Trish Jones
About Author
February 19, 2020
Health & Wellness

Rest Your Body

How many times have you heard someone say they need to get their "beauty sleep”? It’s a phrase we’ve heard all our lives; a cliché we’ve used to get out of less-than-desirable social invitations; and our internal justification when we hit the snooze button a few too many times.

As it turns out, there is a lot of truth behind that phrase. A good night's sleep is an anti-aging must have and the key to getting that "I-woke-up-like-this" glowing look.

It's no secret that sleep-deprived faces look more weary than well-rested faces.

Red and swollen eyes, dark under-eye circles, wrinkles and droopy eyelids are all telltale signs of a sleepless night. Researchers say there's an important link between sleep and your physical appearance. Dr. Adam Friedman, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of Dermatologic Research at Montefiore says: “It’s a known fact that a lack of shut-eye has negative effects on one’s skin, most commonly resulting in a dull, lusterless appearance."

Beauty sleep is not a's a science.

Good and adequate sleep is important to the integrity of the skin. Early in the nighttime sleep cycle, people typically have a surge in growth hormone. This period of deep sleep contributes to what people call “beauty sleep”. Increased growth hormone release helps repair and rebuild body tissues like muscle and bone. It also plays a big part in maintaining collagen matrix, and hence the appearance of youthfulness.

Many of the body’s tissues also show increased cell production and slower breakdown of proteins during deep sleep. Since proteins are the building blocks needed for cell growth and for repair of damage from factors like stress and ultraviolet rays, deep sleep is truly “beauty sleep.”

Bedtime rules for beautiful skin.

Getting ready for bed should be about prepping yourself for a more beautiful tomorrow. And it doesn't need to include a long list of steps, just a little attention with the right products erases stress and daily built-up pollution. Tackle these five things tonight to help your skin be the best it can be!

1. Stay away from salty foods and alcohol around bedtime.

If you're hankering for a bedtime snack or beverage, don’t just grab the first thing that sounds good. While some foods — a light, carby snack like crackers or an apple — can actually help your sleep, many others can disrupt your sleep and wreak havoc on your appearance. Alcohol and slaty food can have a dehydrating affect on the body. To compensate, your body starts collecting natural fluids around the eyes, among other places, leading to that dreaded puffy-eye look. Dehydration is claimed to lead to formation of dark circles under the eyes.

2. Always go to bed with a clean face.
Sleeping in your makeup is a huge skin no-no. Sleep is like hitting a reset button — your body goes into regeneration mode, especially your face. If it's covered in thick makeup, pores can't breathe, which is the last thing you want. Washing your face only takes a few seconds and preps it for the next step.

3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

For a fresh, dewy look in the morning, make sure to moisturize at night! Many anti-aging products are best applied at night during the "repair cycle of the skin". For a nighttime moisturizer that can diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and give you smoother skin, look for one that contains retinol, one of the only scientifically proven anti-aging ingredients. Recent studies have found that even moisturizers that contain very low doses of retinol, have beneficial effects in terms of reducing signs of aging.

4. Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase.
These fibers will keep you from waking up with a bird's nest on top of your head, and their texture softens wrinkles and fine lines because it causes less friction between your skin and the pillowcase.

5. Sleep on your back.

Sleep wrinkles are the lines that are formed when the face is compressed against a pillow night after night and they occur in predictable locations based on fixed anchor points that hold the skin to bone. Sleep wrinkles disappear immediately on younger skin, but will eventually become permanent from constant compression and decreased skin elasticity with age. The key to preventing them is sleeping on your back, which also has other beauty benefits, like clearer, firmer skin and better back alignment.

So how do you know if you are getting a good night's sleep?

Ideally, you want to wake without an alarm clock. If you wake at the same time every morning, it programs your internal clock to adjust your sleep cycles so you can wake up without hitting snooze. Ultimately, you will feel refreshed when you wake up after about 7 – 8 hours of sleep.

What is the #1 contributor of poor sleep?

Emotional upset, such as feeling stressed and anxious, is the #1 contributor in not getting into rejuvenating deep sleep. Doing stress management exercises can help you get into the restorative stages of sleep. Here are a few ways to naturally improve your restoratie beauty sleep:

1. Finish up tasks so you feel comfortable letting them go until tomorrow.

If your thoughts are racing with tomorrow's to-do list, release them from your mind by putting them on paper. Jotting them in a notebook to deal with in the morning may be old school, but it works.

2. Turn off electronics.

The requests, notifications and likes will still be there in the morning, so turn off computers, cell phones, ipads, TVs, etc. and dim your lights. This change in light exposure will help signal your brain to start producing melatonin, the hormone we need for maintaining high quality sleep.

3. Enjoy a beauty ritual.

This includes removing makeup, brushing teeth, flossing, applying face treatments, and whatever else you need to do to prepare yourself for bed. See this as a pampering process.

4. Have some relaxation time.

Take a bath with Epsom salt and a few drops of lavender essential oil or practice meditation, gratitude journal writing, or other relaxation techniques. One reason baths are great — when you get out, it creates a change in body temperature from hot to cooler, which helps signal your brain to release melatonin.

5. Ensure your bedroom is a comfortable cool temperature and turn out the lights so its pitch black.

Light is one of the biggest factors in prohibiting people from being able to sleep because it prevents melatonin production at night. (Tip: Best room temperature for optimal sleeping is somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees).

Sweet dreams darling.

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