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Beauty / Health and wellbeing | 25.04.2016

10 ways to sleep better and get a clearer complexion

benefits-of-sleep-and-sleep

If you haven’t been pushing out the z’s and having your regular six to eight hours of sleep, you're probably keen to find some natural ways to sleep better. Apart from making you feel lethargic, moody and fuzzy headed, a lack of sleep can have a terrible impact on your skin.

Insomnia, or sleeplessness can cause chronic inflammation, irritated skin and premature ageing. Often, the lack of sleep is triggered by stress, which is also detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing. 

When we don’t sleep well, our hormones go out of whack – cortisol (the stress hormone) tends to increase and disrupt the balance of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and serotonin (the happiness hormone). In fact, stress-related sleep deprivation can create a plethora of skin related issues including: 

10 natural ways to sleep better and improve your complexion

  1. Set a regular bedtime and stick to it. Too many late nights create bad sleeping habits. Try to hit the sack before 10pm. During the first phase of our sleep cycle we move into deep sleep more rapidly and we are less likely to wake up and be disturbed. 

  2. Swap out the caffeine for chamomile or herbal teas after 12pm. Warm milk with a sprinkle of nutmeg and a teaspoon of honey is a great before-bedtime drink, as it increases l- tryptophan an essential amino acid associated with rest. It’s the precursor to serotonin which is then converted to melatonin, which governs our circadian or sleep-wake cycle. Honey creates an insulin spike which causes the tryptophan to cross the blood brain barrier creating a conversion of serotonin to melatonin in the pineal gland. The increase in melatonin tells our body to go nighty-night.

  3. Remove all electronic devices from your bedroom – this includes your phone and laptop and even your TV. This also removes electromagnetic fields (EMF’s). Bedrooms are the place for rest and relaxation, not stimulation. 

  4. Shower or bath before bed to wash off the cares of the day and make sure your sheets and PJ’s are nice and clean. Try adding chamomile and lavender essential oils to a non-scented laundry liquid and use this to wash all bed linen. 

  5. Exercise your body during the day to physically tire you out. Research has proven that an average of 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous activity provides up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality and makes you feel more alert during the day compared to those who don’t exercise.  

  6. Don’t watch the clock – If you can’t sleep, try listening to a meditation that works by relaxing your whole body and utilises the breath, such as a yoga nidra. 

  7. Hungry or full? Eat early enough for your digestion to have settled down, but not too early so that you go to bed hungry. Sleep time is when your body is also fasting and your digestive system is having a break as well. 

  8. Overworked? Worrying about work related issues really does not solve them. There's always a solution. Get it out of your head. Keep a pad and pen by your bedside and journal what is bothering you, while writing down possible solutions and strategies. 

  9. Quit smoking – Yep, not good for the skin or good for getting a good night's kip. If you’re a frequent smoker, then your body is going through nicotine withdrawal, which means that you are 20 times more likely to wake up during the course of the night. 

  10. Lay off the booze – As the alcohol starts to wear off, your body comes out of deep sleep and back into rapid eye movement (REM) cycle which is not as deep and easier to wake from. During the course of a night's sleep, you usually have 6-8 cycles or REM sleep which leaves you feeling refreshed. If you’ve been drinking, you usually only have 1-2 cycles leaving you waking up feeling exhausted and most likely dehydrated.

Do you have trouble sleeping? Please share your tips, tricks and your own surefire ways to sleep here.    

@bymukti

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