Sweet Dreams : 9 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep
How did you feel when you woke up this morning? Refreshed and ready to face the day or exhausted and wishing you could reset the alarm and claim an extra hour – or three – of sleep? Most of us are all too aware of the detrimental effects of a lack of sleep on your skin, from puffiness and fine lines to permanent dark circles under your eyes and lacklustre, grey looking skin.
Sleep deficiency prompts your body releasing more of the stress hormone cortisol. The bad news is that too much cortisol breaks down the collagen in your skin, leading to premature ageing.
It’s estimated that one in three of us are sleep deprived, resulting in, at best, early morning grumpiness or at worst, detrimental effects on your health, including depression and illness. Family concerns, work stress and traumatic events in your life all play a part in disrupting sleep.
Here’s our advice to achieving a good night’s sleep, every night:-
Set a regular sleep schedule : To improve your sleep patterns, experts advise going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends and your days off. Opt for a time when you normally feel tired so you are able to sleep. Extend this routine to weekends, rather than staying up late, to induce a more regular sleep pattern.
Try and wake up at the same time every day : People who get enough sleep will wake up without the need to set an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to rouse you in time for work or the school run, try going to bed earlier, starting with just 15 minutes at a time to help your body adjust to more regular sleeping hours.
Create an evening ritual : By repeating patterns each night, you are subtly telling your body it’s time to relax. Take a warm bath or shower, play some relaxing music or read a book. Dim the lighting in your bedroom to create a soothing, sleep-inducing effect. An overnight moisturiser containing lavender may also help to aid sleep. If you exercise in the evening leave yourself at least a couple of hours for your body to relax afterwards.
Don’t overeat, drink or smoke : Fatty or spicy foods require your body to work harder to digest them. Going to bed on a full stomach may cause discomfort and prevent you from sleeping. Avoid alcohol too; while it may knock you out initially, it will disrupt your sleep during the early hours of the morning. Nicotine is also a stimulant. Do not smoke late at night if you are serious about improving your sleep quality.
Get the temperature right : To promote a good night’s sleep maintain a slightly cool room temperature. Excessive heat or cold interferes with your ability to sleep well. To maintain your skin’s hydrations levels we also recommend turning off your air conditioning overnight.
Cut out the caffeine : If you’re suffering from an inability to sleep,limit your caffeine intake to no more than two to three cups of tea or coffee per day. Best of all, cut out all caffeine after midday. Opt for herbal teas, decaffeinated drinks and (ideal for your skin) water.
Switch off the TV & electronic devices : Experts recommend avoiding excessive screen time or online activities before bedtime as this will prevent effective sleep. Turn off your TV, computer and smartphone before going to bed. These activities stimulate your mind rather than help you to relax. Avoid e-Readers or devices that are backlit as this will also interfere with your ability to sleep. Use a bedside lamp as your light source.
Create your own comfort zone : As far as possible, create a cool, dark, peaceful sleeping environment. If you work shifts or live in a noisy neighbourhood or close to roads, wear a sleeping mask or pop in some earplugs. Choose bedding that’s comfortable for you with a firm mattress and sufficient pillow support.
Nap if necessary : If you’re particularly sleep deprived, opt for a nap during the day rather than sleeping late in the morning to maintain a consistent sleeping/waking pattern. If your insomnia is excessive, resist the urge to take a nap as it may make it worse. If you are desperate to recharge, limit your nap to thirty minutes during the early part of the afternoon.
Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences on your health. If you are concerned about your lack of sleep, please visit your GP.
If you work shifts … Make sleep a priority on your days off to try and pay off your body’s ‘sleep debt’.