The Essential Guide to Sleep Hygiene- ‘Nature’s most powerful beauty treatment’

Sleep is one of those things that just isn’t worth skimping out on. Aside from being crucial to one’s health and well-being, it is of paramount importance when looking to maximize one’s complexion and radiance. When talking about beauty (there’s no error in the term ‘beauty sleep’) – a lack of sleep can rob the skin of its natural glow, accelerate the aging process, contribute to breakouts, exacerbate existing skin conditions, and even cause weight gain. When the body doesn’t get enough restful sleep, it becomes deprived of the time it needs to repair itself, including the regeneration of new cells, the optimal level of collagen production, and ensuring adequate metabolic function. If this isn’t enough, the lack-luster skin effects of a poor night’s sleep are immediately noticeable, hence the necessity for sunglasses after a long night on the town. So, here’s what you need to know in order to optimize sleep hygiene and get the most out of your beauty sleep!

Beauty Benefits of Restful Sleep

  • Radiant complexionproper sleep promotes more efficient blood flow, which in turn increases circulation and keeps the skin rosy and glowing.
  • Smooth skinskin cells regenerate the quickest during sleep and facial muscles relax, leaving softer, smoother skin in the AM.
  • Anti-agingduring sleep, your body secretes human growth hormone, which is crucial for collagen production!
  • Brighter eyesduring sleep, the body also regulates water balance and hydration. This is why sleepless nights (as well as a high intake of sodium and/or alcohol) are linked to puffy eyes, dryness, and circles.
  • Reduced inflammation and healing of skin conditionswith lack of sleep there is an increase in stress hormones resulting in the production of inflammation in the body, which also stimulates the breakdown of collagen as well as the perpetuation of inflammatory and immune-related skin conditions (i.e. psoriasis, eczema). In turn, restful sleep promotes healing and helps to prevent the onset and subsequent flare-ups of these conditions.
  • Weight Loss – not only is lack of sleep related to increased caloric consumption, but when proper sleep is achieved, one is subsequently less hungry.

Are you Getting Enough Sleep?

At no matter the age, sleep shouldn’t be less than 7-8 hours/night. To give you an idea - newborns require the most at 16-18 hours, decreasing to 11-12 hours for pre-school children, 10 hours at school-aged, 9-10 hours for teens, and finally 7-8 hours for adults, no less! To encourage enough snooze hours per night, aim to develop a regular schedule with yourself and commit to it daily.

Dietary Modifications

  • It is paramount to provide your body with the healthy building blocks for proper sleep hormone production such as the following healthy fats: coconut oil, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, raw {sprouted if possible} nuts, and wheat germ oil.
  • You’ll also want to integrate high antioxidant foods into your diet, such as berries, dark leafy greens, green tea, and tomatoes.
  • Finally, it’s important to eliminate simple sugars (i.e. refined carbohydrates), processed/preserved foods, and harmful additives – these put additional stress on the body that can carry well into the evening, effecting sleep.
  • As always, increase intake of {purified/steam-distilled} water throughout the day to help keep the body detoxified (but not directly before bed).

Lifestyle Tips for Better Sleep

  • Limit food intake to before 7pm and especially avoid large meals nearing bed time – the digestive process halts at 10:30pm in order to prepare the body for sleep and you don’t want those foods “sitting and waiting”, ultimately making for an uncomfortable night.
  • Keep all electronics out of the bedroom – if you choose to keep your cellphone, be sure to switch it on ‘airplane mode’ as the brain can still pick up the transmission of signals, even if not in use.
  • Sleep in a dark room – any light interference (especially television/ computer/cell phone screens) will obstruct the brain’s secretion of melatonin, providing the illusion of daytime. This will compromise your ability to enter the sleep cycle smoothly.
  • Aim to wind down at 10pm, and be in bed by 11pm – this timing is in line with our body’s natural circadian rhythms and will ensure that maximum benefit is derived from sleep, while promoting healthy organ function.

Avoid stimulants (i.e. caffeine) after 4pm – even earlier if you are especially sensitive to them! Opt for calming herbal teas instead towards the evening, like chamomile, passionflower, or lavender.

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