by Kathy Smith
Not getting enough sleep takes away from your skin’s natural beauty. If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter or two, you know that a lack of sleep has a sneaky way of showing up on your skin despite your best efforts to keep it under wraps. But what really happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
- Your body releases more cortisol, the stress hormone which can make you look and feel more stressed and tired. It causes the skin to become inflamed, which disintegrates its collagen. That means over time your skin will have less firmness and elasticity, which will show up as lines, wrinkles, dryness, and thinner skin.
- Your body releases more of a hormone called glucocorticoid that disrupts the structure of the skin, putting you at greater risk of suffering from breakouts.
- Your body doesn’t circulate blood efficiently to the skin, meaning that less oxygen and nutrients reach it, causing dullness and making your skin look older than it is.
- You put yourself at risk of under-eye dark circles. These can crop up because when your body doesn’t get enough sleep it causes blood vessels under the skin in the eye area to dilate. This is what produces those dark patches.
- Your body isn’t able to produce enough amounts of growth hormone – which repairs & renews cells and prevents premature aging. Essentially, your whole body needs to go into repair mode when you sleep.
Tips to maximize your beauty sleep
Clearly you can’t underestimate how important sleep is for your skin. If you tend to battle with getting enough sleep, there are things you can do to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. Everything from sleep position to bedding can have an impact on the positive results you get from your slumber, so here’s how to do it right.
- Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary. If you are going to get a good night’s sleep in your bedroom, it should be a place that promotes it. This means it should be dark as well as comfortable. It should not contain television or gadgets that will distract you from sleep, and it shouldn’t be noisy. If you can’t help the light or sounds that travel into your bedroom at night, invest in an eye mask or earplugs so that you cut them out.
- Have a relaxation routine before bed every night. Make sure you unwind properly every night before you try to head to bed. This could mean having a warm bath, meditating, massaging yourself with essential oils like lavender that also promote sleep, or taking your time to conduct your late-night skincare routine. By massaging your anti-aging skin lightening products and moisturizers before getting ready for bed, you can relax your muscles and get your body ready to head to dreamland.
- Leave the day’s tasks at the door. If you stress late into the evening, perhaps over work that you still need to do or some other problem, this will form an obstacle to your quality of sleep. Stress can also worsen your skin issues, such as psoriasis and eczema, because it disrupts the body’s hormones. Therefore, you want to ensure that you switch off from whatever was occupying your mind in the day, such as by watching a TV program you like or reading an escapist novel.
- Eat the right foods before bedtime so that you can enhance your sleep quality. Cherries are a great choice because they contain melatonin, a chemical that ensure our internal clocks work efficiently, allowing sleep to arrive. Another good thing to consume before bedtime is milk. Since it contains tryptophan, a chemical linked to serotonin, it helps to promote sleep.
- Avoid sleep-stealing foods. Caffeine is bad as it stimulates the nervous system, while spicy foods can lead to heartburn which can keep you up. You should also avoid protein foods close to bedtime as these accelerate your body’s digestion which can keep you up instead of making your body relax and slow down so that it can become sleepy.
Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.