March 17, 2022 3 min read

There's a reason why we refer to our overnight rest as "beauty sleep". ⁠

When we sleep, our bodies repair, restore and re-energise. When we're sleep-deprived, not only do we experience poor memory and focus, weakened immunity and mood changes but it shows in the form of dark circles under our eyes and a dull, congested, pale complexion.

This is because our bodies undertake many important functions when we rest at night including:

Detoxification - our skin cells excrete toxins and waste through our lymphatic system. Without sleep, our skin can become clogged, dull and prone to breakouts.

Cell regeneration - skin cells renew more quickly at night than during the day. When we sleep, there's an increase in the production of collagen and elastin (responsible for keeping the skin plump, supple and elastic) as well as an increase in the microcirculatory system which delivers essential oxygen and nutrients to the skin.

For optimum health, we need 7 to 8 hours of sleep, but sometimes this is easier said than done. There's nothing worse than lying in bed in the middle of the night with your mind wide awake . So if this sounds familiar, why not try some of the following tips:⁠

  1. Try to get plenty of natural sunlight and exercise during the day, this will help to keep your natural circadian rhythm healthy.
  2. Avoid screens a couple of hours before bed as the blue light emitted from devices tell the brain it's time to wake up. Try downloading apps that block blue light on your laptop or smartphone.
  3. Whilst caffeine has many benefits, consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed can worsen the quality of your sleep. Try to avoid drinking coffee after 3 or 4pm.
  4. Similarly, drinking alcohol before bed can reduce the production of melatonin (the 'sleep hormone' that regulates your sleep/waking rhythm) and lead to a disrupted sleep pattern.
  5. Eating a large meal late at night can also affect your sleep quality and disrupt hormone production. However, it's thought that snacking on Brazil nuts or walnuts before you go to bed can help boost production of melatonin.  
  6. Drink herbal tea such as chamomile to help tell your body it's time to wind down but don't drink too much liquid otherwise you'll need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night!
  7. Relax and clear your mind in the evening with a pre-sleep routine, try yoga, listening to music, reading a book or meditation.
  8. Take a relaxing bath or shower and cleanse your face to get rid of pollution, sweat and grime from the day.⁠
  9. Massage a nourishing face oil into your skin for 5 minutes. Concentrate on massaging the acupressure points to help you relax. 
  10. Ensure your bedroom is cool as overheating can keep your body awake.⁠ Keep a window open to allow fresh air. Try to make your bedroom a quiet, relaxing space, reducing light and noise to get better sleep. If you can't darken the room sufficiently, try wearing an eye mask to tell your brain the sun has gone down and it's time to switch off.⁠
  11. Use aromatherapy oils to help you relax. Chamomile, lavender, marjoram and valerian are all excellent for calming the mind. Make your own blend by adding 6 drops to 15ml of almond oil and pour in the bath or rub on pulse lints (wrists and behind ears).  
  12. Try sleeping on your back as when we sleep on our sides or front, our faces get compressed into our pillow. Long-term repetition of this every night will cause short-term creases to become permanent lines.

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