When it comes to sleep some of us struggle to get the recommended 7-8 hours a night and others seem to drop off in the matter of seconds and the importance of sleep differs from each and every one of us whether it’s the most important aspect in our everyday lives or we simple see it as lost productivity. But did you know your brain is very active during sleep – not just resting?
I’ve come up with my Top 5 tips on how to get a better nights sleep, but first, why do we need it and what can it do for our skin?
The time we spend sleeping is more beneficial than most of us realise and it plays a big part in our physical and mental state. There are different stages of sleep and each have their own benefits such as R.E.M (rapid eye movement) or usually known as the stage in which we dream and this particular stage helps brain repair and restoration whereas other stages will look at body repair and restoration. A good guide to break it down is from Psychology Today if you are interested in the different stages. The biggest benefits sleep can do for you is that it regulates mood, repairs damage, including your skin, we are prone to retain new information, strengthens the immune system, keeps our focus and attention sharp and it can also support growth whether it’s height, hair length or strengthening of the skin and increase muscle mass.
Looking at hormones, if you don’t get enough sleep it can lead to stress in the body that can increase conditions such as acne, dull skin or psoriasis. The biggest part of information I found was that it can also increase the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid (the molecules you need in order for your skin to have its glow, bounce and translucency).
There is a wide variety of what sleep can really do and why it’s important but I also understand that falling asleep is not as easy as it sounds. Here’s my top tips for getting a better nights sleep.
Ditch the screens
Watching thousands of beauty tutorials on YouTube or binging on your latest Netflix series or even just scrolling through social media at night isn’t the bigger part of the problem but instead the blue light that is emitted by the screens as it restrains the production of melatonin (a hormone that controls your sleep cycle). This can also be the cause of migraines in some as the blue light is too harsh but it’s not just the light. Using technology at night has become a natural thing to do so it’s harder to switch off and relax. Trying to avoid all devices 1-2 hours before bed can help forget the stresses of the day (or push them so far back you temporarily forget) so that when it comes to sleeping, your brain isn’t sidetracked by emails, deadlines or that project you’ve been working on for weeks.
Read or listen to music
So most of the time I do binge watch Netflix, I mean I’m in the middle of watching all the Marvel series how can I just stop? But limiting myself to an hour or two, sometimes three, gives me enough time to switch off and relax and to do this I love reading. I have a mini, ok slightly big, library in my bedroom so it’s easier for me to reach over and pick one up. It’s a great way to forget your stresses and problems and get lost in the lives of those in the book. Music is also a great way of winding down before you try and nod off. I’ve built my own playlist specifically for relaxing so my brain and I know when it’s time to shut off and go to sleep.
You may want to skip straight past this tip because, just like the rest, it seems obvious but it really is that easy. You don’t have to give up an hour of your evening in order to do some yoga and in my case look very bad at it, but just 10 minutes is enough, personally, to separate yourself from reality, focus on your breathing and get ready to rest your mind for the important beauty sleep. Ironically, I put a quick yoga session on YouTube about an hour before bed and honestly it helps me forget all about work and whatever stresses I have in life.
Just as a little extra I like to light candles the moment I get home from work as I believe it helps relax my senses and allows me to focus on myself. I have my favourites but I like to keep to fragrances that are light as heavy and too many smells in one are just going to cause a headache and will make getting to sleep that little bit harder. Essential oils are a great alternative for candles and if you have a diffuser, you can use it through the night. Another thing I love doing is spraying my pillow with Avon Sleep Serenity Pillow Mist (currently £2.25), it contains lavender and camomile that is said to calm, soothe and relax. Just one spray of this and I’m already sleepy.
When we’re younger or when we’re parenting we tend to have a bedtime routine for children so it helps them understand it’s nearly bedtime and allows them to wind down. We’re not much different and if it works for them then why wouldn’t it work for us? Whether that’s having a bath at a certain time or doing yoga followed by some light reading will train your brain and rewire it so it knows that as soon as you run that bath it’s nearly bedtime.