We all know that sleep is essential for human existence.
The body repairs and regenerates. The mind resets itself for a brand new day. And despite those super humans, (Margaret Thatcher, Martha Stewart and Barack Obama included) who can survive on as little as four hours a night, studies show that just one evening of poor quality rest can considerably impair the radiance of skin. So here’s how to maximize that beauty sleep – and wake up looking restored.
Silky smooth: If you’re prone to sleeping on your front, burying your head in a cotton pillowcase will cause lines and wrinkles upon waking. So buy a silk pillowcase – or make sure you travel with a silky nightie to slip around a hotel pillow – and your skin will slide, rather than crunch against it, thus preventing wrinkles. Anyone with dry, colored or curly hair will also appreciate the smoothing, detangling benefits silk will bring.
Go slow: Over the course of a night, the body enters several different types of sleep cycle. Yet it’s during the ‘slow-wave’ phase that human growth hormone is released – the key to thickening skin, boosting muscle mass and strengthening bones. Some experts suggest that incorporating strenuous, weight-bearing exercise into our daily lives can enhance slow-wave sleep – so start training now. This particular sleep cycle also helps improve your short-term memory.
Manage your hormones: Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the production of cortisol – ‘the stress hormone’ – that leads to inflammation and accelerated skin ageing. Black tea, spinach and barley all contain nutrients that help the body regulate cortisol levels naturally. So you get a better night’s sleep – and better skin as a result.
Open the windows – even in winter: When winter bites, it’s tempting to turn up the heating and batten down the windows. Yet the resultant lack of oxygen inside the room can contribute to puffiness and pooling beneath the eyes. So get yourself a hot bottle – then crack open that window.
Reach for a hairband: Fixing our hair is not the first thing that leaps to mind when thinking about the sleep-skin link. But tie long hair up in a loose, high pony and you’ll stop it from blotting away your night cream – and in turn, prevent your hair’s natural oils from affecting your complexion.