What is beauty sleep? | Facts and Tips
The term 'beauty sleep' has always baffled me. Like Aunty Acid I also thought it was a lie - Why on earth do they call it beauty sleep when we, and by 'we' I mean us normal people, wake up looking like trolls in the morning - unlike people on TV who usually still look as fabulous as they did before they went to bed.
I decided to do some research on the link between beauty and sleep and found that the 'beauty' part actually refers to you overall appearance and health of your body and skin, and doesn't refer to what you look like when you wake up! My bad :-)
So, here are some interesting facts as well as the most popular beauty tips to follow if you want to turn your sleep into beauty sleep.
The link between sleep and aging
Sleep continues being something that we don't get enough of because we just cannot fall asleep at night or we do not make it a priority in our lives. Most of us don't realise, however, what a negative impact sleep deprivation can have on our general health and our aging process.
When we sleep our body rests, replenishes and regenerates and one of the unfortunate effects of sleep deprivation is that it causes the skin to age more rapidly.
During our second stage of sleep, known as Delta Sleep, hormone levels peak and it is during this time that skin cells are repaired. So, any damage that has been done to the skin that could contribute to premature aging is repaired during this phase. When we don't sleep enough, those cells don't get repaired properly, which leads to premature aging.
Sleep deprivation also leads to higher levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which is also linked to premature aging. Hight stress levels generally can lead to insomnia in some form and not being able to sleep makes you stress even more. So, basically, it is just one vicious cycle that we need to manage as best we can if you want to keep your youthful appearance for as long as you can.
Many skincare brands boast about the anti-aging effect that their products have on your skin but fail to mention that healthy lifestyle and adequate amount of sleep plays a vital role in this process as well. Using an expensive and proven skin care product and not making sleep and a healthy lifestyle an important factor in your life is pretty much the same as going to the gym religiously and eating only junk food, expecting to lose weight. The one simply cannot produce the expected result without the other.
Complexion and appearance
We all strive to get a flawless complexion and youthful appearance but don't always know how this could be achieved or which factors play an important role in this quest for perfection.
Not getting an adequate amount of sleep will affect the moisture levels of your skin. While you are asleep your body’s hydration rebalances and recovers extra moisture. This makes sleep a natural moisturizer that can help to smooth out wrinkles on the skin. Sleep deprivation also lowers the skin's pH levels. When pH levels of your skin drop, it creates an imbalance which could cause your skin to look dry, cause unnecessary redness, uneven skin tones and could even cause breakouts.
Your body boosts blood flow to your skin while you sleep which means you'll wake up with a healthy glow and rosy cheeks. If your skin looks dull, ashy and lifeless, it could be a sign that you are not getting a decent amount of sleep.
Chances are, you've had dark circles under your eyes at some stage of your life. There are many causes of dark circle under your eyes such as bad genes or poor diet, but insomnia seems to be one of the main contributors to this unsightly condition. Basically, what happens when you don't get enough sleep is, that blood vessels under your eyes tend to dilate and seeing that the skin under the eyes is so thin, dark circles appear. Some suggest that a quick fix for this would be to place damp, cooled tea bags under your eyes, as the tannic acid in the tea bags tend to cause the blood vessels to shrink and therefore making the dark circles less visible.
More sleep could lead to healthier, fuller hair
A woman's hair is one of the most noticeable parts of her appearance and can set the tone for her entire look. So needless to say, healthy hair can make all the difference.
Hair loss, breakage, damage and even hair growth can all be affected by sleep deprivation. Hair follicles gain vitamins and minerals from blood flow. Since blood flow decreases when we don't get enough sleep, your hair gets less nourishment, it weakens and will cause your hair to not grow as quickly as it is supposed to and look dull and lifeless.
Changes in your sleep cycle have also been shown to affect the body's immune system and hormone secretion. Hair is very sensitive to changes within the body and hair loss could be a consequence of internal disturbances.
As mentioned about, sleep deprivation could lead to stress and as we all know, stress can cause hair loss as well.
Quick tips to get the most out of your beauty sleep
Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase
Silk and satin fibres will not only prevent you from waking up with a bird's nest on your head but also soften wrinkles and fine lines as it causes less friction between your skin and the pillowcase. The material also glides on your skin, preventing it from stretching the skin.
Change your pillowcase often
We've mentioned in previous blog posts that we shed skin cells, oil and dirt when we sleep which is then absorbed by your sheets and mattress. The same goes for your pillowcase - so remember to wash your pillowcases as often as possible. We don't want our lovely skin to rest on a bacteria nest for eight hours a night, now do we?
Prevent wrinkles by sleeping on your back
Sleeping on your back could help nip wrinkles in the bud before they even start. Repeated stretching and pressure on your skin can eventually lead to set-in-lines. If you sleep mostly on your one side you might have even noticed that you have more wrinkles or more pronounced wrinkles on that side.
I know that this might be a tall order if you tend to sleep on your side or stomach, but we all know sometimes we have to suffer to be beautiful!
Stick to a night-time skincare routine
So many of us go to bed with our makeup on sometimes - I know, I'm one of the guilty parties here. When you do not cleanse your face before going to bed, the product on your skin could clog your pores which can, of course, lead to breakouts.
Seeing that we can't drink water while we sleep to hydrate our skin, it is important to use a good night cream to keep your skin hydrated. As mentioned already, the one without the other is pretty much useless. So, remember to moisturise AND get enough sleep. Sure, sleep alone definitely has its benefit but can be enhanced by using good quality products and sticking to your skincare routine.
Tie your hair up
Some experts suggest that you tie your hair up before going to bed so that the natural oils in your hair don't cause havoc on your skin. You should, however, not tie it up too tight or in a tight bun but rather in a loose high ponytail.
There are SO many beauty tips on the internet that might or might not work. The conclusion that I came to is that, basically, beautiful skin starts with a good night's sleep!
Remember, be good to your skin. You'll wear it every day for the rest of your life.
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