Wellness Tip: Get Your ZZZs!

Sleep and Skincare Go Hand in Hand

If you have trouble getting to sleep, you’re not alone! Between 50 to 70 million US adults suffer from one or several sleep disorders; 30 percent of the adult U.S. population suffer from Insomnia and 10 percent from chronic Insomnia, making it the most common sleep disorder. 80 percent of us across the globe want to improve the quality of our sleep

6 Ways Sleep Affects Our Health

A short-lived bout of insomnia is generally nothing to worry about. The bigger concern is chronic sleep loss, which can contribute to various health problems. The quality of sleep we get is foundational to our physical, cognitive, and mental health. Six areas impacted by chronic sleep loss are: 

1. Learning and Memory 

Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In Studies, people who had slept after learning a task did better on tests later.

2. Metabolism and Weight: 

Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting how our bodies process and store carbohydrates and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

3. Safety:

Lack of sleep contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.

4. Mood

Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to contrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do things you like. 

5. Cardiovascular Health

Severe sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.

6. Disease

Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. So keeping up with sleep may also help fight disease. 

Why Are We Getting Such Bad Sleep?

There are a variety of factors that determine your quality of sleep. For example, nutritional imbalances, drug interactions, illnesses of your heart, lungs, and digestive systems, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, and stressful life events such as a death in the family, a wedding, or a demanding new job can all contribute to sleepless nights. 

The icing on the cake is the anxiety associated with going to bed once you’ve had a few restless nights. Anxiety will keep you from getting a good night’s rest!

 Woman applying cream

What Happens When We Sleep?

While sleeping, your body spends most of its energy rebuilding tissues, bones, and cellular components involved in your circulatory, immune, and hormonal release systems. The regeneration process at night can be up to three times faster than during the day. 

You get maximum absorption and increased benefits from skincare ingredients during the nightly renewal process as you sleep. So catching some zzz’s is essential to effective anti-aging skincare routines. 

Most importantly, your brain has time to recover from all of its work. Researchers don’t know exactly why, but sleep is essential to mental health. Unfortunately, sleep problems are widespread in people with anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric disorders, including those taking psychiatric medications. What’s worse is that insufficient sleep can trigger symptoms and episodes of these conditions.  

How Much Sleep Do We Need? 

The average adult sleeps seven to seven and a half hours per night. Twenty percent of Americans get less than six hours of sleep per night. Sleep researchers believe the average human being needs not eight but nine hours of sleep for the brain to recover from its daily wear and tear.

As a matter of fact, getting an extra hour of sleep might give you the equivalent of the energy you receive from two cups of coffee! Researchers have found that if you lose an hour of sleep —for example, if you usually sleep seven hours and you only get six— your alertness level the next day might be reduced by 20 percent. 

After five days of sleep deprivation, you might start to resemble a zombie, mentally and physically. Your alertness level could fall by 50 percent. However, other researchers have found that most people function quite well following one sleepless night. The sleep-deprived person might feel groggy, but his performance won’t suffer after a one-time deprivation.

Eliminate Your Sleep Enemies 

It may be difficult to hear, but cutting back on caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine makes a major impact on the quality of your sleep. Caffeine can disrupt sleep, especially if consumed six hours or less before bedtime. Alcohol might help you relax enough to fall asleep, but often you’ll awaken later, robbing you of essential sleeping hours.  

Nicotine is a stimulant that may keep you awake as well. Be wary of your body’s natural stimulants too. Exercising too late in the day ramps up your metabolism and could prevent you from falling asleep quickly. Overeating, eating too late, or eating spicy foods might also inhibit sleep.

 Woman stretching

10 Simple Steps to Better Sleep: A Skincare Must! 

Now that you know that wellness is heavily dependent on sleep get ready to step up your sleep routine to improve your skin, mind, and body.

  1. Be sure your bedroom is cool.
  2. Don’t use your bedroom for anything but sleeping and sex. Avoid using it as an office or dining room!
  3. If you don’t fall asleep within fifteen to thirty minutes after lying down, get up and do something relaxing in another room. 
  4. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol altogether, and see if you fall asleep more easily.
  5. Participate in vigorous, aerobic activity in the morning or afternoon. 
  6. Take a calcium-magnesium supplement one hour before bedtime.
  7. Drink a cup of chamomile tea. This herbal tea has been known for centuries to have a calming effect.
  8. Avoid using sleeping pills regularly. They do not promote the kind of sleep your brain likes. Instead, try herbal alternatives such as valerian root, which is known to have a similar effect as sleeping pills but is nonaddictive and has no side effects.
  9. Eat a high carbohydrate dinner and/or snack. This step will enhance the release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps you fall asleep! Just don’t eat too close to bedtime. 
  10. Utilize aromatherapy oils for increased relaxation. Oils that provide a relaxing effect are chamomile, lavender, neroli, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, melissa, ylang ylang, and marjoram. Add a few drops to your bathwater or sprinkle a few drops on a handkerchief and inhale.

This is an excerpt from 52 Ways to a Healthy You, written by Laura Lewis. 

Laura Lewis is the big-thinking founder and CEO of female-run boutique digital marketing firm LaLaPow. She’s a self-identified geek extraordinaire who likes good sci-fi, delicious food, and drinking in new ideas like they are glasses of fine wine. 

With professional endeavors in media, marketing, business, technology, fitness, nutrition, wellness, education, authorship, and project development of various stripes, Laura brings a deep wellspring of expertise to the table. She applies this knowledge holistically to her life and work to find success for herself and her clients. Find her at LauraLewis.com.