The benefits of sleep are seemingly endless - it’s no wonder they call it beauty sleep. Getting adequate rest may just be the closest thing there is to the fountain of youth when it comes to caring for your skin. It really is necessary for true beauty and, more importantly, for overall wellness. When we sleep, regeneration occurs at a cellular level throughout the body, including the skin. The skin is our largest organ, so sleep is absolutely key for its healing and restoration. Additionally, chronic lack of sleep can come with a whole other host of health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and depression, just to name a few.
But it sure doesn’t take chronic sleep deprivation to show up on our faces. Anyone who’s ever suffered through a sleepless night knows that the effects are immediate – and visible. Skin is dull and lifeless, with puffy eyes accompanied by dark circles and fine lines, not to mention a foggy mind, trouble concentrating, an achy body and a cranky mood. The good news is that the results of sleep deprivation are almost as immediately reversible. When you are in a deep slumber, your body’s ability to naturally fight off environmental damage increases, translating into a healthier and more youthful complexion. Several nights of high quality sleep can result in major improvements in skin color, texture and glow, plus better health and well being in general. So, imagine what a lifetime of good sleep habits can do!
There are several things you can do to get started on a great beauty sleep habit. For starters, aim for eight to nine hours a night – every night. Sure, you may be one of those people who thinks they don’t “need” as much sleep, but the benefits of a good nights sleep are clear. Operating on less rest just doesn’t cut it, and your face will say so. Your body needs at least seven hours of sleep at night for full cellular regeneration and reversal of everyday free radical damage.
During the first three hours, the body produces human growth hormone, which is vital for collagen production. Collagen is an essential protein that is responsible for providing shape and firmness to our skin and replacing dead skin cells. We need as much of this as possible to maintain a healthy and bright complexion. As you shift into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, melatonin production increases. Melatonin is a hormone that is also an important skin-protecting antioxidant; fighting against age spots, fine lines and even skin cancer. As we age, our bodies produce less melatonin, so taking a supplement or using a topical product about thirty minutes before bed can help boost the duration and depth of your sleep, in turn accelerating and optimizing the skin’s repair cycle. In your last three hours of sleep, skin temperature drops and muscles relax, allowing for additional repair and recovery. It all adds up to eight important hours, and adding on a ninth is a great bonus. Sleep also reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which creates discoloration, stretch marks and thinning skin. No one wants those!
To make sure you fit in those eight to nine vital hours, ideally you should aim to get to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time in the morning – and that includes weekends, too. Sure, those late nights out can be fun, but the next day your body, mind and skin will certainly pay for it. Unfortunately, you can’t really make up for a very late night by sleeping ten or eleven hours the next night and/or fitting in sporadic naps here and there. The body responds best to a consistent, established sleep pattern. While the duration of sleep you get is crucial to your skin’s health and appearance, the quality of your rest is equally as relevant. REM sleep is the deepest stage of rest, and it is during this phase in the night that the most cell regeneration and turnover occurs. When we stay out past our bedtimes, the whole circadian rhythm gets thrown off and REM sleep decreases or perhaps is never reached at all, resulting in less than radiant skin and those puffy eyes that shout out exhaustion. To avoid this unfortunate situation, pick a consistent bedtime and wakeup time, and do your best to stick to it. There is plenty of fun to be had during the daylight hours!
Creating a soothing bedtime routine can also help set you up for a restful night of deep slumber. Try turning off all screens at least an hour before you get into bed to minimize brain stimulation, reduce extra light sources and tone down extra stress. If possible, remove all electronic devices from your bedroom or at least turn the screen side down so it is not viewable during the night. Doing a few minutes of meditation or some mellow stretching postures can be a relaxing way to transition from daytime into bedtime and calm down your nervous system. This signals your body that it is time to rest and rejuvenate. Sipping on a warm beverage such as herbal tea or milk is another soothing way to relax your mind and body before slipping off into dreamland. If you’re still having trouble hitting the hay, talk to your doctor about common sleep apnea symptoms and see if any are familiar to you.
To help that beautiful face stay even more fresh and youthful, try to become a back sleeper. This may be tricky at first, but is certainly worth the effort of changing your sleep position habits for the sake of your skin. Lots of incipient wrinkles begin and grow by being squished into a pillow every night (we all know about that annoying crease between our eyes!) In fact, many skin care experts can tell which side their clients sleep on just by looking closely at their faces. Sleeping on your back allows the skin to fall naturally back into a smooth, relaxed position. This also helps alleviate puffy eyes, which are caused by excess fluid gathering in the eye area while we are sleeping. Additional elevation from an extra pillow can further combat this problem, and is also helpful for reducing neck and upper back tension, providing more cushioning to that area. You can also try sleeping against a wall with a small stack of pillows against the other side of your body to prevent turning over in your sleep.
Another face-saving idea is to use a very smooth pillowcase: opt for silk, satin or at least a very high thread count cotton to help prevent creasing and wrinkles. As an added bonus, you may notice you have less bedhead in the morning and the fabric will feel fabulous against your skin. Also, be sure to avoid heavily dyed fabrics, which irritate sensitive skin. It is extremely important to wash your pillowcase on a regular basis to remove excess dirt and oils, which can cause breakouts. We recommend using an all natural and fragrance free detergent to prevent any skin reactions and support the environment.
The temperature of where you sleep is a factor often overlooked but vitally important. When you begin your snooze, the set point for your body temperature (meaning the temperature your brain is trying reach) drops down slightly, which induces sleep. This means that if the room you are sleeping in is too hot or too cold, your body has to work harder to achieve its set point, which can disrupt your slumber. Generally this mild drop in body temperature makes it easier to fall asleep in a slightly cooler room, but if it is uncomfortable on either end of the spectrum you are more likely to wake up and not rest well, especially since the temperature of your sleeping environment particularly affects deep REM sleep. While there is no exact perfect sleeping temperature, experts suggest a range between 65-72 degrees, depending on what is most comfortable to you. Experiment with open windows, adjusting the thermostat and using more or less blankets to find your ideal rest temperature.
We all know how paramount hydration is to skin health…and nighttime is especially key in maintaining healthy hydration levels. There is a flurry of metabolic activity occurring during sleep, which causes skin to lose about 25% more moisture at night than it does during the day. This loss can be supplemented in several ways. First, always make sure you are consuming enough water. Of course we cannot stress this enough! It is recommended we drink about an ounce of water for each pound we weigh on a daily basis, and more if you live in a hot climate and/or are exercising regularly. We also derive fluids from consuming water-rich foods. Including lots of fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, apples, leafy greens and cucumbers in your diet not only nourishes your body but also will also hydrate you from the inside out. In addition to making sure you’ve consumed enough water during waking hours, using OZNaturals hyaluronic serum at night will also help attract water into the skin, which will in turn smooth out the wrinkles. Nighttime is an ideal time to layer on other reparative skin products, as the skin has time to allow them to deeply penetrate. If you’re using a retinol product, apply right before bed time to get the most benefits from the night time repair and renewal cycle. A great OZNaturals nighttime regimen is:
- Wash with Vitamin C or Ocean Mineral Cleanser
- Exfoliate with Ancient Orient Dermafoliant (at least twice a week)
- Apply Ocean Mineral Tonic
- Apply Retinol Serum
- Apply Hyaluronic Acid Serum
- Apply Super Youth 2.5 Retinol Moisturizer
- Apply Matrix 6 Eye Gel, Super Youth Eye Gel or Ultra Ageless Eye Creme
For optimum wellness and beauty, make sleep a priority. Getting adequate rest is one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your skin and your overall health. Take the time to truly set yourself up for deep slumber, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also reap the psychological benefits of sleep in the day to come.