep
Certain foods aid sleep while other foods hinder sleep. Carbohydrate rich foods like bread, potatoes and pasta act as a natural sleeping pill and you may find that eating these foods at lunchtime leaves you feeling sleepy in the afternoons.
It therefore makes sense to make your lunchtime meal protein rich and your evening meal carbohydrate rich.
Foods that are rich in the sleep-promoting substance trytophan are useful when eaten later on in the day, these include:
- Milk and dairy products
- Poultry especially turkey
Foods to avoid before you go to bed include those that act as stimulants or those that are difficult to digest. If your body is working hard at digesting food then it’s going to keep you awake.
What’s more eating rich foods in the evening can lead to indigestion, which may also keep you awake.
Foods best avoided at bedtime include
- Caffeinated drinks
- Foods that have a high fat content
- Foods that are high in protein
- Spicy foods
- Sugary foods