We’ve all heard the term ‘beauty sleep’ and maybe even tried to get a few hours more shut-eye to improve our skin and hair. But is there any truth behind the term beauty sleep and if so, how does it support our health and beauty? Below we take a look at the science behind beauty sleep.
What really happens while you sleep
While you’re relaxing in dreamland, your body and brain are hard at work repairing tissue, consolidating memories, and regulating a number of bodily functions to prepare you for a new day. A large part of the night is spent in NREM sleep – the non-dreaming time in which your body relaxes. This is when leptin, ghrelin, and growth hormone production (among other chemicals and hormones) increases to help the body regulate appetite, boost your immune system, and repair cell damage.
As skin is the largest organ of our body, our epidermis gets just as much attention as other parts of our system. Blood flow increases to our skin, collagen is rebuilt and damage from UV exposure or other causes is repaired.
When we don’t get enough sleep, the repair and rejuvenation work that is done while we slumber isn’t completed. We tend to wake with dark circles under eyes, sallow skin, more wrinkles and fine lines, and even droopy corners of the mouth.
How to improve your beauty sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep is a great step towards improving the health of our skin and hair, but there’s more we can do to optimize the rejuvenating elements of sleep. Along with getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night, try including the following steps to your evening routine.
Cleanse and moisturize
The primary role of our skin it to keep moisture in and toxins out. We can help this function by cleaning our skin before bed and applying a night time moisturizer. Even if you don’t wear make-up, cleaning your skin before bed will support its health. Use a gentle cleanser so you don’t strip the lipids from the surface and leave it feeling rough and dry.
Consider your moisturizer
To help combat the effects of UV exposure, an antioxidant moisturizer should be used before bedtime. As we age, our ability to repair oxidative damage reduces; an antioxidant moisturizer can help this skin rejuvenate while we sleep.
Let your hair down!
While most bedtime beauty routines focus on the health of our skin, there are steps we can take to make sure sleep leaves our hair looking and feeling better too. Never go to bed with wet hair or leave it tied up. Hair is most fragile when wet and leaving hair tied up overnight puts tension on the scalp and hair leading to damage. If you prefer to sleep with your hair tied back, opt for a braid and secure with a fabric covered hair tie such as a scrunchie.
Moisturizers aren’t just for skin masks and treatments for hair can be applied before we hit the hay and removed when we wake in the morning. Applying a treatment to your hair overnight to rehydrate and repair hair should be done once or twice a month for best results. Simply coating your tresses in coconut oil before bed and rinsing when you rise is a great way to support the health of your hair.
Beauty sleep is definitely real, what’s more, we can easily enhance the beneficial effects of sleep to help us rise looking and feeling our best each morning.
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