The Beauty of Sleep
By Funmi Azike
Sleep is one of nature’s greatest beautifiers. It’s not only essential for maintaining good health, improving concentration and reducing stress, but vital for good skin and our overall appearance. Getting quality sleep will renew the skin better than most anti-aging creams because a lot of cell regeneration goes on in the body while we sleep. It will also help relax facial lines and wrinkles.
To improve the quality of sleep and enjoy its beautifying benefits;
- Keep a regular sleep schedule by setting a regular bed time, wake up time and making up for lost sleep. This will help your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (your circadian rhythm) which is important in achieving good sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Coffee, cola, chocolate and tea all contain caffeine, a stimulant, with effects that does not wear off for hours. Caffeine is also a diuretic; it saps away moisture from the body that leaves the skin dehydrated. Avoid consumption of alcohol especially close to bed time.
- Boost your melatonin production at night by blocking out all form of light at night. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. You can wear an eye mask to block out all forms of light.
- Reduce intake of foods and drinks that may cause acid, gas or wind. Examples include cold milk, soft drinks, mushrooms, beans, yeast products, citrus fruits and spicy foods.
- Eat your evening meal early. Also, avoid heavy meals at night. If you feel too heavy after your meal, take a gentle 10 minutes stroll.
- Light exercise like yoga or walking can help the body release tension, helping you to sleep better.
- Avoid long siestas so that you can sleep longer at night. Your day time rests should be short, not exceeding 30 minutes.
- Ensure your bed is firm and comfortable with one or two soft pillows to support your neck.
- For the smoothest facial skin, opt for silk or satin pillows which will smooth out facial lines and wrinkles while you sleep.
- Get rid of electronic gadgets (computers, music systems and TVs) which may emit harmful radiation. Bedrooms are for resting, sleeping and making love.
- Give yourself a break from all the modern day distractions such as late night TV programmes, internet and social media activities.
- Keep your bedroom quiet. Ban ticking clocks and if in a noisy environment, keep the windows closed or wear ear plugs.
- Ensure your sleep area is well ventilated. Keep bedroom temperatures around 18-22 degrees C (64-72 F).
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes in bed. Wear loose night dresses or nothing.
- Aim to be in bed by 10pm at least thrice a week.
- Avoid stressful mental activity in the hour’s right before bedtime, engage in something relaxing like reading a good book, having an enjoyable conversation or listening to some soothing music.
- Practice simple relaxation or meditation exercises.
- For dry and aged skin, a night cream will provide good hydration and repair damage while you sleep.