A little while ago now, I had the pleasure of spending a morning with the Britain’s leading Beauty Journalists, I was Guest Speaker at The Berkeley Hotel speaking about why sleep is important for the skin, what happens when we sleep and why we wake at certain times.
We are all aware of the benefits a good nights sleep has on our cognitive abilities but what about the benefits to the skin?
Eating late at night puts added stress on the digestive system that in turn causes heart burn and indigestion around 11pm – 3 am. This can bring about congestion around the chin and forehead as well as dry flaking lips. So eat before 8pm if possible, chew the food slowly and take probiotics to support the digestive system.
Stress, as we know affects the Circadian rhythms, increased levels of Cortisol will keep the analytical mind on overdrive. This causes shallow breathing and will result in a disrupted sleep between the hours 3am – 5am and may cause the skin to be dehydrated, itchy and dry.
Cortisol reactions can also be caused if we wake in a start, did you know we have a natural body alarm system? Have you ever wondered why you may wake a minute or so before your alarm clock? or if you know you have to be up at a certain time you will wake a little before hand? This is because we have a very clever release of a hormone called adrenocorticotroprin (try saying that in a room full of editors!) Our brains literally acknowledges the fact that we have to be awake at a certain time and releases this hormone when needed so that we are prepared for the day ahead. If we are woken in a start, Cortisol is released, increasing our heart rate and our adrenal response for the ‘flight or fight’ response.
The importance of a good uninterrupted sleep is vital for skin health. As we are in our slumber the body has an increase in HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which reinforces the connective tissue, stem cells, collagen and elastin.
IL-I (Interluekin I) is a protein that increases white blood cells that support the ‘repair’ phase of R’n’R as well as the release HGH which is integral for collagen production.
For those who have difficulty sleeping on a regular basis are most likely to suffer from some form of Eczema or Psoriasis. This is linked with the Lungs related to emotional stress. There is a specialised field in this subject called ‘Psychodermatology’ .
Those who have difficulty sleeping should follow the following tips:
- Phones and iPads should be charged and placed in another room outside the bedroom! lets be honest, how many of us look at the phone first thing in the morning, last thing at night and if we wake!
- Eat a lettuce sandwich! Yes, not only will it hydrate you but the white head of the lettuce is known as ‘Lettuce Opium’ for its sedative effects… make sure you chew slowly!
- Drink a warm glass of milk, this really does work! Milk Peptides follow the same neurological pathways as tranquilizers. Milk Peptides help with a restful sleep and also boost cognitive functions during the day. (For those who are lactose intolerant can get Milk Peptide supplements)
- Visualisation. I am a great fan of this but I have to say to some it is not as easy as it sounds. To quieten the mind, especially under stress is sometimes a hard task. Think of a time in your life when you was most happiest, visualise every tiny detail running over in the fore front of your mind like a movie clip. If you feel your mind wondering start the image over again.
- Conscious of your breathing, lie in bed on your back and be aware of your breathing. Slow it down and control deep, slow inhalations, hold for a second then slowly and controlled exhale.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff! offload things that you cannot control!
- The Bowen Technique is an amazing modality for all forms of stress, anxiety and helps insomnia.
“Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, move harmoniously.”
– Jean-Pierre Barral –
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