Sleeping your way to a refreshed complexion
Most of us will be able to relate to baggy eyes after a poor night of sleep. However, there is much more going on at night than meets the eye. We now know that there is an intricate physiological repair that our body goes through.
At night we have an increase in Growth Hormone which repairs the skin. We also produce more Antioxidants which help to protect the skin from UV light. There is also a natural decrease in Cortisol production at night. As one of Cortisol’s roles is to break down cells, the low levels at night therefore help your skin to regenerate.
One of the Growth Hormone’s functions is to repair damaged cells and stimulate cell production. This in turn allows the skin to recover moisture and skin elasticity will increase during the night.
If we don’t get enough sleep, we undermine these natural changes, Growth hormone production decreases and at the same time Cortisol increases. This then increases cell destruction including the breakdown of collagen. Collagen is a key protein for helping your skin to look fresh, young and elastic in tone.
10 Tips for great complexion:
1) Always use soft pillow cases and sheets which are gentler on your skin and try to avoid lying face down which can cause wrinkles.
2) Wash your face to remove make up and pollutants from your skin, and make sure your pores don’t get blocked up.
3) Eat lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts which provide Antioxidants, which are ‘anti-aging’ in their properties. Foods which provide Vitamin E and Vitamin A and Carotenoids (found in Carrots) are great for the skin. Other great foods for the skin are Kiwi Fruits and Grapes, whilst berries are another superb source of antioxidants
4) Maintain hydration throughout the night. Trans-epidermal water loss (water moisture is greatest at night) use a quality moisturising product at night. In addition have a glass of water by your bedside for first thing in the morning or if you awake in the night.
5) Increase your water intake in the day, and cut back on tea and coffee during the day as these are diuretics and cause us to lose water from the body. Our skin is in fact 64% water; a recent study by Kantar Worldpanel found that we drink more tea than tap water, with under 250,000 of us Brits drinking the eight glasses of water a day recommended by the NHS!!
6) Swap your morning coffee or tea first thing for filtered water or fresh fruit, or fresh fruit juice such as Orange Juice. All of these will hydrate you, providing moisture for your skin with the fruit and having the extra benefit of providing your skin saving Antioxidants. Vitamin C is especially important for the skin, reference to scurvy in sailors of years gone past who were given Citrus fruit to prevent this skin condition.
7) Try brushing your skin. It detoxes, exfoliates and moisturises your skin. Towel yourself dry after a bath or shower, and then add a few drops of body oil to a soft brush. Then brush gently upwards from the feet to the heart in circular motions. This can give your skin an incredible glow.
8) Aim for about seven to eight hours sleep a night. If you lose sleep one night, try to nap in the day after rather than allow sleep debt to accumulate through the week. This will help to quickly recover the lost sleep and restore your vitality.
9) Always go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and night. This helps strengthen your body clock and results in getting to sleep more easily. You also get a better and deeper night’s sleep which improves all your body’s systems and the health of your skin.
10) Exercise outside if you can in the morning. The sunlight helps to strengthen your body clock. Regular exercise has also been shown to make it easier to get to sleep at night.