Sleep – the best skincare
You can follow all my skincare advice to the letter, but if you are not getting enough sleep, you will struggle to bring your skin to its optimal health.
Sleeping is the body’s need to detoxify and regenerate… This is when the immune can get into action with energy and undisturbed by our activities. Any injuries of the day are given attention, stresses the mind has encountered are dealt with by the subconscious, and the lymph can be properly recycled out of accumulated toxins.
Lack of sleep is the worst enemy for the skin, but too much can also bring its drawbacks, generally between six and eight hours is ideal. Too much or too little and your skin will be the tell-tale sign – puffiness, dark circles, premature ageing – all signs of needing more sleep or having too much… yes there's such a thing as getting too much!
Disrupted sleep is a well-documented manifestation of stress. Jetlag, stress, anxiety and generally feeling out of sorts all manifest as stress and can disrupt our sleeping patterns. During these times we find ourselves, consciously or not, in a constant state of high-alert, this is the commonly known state of ‘fight-or-flight’ mode – a draining state that refuses to switch off.
For almost 20 years I have been trying to help my clients improve their skin through addressing their sleep issues. Here is what I find works:
FRAGRANT LINEN - NOT A GOOD IDEA!
Overly fragranced bed linen is the worst mistake most people make. When we fall asleep, we want to detoxify, not breathe in more toxins. You may at first enjoy getting into a fragrant bed but when it’s time to fall asleep the scent will keep your brain active for longer. Choose an eco-washing detergent that is not overly scented.
If you are feeling anxious before bed, you can make yourself a relaxing oil to massage on the chest and neck. Essential oils when used properly are the best natural sedatives as they work on mind and body.
Here is a calming recipe I love:
30ml vegetable oil of your choice
2 drops Lavender
3 drops Chamomile
1 drop Vetiver
If you would like a readily blended oil, try Sleepy Head. It is a dreamy body oil, made with valerian essential oil that sedates and soothes the nervous system. It also has marjoram and chamomile that calms over-active minds and relieves anxiety and distress. Lemon clears the mind and lifts the spirits, sending you to bed feeling light and sleepy.
STRETCH & BREATHE IT OUT
Make sure to take some fresh air during the day – move yourself, breathe. Toward the end of the day, light a candle and reconnect with yourself.
ELIMINATE HOT DRINKS PAST 5PM… EVEN THE CHAMOMILE TEA!
Any hot drink in the evening is going to disturb our sleep by giving us the need to go to the bathroom during the night, thus disturbing our sleep. It’s Important to stay hydrated during the day, but after dinner we should refrain from drinking too many liquids and making a rule of no hot drinks at all.
Caffeine is a well-known hindrance for good sleep, so I recommend sticking to herbal or decaffeinated in the afternoon.
Drinking herbal tea in the day is of great benefit to soothe inflammation and hydrate the digestive system - slow and difficult digestion prevents the body from fully relaxing at night. Drinking peppermint, lemon balm and verbena tea throughout the day contributes to deeper relaxation at night.
LASTLY BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY…
You must be diligent with routine - going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will train your metabolism to slow down at the end of each day. A long time ago a client told me this and my initial reaction was 'What, even waking up early at the weekends? No thank you, I love my sleep!', that is all well and good when you don't have any issues sleeping, despite when you go to sleep, but when life's events start to disrupt that ability we need to make changes to find stability and strength to cope with our daily stresses… and of course to have beautiful youthful skin!
More advice on sleep and skincare can be found in my book, ‘Perfect Skin – Unlocking the Secrets’.
PRODUCTS IN THIS BLOG