Beauty sleep sounds like something straight out of a fairytale. After a hard day’s work, you retreat to your bed made of feathers and flower petals and magically wake up looking like America’s Next Top Model. Unfortunately, it might not happen exactly like that, but beauty sleep is indeed a real thing.
What is beauty sleep exactly? While you make your nightly visit to dreamland, your body switches into repair mode. Your body’s cortisol levels decrease and melatonin increases, which sets you up for a productive night’s rest. This is a crucial time your skin needs to recover from the damage caused during the day. A few key processes happen during that time to help you wake up looking radiant and beautiful.
For one, when you sleep, your body produces hormones that stimulate collagen production. Collagen production slows as we age, which causes our skin to become less firm and smooth. With good restful sleep, your skin will show fewer signs of aging, like wrinkles and sagging.
Another critical process that happens while you snooze is skin cell regeneration. While this also happens during the day, it happens faster at night. Optimizing sleep to increase the renewal rate increases cell turnover, and your skin will look healthier and more youthful.
Sleeping well is also associated with healthy levels of inflammation. Without enough sleep, certain inflammatory chemicals in our bodies become elevated. And this sets us up for more problems, especially if you have a skin condition like acne, dermatitis, or eczema. Good sleep also leads to lower stress levels, which also contribute to inflammation.
The benefits of beauty sleep run deep, but are you getting enough? With the sometimes hectic reality of life, sleeping a full seven to eight hours each night can be a real challenge. And our appearance can suffer if we lack good quality shut eye. Follow the below tips to maximize your beauty sleep and awake each morning looking your best.
Calm Yourself Before Bedtime
What we do in the few hours before we retreat to our beds can make a big difference in the quality of our sleep. If we use this time to start winding down, we’ll have a better chance of getting the beauty sleep we need. A nighttime routine helps prepare us for a fruitful visit to dreamland. This starts with eliminating activities that keep your brain overly stimulated. A few ideas to replace highly stimulating activities include deep breathing, meditation, aromatherapy, reading, journaling, listening to soft music, or light yoga or stretching.
Watch What You Eat Before Bed
Food also has a significant effect on quality of sleep. Following a few guidelines can make it much easier to get better beauty sleep. A few things to avoid when it’s close to bedtime include eating a big meal, consuming caffeine or sugar, drinking alcohol, eating salty or spicy foods, and drinking liquids. On the other hand, there are a few things to snack on that might help you snooze. A small bite before bed can help prevent your blood sugar from dropping. Try foods with magnesium like almonds and pumpkin seeds, cherries for natural melatonin, or turkey or yogurt for their tryptophan.
Use a Good Quality Moisturizer
As your skin cells renew while you’re sleeping, this is the perfect time to feed them vital nutrients. Applying a high-quality moisturizer with active ingredients before bed will help maximize the benefits. Also, skin tends to dry out overnight because we produce less sebum (oil) while we sleep, allowing water to escape more easily. A thicker face cream works well at night.
Sleep On Your Back and Elevate Your Head
The position you sleep in can affect your skin for two main reasons: friction and blood flow. Sleeping on your back is better than side sleeping to avoid sheet-induced wrinkles caused by squishing your face into your pillowcase. Also, keeping your head slightly elevated at night helps to allow blood to flow better, which helps prevent it from pooling and causing puffiness and bags to form under your eyes.
Keep hydrated during the day (but don’t drink before bedtime)
Staying hydrated is necessary for all-around good health, and especially skin health. But going to bed with a full bladder will likely cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and run for the restroom. A good rule of thumb is to stop drinking about two hours before hitting the hay.
Avoid blue light
Blue light is also called high-energy visible light and is the light our eyes can actually see. It makes up about half of the light coming from the sun, and it’s also emitted from electronic devices like computers and cell phones. Too much exposure to blue light can affect our circadian rhythms and throw off our sleep cycle, which isn’t good for our skin.
Studies have also shown that blue light affects your skin similar to the sun. It can cause DNA and tissue damage, skin barrier damage, and increased signs of aging. Unfortunately, many of us spend a lot of time, either for work or play, in front of a screen. Limiting screen time, especially at night, will help keep your skin healthy.
Use a humidifier
Your skin loses water at night and when you sleep. This is mainly because sebum production slows down, so there’s less oil to block moisture from escaping. In addition to using a rich moisturizer, sleeping with a humidifier will help keep skin moist. It’s especially helpful during winter when the furnace in your house is running.
Block out all light and noise
Disrupted sleep will take its toll on your complexion. So to help you fall into a deep slumber that lasts through the night, try eliminating two of the biggest interrupters: light and noise. Turn off all lights and block light from your window with blackout curtains. You can also wear a sleep mask to ensure no light seeps in. Add some earplugs for even more peace and quiet and a fabulous night’s rest.
Control room temperature
Being too hot or too cold while you snooze can keep you from productive sleep. Everyone’s a little different, so you’ll need to find the right combination of bed covers and room temp that works for you. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your room at 60-67 degrees at night.
There are countless health benefits to exercising on a regular basis throughout the week. Sleep is one of the most important ones. Getting about 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-4 days each week will help keep your sleep cycle in sync so you can wake up each day with gorgeous, refreshed skin.
Lack of quality sleep can rob your skin of its healthy glow. Unfortunately, the challenge of sleeping well is real for millions of people. These ten tips will help you drift off to dreamland and stay there through the night, so you get the beauty sleep you need. Try these tips and see what works best for you to give your skin plenty of time to rest and heal from the stress of the day. Sweet dreams!