Beauty sleep is often touted as one of the most effective ways to turn back the hands of time, but can it really do that much for our looks AND our age? Consultant dermatologist and professor, Dr. Nick Lowe agrees that getting the right amount of sleep each night can give you prettifying results. And they're far from tiny...
"A study by the University Hospital Case Medical Centre found that sleep-starved skin aged quicker. Poor sleepers had significantly higher ratings of fine lines, uneven pigmentation and slackening elasticity.
"Compared with the good sleepers (women with 7 hours or more), poor sleepers (women with five hours or less) exhibited impaired skin-barrier function, increased moisture loss and slower recovery from sunburn."
The biggest shocker? Poor sleepers were perceived to be fours years older while good sleepers looked eight years younger!
So before you turn out the lights tonight make sure to incorporate these experts tips in your bedtime routine.
1. Get a good night’s sleep
With our work-hard-play-hard lifestyles it’s no surprise that 60% of women say they don’t get enough sleep each night. But as you know a lack of good night’s sleep can actually cause a lot of damage to your skin.
“Sleep is when all of the systems of our body repair and regenerate themselves. Our skin detoxifies itself overnight. To get the most from your sleep, create an ideal sleep environment which is cool, dry, dark and quiet. The better you sleep, the more your skin will be able to repair and regenerate,” says dermatologist and founder of Murad skincare, Dr. Murad.
With a good night’s rest you’ll be able to clear breakouts, rejuvenate the skin and restore luminosity stat.
2. Evaluate your bedtime routine
Too often we’re up late googling, texting or watching TV when we should be getting our nightly dose of REM. How can we combat this problem? “Create a bedtime routine, such as taking a warm shower or bath, sipping herbal tea, or doing light stretches," says Essential Nutrition nutritionist, Caroline Farrell.
If you're left with racing thoughts and can’t switch off try fighting this by setting a nightly routine and sticking to it. Whether it’s a book that gives you heavy eyes or soothing music that dozes you off make sure to incorporate it into your bedtime drill.
If something's really pestering you, keep a notebook by your bedside and write down your thoughts - it’s a simple way to quiet the mind.
3. Avoid caffeine...
...six hours before bedtime. After a hectic day at work sometimes all you want is a cup of java to keep you going, but this will only put a damper on your beauty sleep. Caroline warns, “Caffeine is a stimulant, which stays in the system for around six hours. It is found in coffee, tea, green tea, chocolate, some soft drinks and some over the counter medicines.” In the afternoon, make it a rule to put caffeinated goodies away. For good!
4. Don't drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed
“This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom, or at least minimize the frequency,” says Caroline. And the night cap? Avoid it. It acts as a diuretic, causing you to constantly get up and go to the toilet, which does no good for a pretty face. Restful uninterrupted sleep is what you need.
5. Take a warm bath
A good soak in the tub after a long day is a great escape from reality and will have you feeling refreshed and ready for a snooze in no time.
"A bath before bed and a cool bedroom helps induce a drop in temperature and promotes sleep,” says Caroline. Try adding a cup of Epsom salts or a few drops of lavender oil to your bath to promote relaxation. A bit of R&R can do wonders for your beauty sleep.
6. Use honey!
Manuka honey is well known for its superpower benefits. From fighting colds to pampering our skin this antibacterial honey knows how to give you a beauty fix or two. And when it comes to slumber - it can even help out there too.
Give yourself a nostalgic treat in the evening. Experts at Steens Manuka Honey suggest “Having a teaspoon or two of Manuka honey and warm milk in the hour before going to bed.
"The amino acid tryptophen, found in honey, is the raw material that the brain uses to build the sleep inducing substances serotonin and melatonin."
And just when you thought bee's couldn't be more helpful turns out mimicking them can help too! Sleep Guru, Anandi says, "Hum like a bumble bee for 15 minutes before you go to sleep! This stimulates serotonin and gives you a great night sleep."
7. Change your pillowcases regularly
Ever wonder why those pesky pimples keep making their way back? Have you tried everything, but nothing's worked? It could be your pillowcase. Dr Murad says “Change your pillow cases regularly! If you don’t, spot-causing bacteria can build up and cause breakouts.”
Furthermore, invest in a silk pillowcase which with glide softly onto your skin to prevent creases and wrinkles. Dr. Nick Lowe says, “Silk contains amino acids similar to those found in your moisturizers. As such, they don’t draw moisture from your face the way other pillowcases can.” Failing that, go for crisp white cases as dyes can irritate skin.
8. Become a back sleeper
If you’re concerned about aging and willing to give up your fave sleeping position in trade for wrinkle-free skin then give this beauty trick a shot!
Dr. Murad, says “The idea of “sleep wrinkles” is often considered to be a beauty myth, but sleep wrinkles are recognised as a dermatologic reality. Sleeping on your side or with your face down on your pillow can cause wrinkles to form, while sleeping on your back can prevent the formation of wrinkles.”
9. Have a bed-time snack!
We'd have never guessed cottage cheese and grapes were the perfect combo to help drift us off to sleep, but apparently it makes a pretty great bedtime snack for catching Zzz’s.
Dermatologist and world renowned healthy aging expert, Dr. Perricone says, “Cottage cheese contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps us to get a good night’s sleep. Another excellent choice is grapes—the only fruit found to contain melatonin.”
For foods that boost serotonin (another helpful sleep hormone) Anandi recommends almonds, walnuts, turkey, whole grains, rice, and pumpkin seeds, but warns to "make sure you eat a light meal in the evening".
10. Pamper your nails
To really make the most of your beauty sleep why not add a few minutes to your bedtime routine every night to look after those hard-working talons? It’s easy to neglect our nails during the week, but it’s so important we set aside time to treat them. Apply cuticle oil or cream before you go to bed and slip on some gloves. The results are gorgeous!
11. Buy a humidifier
Heating during winter can cause our skin to flake, itch and tighten. Not your idea of beautiful skin, right?
With a lack of moisture in the air it’s a great idea to invest in a humidifier for your home, which you can turn on before you go to bed. It’s also a great remedy for snoring so no more middle-of-the-night-insomnia for you or your man!
12. Have an electronic shutdown
Most of us are guilty of keeping our phones by our side while we sleep, but even the tiniest glimpse of light can suppress the production of melatonin in our bodies. (The awesome brain chemical that helps regulate our sleep.)
Caroline recommends investing in “blackout blinds or an eye mask and ear plugs if necessary.”
Try to avoid your phone and tablet bedtime habit by buying an old school alarm clock instead - this will help prevent you from checking your Facebook and Twitter feeds every five minutes. Then just press the button at the top and hold. See - that wasn't so hard was it? We recommend turning off technology a good 90 minutes before sleep.
13. Keep a sleep diary
This may sound ridiculous, but like anything if you keep track of how you’re feeling and what your body is telling you, you’re more likely to pinpoint exactly what works for you and what doesn't.
Dr. Murad says,“Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night. Why not try starting a sleep schedule. Think back in the past month, what days did you feel the most energetic? How many hours of sleep did you get the night before?” Figure out what works best for you and aim for that each night.
14. Be a morning person
Try being an early bird. When you wake up early you're setting yourself up for the day with little stress and a good attitude.
If you're often fatigued in the morning try supporting your nervous system with Vitamin B12. This vital vitamin is well known to reduce restless leg syndrome which overall, can improve your quality of sleep. Try Nutrition Now's Vitamin B12 supplement available from The Vitamin Shop. The more beauty sleep you get, the better!
15. Create a night-time skincare routine
Nighttime is the best time to help repair your skin so it’s vital to use the right products to support your skin while you sleep. Always make sure to cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturize pre bed. It’s a four-step system that your skin can’t afford to miss.
Here are the best nighttime fixes on the market. From soothing Argan lip treatment to moisturizing Amazonian Maracuja Oil, here are the top sleeping beauty boosters you need in your bedtime beauty regimen, stat.
Top-to-toe bedtime essentials
Are you getting the beauty sleep you need? Tweet us @wewomenCA!