We all know the effect a seriously good sleep can have on our mood but did you know our immune system and overall wellbeing – including our skin health – is directly linked to the amount of snooze time we clock up? Just one restless night's sleep can have a major impact on everything from hydration levels to collagen production taking a hit. Here, I share my secrets for supercharging your slumber.
Create a deep sleep ritual
Ask any baby sleep expert for their top tricks and they'll likely wax lyrical about the importance of a pre-bed routine. And for good reason. A nightly sleep ritual has been shown to work magic at any age, signalling to the mind and body that it's time to hit the hay.
Our favourite wind down wonder routine? Start with a warming bath filled with magnesium salts – frequently dubbed the 'miracle mineral', this has been shown to help with muscle relaxation and combatting stress. Dry off with a warm fluffy towel then glide on our hand-blended By Sarah London Body Oil to comfort even the fussiest of skins. Use the palms of your hands to press it into your shoulders and feet – zones we often hold stress in.
Next, treat yourself to a gentle facial massage while applying our Hero Facial Oil. This simple technique can take mere minutes but delivers a whole bevy of benefits from easing jawline tension to releasing oxytocin (known as the 'happy hormone' and critical to our overall wellbeing). Simply take a few drops and work over your face and neck in sweeping upwards motions. Follow along in our Facial Massage episode of Skin School.
Once you've climbed into bed, take the time to quiet busy thoughts by journaling. I like to write down anything I'm worried about or tasks I'd like to tick off the next day then hide it away in a drawer.
Move throughout the day
Movement is so important for our overall skin health, promoting the lymphatic system and stimulating lymphatic flow. It's also fundamental to getting a good night's sleep since it can boost the effects of melatonin (the hormone that regulates our sleep cycle). But getting the timing right is key. Avoid working out within three hours of bedtime as your heart rate won't have slowed down enough which can get in the way of you entering the land of nod. Instead, enjoy a brisk walk at lunchtime or hit up your favourite YouTube yoga class in the morning.
Steer clear of blue light at bedtime
Wine and a big meal might sound like the recipe for a seriously lengthy snooze but these are actually factors that can get in the way of a great night's sleep. Alcohol and refined sugars cause your blood sugar levels to rise and can be overstimulating. Instead, opt for a lighter meal in the evening.
Another big baddie when it comes to catching those ZZZs? The blue light emitted from phones, tablets and other electronic devices. These disrupt nature's own sleepy signals (think light coming up in the morning and going down at night) and suppress our production of melatonin. Put these down at least an hour before bed and if you do wake in the night? Resist the urge to check your phone.
Support your immune system
When we sleep, our sympathetic nervous system (which controls your 'fight or flight' response) gets a chance to relax, allowing our immune system to kick in. Support it during the day by enjoying vitamin C-rich foods, such as peppers and oranges and anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric and ginger. With a healthy immune system and healthy levels of cortisol, our skin will be able to best perform its everyday functions – we're talking everything from shedding dead skin cells to absorbing vitamins such as Vitamin D. Sending you calm thoughts, sweet dreams and happy skin...
Written by: Sarah, Co-Founder, By Sarah London
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