Kip Advisor, our digital sleep tool, has some very compelling reasons why we should ditch lotions and potions and prioritise sleep for healthy glowing skin.
We know we're often banging on about the foundational ability for sleep to influence all aspects of our health and wellbeing, but we find many people are surprised at just how much sleep infiltrates our ability to be healthy humans. This last week we did a bit of work around sleep and how it impacts the radiance, glow, and health of our biggest organ - our skin.
So, this is what we learned about what is happening to our skin during sleep, and when during our sleep cycle it is replenished.
Sleep is incredibly important for our skin health
During slow-wave or deep sleep, our body releases growth hormones that help our skin repair any damage that has occurred during the day. Slow-wave sleep happens earlier in the sleep cycle, and common things that can impact the quantity and quality of our deep sleep include:
Napping too close to bedtime. Try and have your nap before maybe three in the afternoon and avoid napping for too long (it should be less than 30 minutes)
Heavy meals too close to bedtime. This is because digesting food can raise our core temperature.
Exercise too close to bedtime. For many of us, this increases the production of wake up hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, as well as core temperature and heart rate. There is no hard and fast rule, we're all different when it comes to everything becoming calm again after exercise. Research shows it should be at least an hour , and for many people, it may be about three hours.
Collagen is released whilst we sleep
We know that collagen is important to minimise the number of wrinkles we might get but did you know that it's released later in the night, during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep. Forget the creams and potions, sleep is the secret weapon to avoid wrinkles!
The downside is that REM sleep is the stage where we're most likely to be pulled fully out of our sleep cycle. If we're struggling to sustain sleep and waking earlier than we're used to, then we don't get this important stage of sleep.
Tips on how to improve the quality of REM sleep include:
Wind down properly before bed. Think about a bath or shower to temporarily raise and then drop your core temperature. Try swapping that engrossing box set for something more relaxing like a David Attenborough wildlife programme.
30-minute rule. If you wake in the night and can't fall back to sleep, follow the 30-minute rule. If you're awake for what feels like 30-minutes then focus on resetting your brain, basically take your brain from a state of wonder to a state of wandering. You could try a slow breathing exercise, your favourite meditation app or listen to an audiobook you've already read, and enjoyed.
If there's something disturbing your sleep, address it! Partner snoring, pets in the room, a rubbish mattress or pillow are all common things that can pull you out of sleep during the REM cycle.
Finally, poor sleep generally raises cortisol levels. Cortisol causes inflammation which can lead to breakouts, making us more prone to acne and more susceptible to allergic reactions.
To reduce these cortisol levels, and to improve our wellbeing generally try:
Getting outside earlier in the day. A blast of daylight, for about twenty to thirty minutes, improves the body's ability to know when it should be awake, and therefore, helps the body understand when it should be asleep (when it gets dark). It helps our energy levels and the quality and quantity of our sleep.
Having points of rest in the day. We are not designed to be “on” for a full working day, so taking time to allow ourselves to lull and contemplate the world is extremely beneficial.
Improving our brain can have a positive impact on our body’s ability to minimise the inflammation that stress causes. Head on over to Thinkingwell to see some ideas on easy to apply things you can do to improve your brain health.
Final thoughts: Sleep is so important for the radiance, glow, and health of our biggest organ - our skin.
Effects of resistance exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure (2015). PubMed.