I don’t know a single person who thinks they’re getting enough sleep. But it seems to be viewed as an unavoidable curse of modern life and even a badge of honour by some. But I wanted to chat about sleep, what a lack of it can mean, and the impact of sleep on skin.
*This is a sponsored post in association with Neutral 0%
The phrase ‘how to get good sleep’ may make some people roll their eyes. It sounds like something we should do without thinking, like breathing, or blinking (although I’m not the best person to talk about good blinking practice, as we discovered earlier this year that I don’t know how to blink properly… I’m not joking).
So why do we need sleep? And what’s the impact of sleep on skin? I spent many years trying to find the triggers for my rosacea. I went through the obvious ones: skincare, diet, stress, temperature… but it took me a long time to realise the link between a terrible night’s sleep and an unhappy face. Sleep is absolutely essential for productivity, health, and mood so it’s an important thing to get right, so let’s chat good sleep hygiene.
I had vaguely heard of circadian rhythms¹, but assumed they were something a bit woo-woo and not to be taken seriously. But after listening to this episode of Every Little Thing (which is a great podcast in general) and hearing some terrifying stats on the link between health and sleep, I started looking into it.
Circadian rhythms are basically a way to identify your natural sleep cycle – the times of day when you start to feel tired and when you naturally wake up. Your biggest natural dip in energy is between 2-4am and then you get a less intense one between 2-3pm (the need for a post-lunch nap is real!) Your circadian rhythms are controlled by your hypothalamus but are also impacted by light (which is why you’re more sleepy in the winter and why bright lights on your devices can interrupt your sleep cycles).
And this is where we get to the impact of sleep on skin. During deep sleep “blood flow is directed less toward your brain, which cools measurably. At the beginning of this stage, the pituitary gland releases a pulse of growth hormone that stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. Researchers have also detected increased blood levels of substances that activate your immune system, raising the possibility that deep sleep helps the body defends itself against infection.¹” While you sleep, your body also rids itself of dead blood cells and dead skin² (another reason why cleansing your skin before bed and using gentle products on your bedding is really important!) as well as reducing the appearance of pigmentation and producing collagen to improve the look of fine lines³. So to answer the question I set myself, the impact of sleep on skin is huge!
By getting good sleep, you are helping your body to heal, repair, and look more healthy – who wouldn’t want that? With this in mind, here are my tips to help you maintain a good circadian rhythm:
- It should go without saying but your bedtime needs to be as comfortable as possible. It’s important to think about your bedding as well as what you wear in bed, not just from a comfort point of view (no restrictive or itchy fabrics) but also from a physical point of view. Neutral 0% make products that help reduce the risk of skin allergic reactions and skin irritations and I’ve noticed a big difference in the redness on the right side of my face (which is always the worst side of my rosacea and I’m convinced it’s because it’s the side I sleep on…) Their products contain no perfumes or colourants but still leave everything soft and clean-smelling. If you have sensitive skin, rosacea, eczema, asthma, allergies, or just want to be a bit kinder to your skin I really recommend you look into the Neutral 0% range (or enter this competition on instagram to win some of the products to try yourself!)
- You have to accept that you have a bedtime! This is something I fought against for so long because I associated it with an ‘old person’ mentality; I would rail against bedtime like a sugared-up toddler, refusing to go to bed even when I was obviously exhausted. But instead of looking at the clock and thinking ‘I can’t go to bed now! It’s only 10pm!’ I am trying to listen to my body and make an adult decision about what I need. It’s also beneficial to keep a similar wake/sleep time throughout the week – that means no sleeping until noon on the weekend I’m afraid!
- Another thing I am trying to work on is turning off my brain. Throughout the day I’m focused on work, or the newest box set I’m binging, or chatting to my husband. But as soon as I lie down in bed, my mind starts ticking over. My tip is to make a ‘brain dump list’: every night before I go to bed I write down the things I need to do the following day, questions I have, things I’m worrying about and leave that on my desk. It’s like today’s brain is passing the responsibility to tomorrow’s brain and it really helps me to relax.
- And finally, I have crafted a very specific bedtime routine which focuses on slowing down, reducing brain stimulation, and pampering myself. I put the night light on my phone from 8pm, have a quick shower or bath and wrap myself in a huge fluffy towel (which, having been washed in Neutral 0%, is not going to aggravate my skin – show of hands, who else hadn’t even considered that their towel might be causing irritation?!), apply body moisturiser in long gentle strokes, then I cleanse my skin, and apply my skincare. I use this rare time away from a screen to think about the day just gone and the one coming up.
I hope you found this post helpful. Have you ever thought about the impact of sleep on skin? Will you be utilising any of my tips? Let me know (and enter the competition at the same time!) HERE.
== PIN ME TO READ LATER! ==