Fewer of us than ever before regularly get enough sleep yet we know that it’s absolutely vital for our health. Our body repairs itself during sleeping hours - from our digestive system to our skin and from our brain to our liver - and the nightly cycle is a time when it recalibrates and prepares itself for another day.
The health benefits of sleep are well documented. Our immune system needs the release of cytokines during sleep to play their part in fighting infection and inflammation. And it’s not just physical health that depends on good sleep - it’s also vital to aid good mental health.
For skin health, too, sleep is essential. We talk about ‘beauty sleep’ but that risks making it sound superficial. A lack of sleep will raise the body’s cortisol levels which will lead to increased inflammation. A hugely important skin issue, inflammation can lead to heightened pigmentation, hyper-sensitivity, rosacea and premature ageing. We want to try and reduce this cortisol rush, as it breaks down the proteins that keep your skin smooth and radiant.
Try this: massage products into the face and body whether you’re cleansing, applying oil, serum or cream. This will help encourage blood to the surface of the skin and boost circulation.
Inflammation can also lead to dry skin as the body’s ceramides are broken down. As water and nutrients dissipate, dehydration is the result.
Many of us suffer from puffy eyes and dark circles, exacerbated by a lack of sleep. This happens when the dilation of the blood vessels in the under-eye area results in darkness. Although there’s a whole industry in selling us ‘miracle’ eye creams, the only lasting solution is better sleep.
How to create a sustainable sleep routine
- Eat healthily and exercise - if our bodies are getting what they need they’re in a better position to actually rest effectively. Vitamin B is particularly important as it supports the nervous system.
- Establish a nightly routine and your body will soon develop a better rhythm.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine close to bedtime.
- Blue light from electronic devices can affect your ability to ‘switch off’. Those late night emails can wait. Turn it all off and read a book!
- Take a bath and enjoy the wind-down time. We’ve got some suggested products below to help start the bedtime routine and get body and mind ready for a great night’s sleep.