The days are getting shorter, nights longer, and an autumnal wind is blowing across the country. The cooler and darker weather can be tough on your skin, especially if you’re struggling to get some good quality sleep. Whilst good quality sleep is important for your skin’s health, it’s also incredibly important for your overall health particularly during the winter months with increased levels of infection and with the current pandemic.
The effects of a poor night’s sleep are obvious, so obvious in fact that your family and colleagues will often notice as soon as they see you in the morning. Good quality sleep is incredibly important for your general health and well-being and especially the health of your skin. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep stimulates your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. This in turn can lead to increased stress and inflammation throughout your body, which has a damaging effect on your skin.
The problem is that a good quality sleep can be hard to come by particularly if you live a busy urban lifestyle. Light pollution, noise pollution, excessive exposure to TV and computer screens, as well as modern central heating systems and poor diet can all contribute to reducing your sleep quality. There are however a number of simple solutions that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help improve this important natural healing process. So how does a poor quality sleep reduce your skin’s health?
Increased inflammation caused by sleep deprivation and raised levels of cortisol can aggravate common chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and can also lead to increased acne breakouts. Low-grade inflammation is also responsible for the breakdown in your skin’s collagen and hyaluronic acid. Both of these molecules are essential for maintaining your skin’s youthful glow. As well as boosting your immune system, good quality sleep helps your body rebalance your hydration. This allows your skin to recover moisture and your body to process excess water ready for excretion. If your body isn’t allowed to perform this function through a good night’s sleep it will lead to your skin becoming dry, wrinkles becoming more visible and the appearance of the dark circles and puffy bags under your eyes that we all associate with being tired.
Improving the quality of your sleep will not only make you look less tired it will actually reduce the signs of ageing. This is because during deep sleep your body produces the growth hormones that repair damaged cells. Without regular deep sleep, this cellular damage accumulates in poor health as well as noticeable ageing.
Better sleep also improves weight loss. Not only are you less hungry you are also less lethargic and so more physically active. So there are plenty of health and dermatological reasons why we should all strive to improve the quality of our sleep, but there is one very important other reason we should also remember. After a good night’s sleep, you simply feel so much better. The world seems like a better place. Our friends, family and colleagues are so much easier to get along with and you’re more productive and happier. So how do we achieve good quality sleep when we’re exposed to a modern urban lifestyle?
Top 10 Quality Sleeping Tips
1. Ensure you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
This is important to ensure your circadian rhythm is well regulated. This biological clock controls many of your body’s biological processes; particularly your sleep cycle. By going to bed at around the same time every day this important rhythm is maintained and your energy balance and metabolism are kept in balance.
2. Ensure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
One of the most important cues your body receives to regulate your circadian rhythm is light. Blacking out your room and ensuring your sleep isn’t disturbed by any noise is a really simple and effective way to improve the quality of your sleep. It’s also a good idea to begin dimming the lights around the house a couple of hours before bedtime.
3. Exposure yourself daily to the early morning light for 15 minutes.
As well as darkness your circadian rhythm needs early morning light to keep functioning effectively to wake you up properly. Exposing your eyes to direct light within two hours of dawn is essential. This needs to be direct outdoor light and not through a window as important light frequencies are filtered out by the glass. Studies suggest there are key light frequencies in this early morning light that kick starts your day and your circadian rhythm.
4. Avoid night-time screen exposure.
This includes your TV, computer or mobile phone. There is mounting evidence that overexposure to these devices is creating significant public health problems and it is interesting to consider just how many mobile phone manufacturers are now incorporating night time displays that block out the harmful blue and green lights that disrupt your sleep. If you have to use your computer or want to watch TV in the evening it’s probably worth investing in good quality blue light blocking glasses. There are a number of suppliers you can choose from and they actually look pretty cool too. Talking of cool…
5. Keep your bedroom comfortably cool.
During sleep your body naturally expects the ambient temperature to cool. Keeping your central heating cranked up while you’re asleep will disrupt your sleep as you often observe during warm summer evenings.
6. Cool your body down with a cold shower before bed.
This is an incredibly effective way to induce deep restorative sleep. To truncate the process of cooling, contrast showers are a really effective technique. Using this technique helps reduce the amount of time you need to expose yourself to the cold water in order to cool your body down. The technique works by exposing your body intermittently to both hot and cold water. The hot water opens ups the blood vessels in your skin and allows the cold water to come into greater contact with your blood flow thus increasing the effectiveness of the cold water. Typically you should try 10-seconds hot water and 20-seconds cold, repeating this cycle at least 5 to 10 times and always ending on 20-seconds of cold exposure. It can take a little getting used to at first but eventually you’ll look forward to the lovely soporific effect this technique induces.
7. Avoid alcohol.
This might seem counter-intuitive and it is true that alcohol will initially help induce sleep. The problem with alcohol is the way it disrupts your deep sleep, which is so important to your general health and well-being.
8. Do some exercise.
We know that exercise makes us tired and unlike alcohol will induce good quality sleep. While it’s true that your circadian rhythm is best suited to exercise during the mid-afternoon it is important that you do not exercise at least a couple of hours before you go to bed. A good opportunity for some exercise is during the early morning as you are getting your exposure to the early morning sunlight.
9. Obtain some daily sun exposure.
Even if it’s just half an hour a day during lunchtime it’s important that you try to obtain some natural sunlight during the middle of the day too. Not only will this supplement your vitamin D levels during the summer months it will have a beneficial effect on your circadian rhythm.
10. Lower your stress levels.
Admittedly this can be difficult particularly if you’re stressed about the quality of your sleep, but this is where meditation and ring-fencing time to relax come into their own. Not overstimulating your brain at least 2 hours before bedtime is a good idea too. So, try to avoid any onerous late night tasks that are mentally stimulating and likely to keep you from sleeping.
Hopefully these tips are helpful and enable you to improve your sleep and the health of your skin. If you’re looking for a further boost to your skin health and one less thing to worry about to help you get a good night’s sleep, call the centre today on 020 8683 6730 for your free skin consultation or click here to book your appointment online.