Sleep is an important part of your daily routine and is essential to our survival and wellbeing. Without sleep, it is difficult to learn, create new memories, concentrate, and respond quickly to stimuli. After a night of poor sleep, you’ll find that you aren’t feeling 100% and often, this can show on the skin. Not getting enough sleep can contribute to a variety of health issues and skin problems such as dark circles, dry patches, dullness, and acne.
THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP
What exactly happens when we sleep? In the past, sleep was poorly understood, and it was thought that the brain and body were dormant. However, when we sleep the brain is engaged in several activities that are necessary to live. During the night, we restock our supply of hormones, process toxins, repair damaged tissue, generate white blood cells for immunity, eliminate the effects of stress, and process heavy emotions. For a good night’s sleep, melatonin should be rising steadily, and cortisol should low at bedtime. Melatonin is a hormone that is released by the pineal gland and has been associated with our sleep-wake cycle.
Within minutes of falling asleep, changes begin that effect both the brain and body. While you sleep, your brain cycles repeatedly through two types of sleep: rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep, which has four stages.
WHAT ARE CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS?
Circadian rhythms are natural internal processes that direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones. They impact the timing of sleep and when you wake in the morning without an alarm and synchronize with environmental cues such as light. Your body’s biological clock (which is based on a roughly 24-hour day) controls most circadian rhythms.
SLEEP AND THE SKIN
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and its job is to protect the body from environmental toxins. When you sleep, your body releases growth hormones that aid cell and tissue repair which can help restore the skin. During sleep, your blood flow to the skin increases, collagen rebuilds, and damage from the sun is repaired. When your sleep quality is poor, this process can be affected. It is recommended that adults sleep at least seven to nine hours each night; however, with our busy lives, sometimes this can be difficult. Poor sleep can lead to several issues including:
Sleep deprivation, like stress, can lead to acne as it increases cortisol and inflammatory proteins.
Caused by fluid retention.
Dilation of the blood vessels due to lack of sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can decrease the skin’s barrier functioning, leading to more water loss.
Your heartbeat and breathing slow, muscles begin to relax, and you may experience twitching.
A lighter period of sleep before you enter deeper sleep. Brain waves, spike up and down, and body temperature drops. You spend more of your repeated sleep cycles in stage 2 sleep than in other sleep stages.
Deep sleep is often known as slow-wave or delta sleep. This is where your body performs important health-related tasks such as tissue repair, growth, and cell regeneration.
REM sleep occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep; this is where dreaming occurs. Breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels. Your arm and leg muscles become temporarily paralysed, which prevents you from acting out your dreams.
TIPS FOR A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
It might not be easy to drift off to sleep peacefully and paying attention to your sleep patterns can be the first step to a more restful and restorative sleep. Here are our top tips:
Studies have found that people who practice calming exercises, such as deep breathing and meditation have improved sleep quality. There are great apps such as Headspace and Calm that can help you drift off with ease. You can also try strategies such as listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a bath, or visualisation.
Drinking alcohol can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. It can alter your melatonin production and decrease natural night-time elevations of human growth hormone which plays a significant role in your circadian rhythm.
Supplements are great for helping you get a good night’s sleep. Regul8’s Relax® is designed to help you unwind your mind and aid sleep. The unique formulation assists in relieving symptoms of stress, nervousness, restlessness, mental fatigue, and poor sleep. It features passionflower, lemon balm, and roseroot, all of which are known for their calming properties.
Many electronic devices such as your smartphone emit blue light, which researchers have found suppresses melatonin production (the hormone that regulates sleep). Blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime. High levels of melatonin aid deep sleep, so we want more in our bodies at bedtime, so try reducing your exposure to electronics 2 hours before heading to bed.
The body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop that aligns with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can promote sleep quality.
The stomach continues to work while a person is unconscious. Eating just before sleeping can lead to a variety of symptoms that can disrupt sleep, such as reflux. Make sure you finish eating three full hours before bed for optimal sleep. If your gut isn’t functioning well, Regul8’s Digestive Tune-Up® can help you re-balance the microbiome and improve digestion.