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Are these three sleep habits affecting your skin?
Hey, you, are you getting enough sleep each night?
You might be thinking “who is ever getting enough sleep?!” right now but you might be surprised at how those lack of zzz’s is impacting your skin.
There are so many reasons why people aren’t getting enough sleep these days and let’s be honest, the past year hasn’t done us any favours. For starters, our day-to-day lives are high pressure like generations before have never experienced. The mental load of feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, and anxious are sadly the new normal for many. When we add social media into the mix, our brain is in hyperdrive even when our head has hit the pillow at night.
Studies have shown that improving our sleep habits has a seriously positive impact on not just our quality of sleep but our mental health. We’re able to navigate the world more clearly and support our emotional and mental health much better. It’s also shows considerable improvements to the skin, its immunity, responsiveness, and youthfulness. Yes, our skin!
What many don’t consider is the impact poor sleep habits have on the skin. Our body’s largest organ, the skin uses our snooze time as an opportunity to regenerate itself. When we’re not getting the optimal hours of sleep, the skin is missing out on that precious time to restore, repair and rejuvenate.
Take a look at three of the most common signs that your sleep is definitely affecting your skin and how to fix them.
You’re waking up with breakouts and congestion
Two of the biggest contributors to unwanted breakouts and congestion, such as blackheads, are not properly cleansing at night and not regularly changing your bedding. Luckily, these are two very easy sleep habits to fix!
Even if you’re not a makeup wearer, you need to be cleansing your skin at night. If you’re using the best natural skincare for your skin but still finding you’re breaking out, it’s important to look at whether you’re properly cleansing your skin before applying them. If you’re not, the days grime and impurities are still on the skin and will continue to clog pores and leave oil with nowhere to go but hang out on your skin.
Cleansing at night is like a ‘thank you’ to your skin for another hard day’s work. It removes the dirt, sweat and oil that has found its way onto your skin throughout the day as well as remove the likes of foundation and SPF. By removing all these impurities, your evening skincare products are given a fair chance too! If they don’t have a clean canvas to work with, they’re unable to work at their optimal level which is where cleansing is of utmost importance.
Be honest with yourself, when was the last time you changed your pillowcases? If you can’t recall, it’s definitely time to do so. In addition to proper cleansing, changing your pillowcases regularly is a simple way to improve your skin-loving sleep habit. Even the most thoroughly cleansed and treated skin cannot overcome the bacteria and dirt living on a dirty pillowcase. Each night that you lay on your pillowcase, that grime is undoubtedly ending up on your skin. Those that don’t regularly change their pillowcases can expect that daily build-up to be a huge contributor to their breakout frustration.
Fortunately, the fix couldn’t be simpler. Pair your freshly clean face with a freshly washed pillowcase!
You’re going to bed feeling anxious and stressed
We’ve all been there to experience the tossing, turning and sleepless nights as our brain runs through every possible outcome to the event that’s stressing us out. Stress has such a profound impact on the skin. From exacerbating inflammation, hindering healing to of course, the odd breakout or two, the way we’re feeling inside truly shows up on the outside.
Whilst we don’t have the cure to unwanted stress (believe us, if we did, we’d be shouting it from the rooftops) but what we do have is sleep habits you can implement to calm the mind and body before bed to support positive intentions and a restful sleep.
The first is prioritising a shower or bath before bed. The warmth of the water paired with your favourite aromatherapy body wash or bath salts allows you to take a moment away from the outside world and just be. Use this evening ritual to reflect on your day and practice some deep breathing exercises before preparing for bed. What you may not realise is that the benefits of a warm shower or bath continue once you step out. Following this time, your body temperature drops quite quickly which evokes feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
Pair your warm, sleep-inducing shower or bath with some quick journaling. Many avoid the idea of journaling because they think they need to write a novel-length reflection but really, it can be as much or as little as you need. Writing things down, from how you’re feeling, things that happened during the day or even a list of things you need to do tomorrow help get those thoughts out of your brain and onto paper where they wait until tomorrow. Journaling is proven to reduce your mental load before bed and allows you to get things off your chest and not stuck in your mind at 2am.
You’re experiencing unexpected fine lines, pigmentation and undereye bags
Okay get ready because we’ve left the one closest to a real-life nightmare until last – the impact of blue light.
It’s no secret that we’re all a little obsessed with our devices, especially when it comes to those late-night scrolling habits. Late night scrolling hinders a good night sleep for a few reasons. The first is that it’s leaving your mind to run wild as it’s been overly stimulated – especially if you’ve been watching TikTok’s for a few hours. This leaves us susceptible to wild dreams and nightmares!
The next, and more skin-impacting effect scrolling has is the emission of blue light. Blue light plays with our body’s internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. This internal clock is what’s responsible for our skin knowing what time it is and therefore, when it’s appropriate to perform in certain ways, such as regenerating itself. When we’re up till late hours scrolling in the dark, it makes our circadian rhythm think it’s not night-time and therefore, the skin doesn’t need to work as hard as it’s meant to during those rest hours.
As a result, the likes of pigmentation, fine lines and bags and puffiness under the eyes begin to appear. The skin has thought, “well they’ve been scrolling for the past few hours, it must be daylight!” and doesn’t go into repair and regeneration mode like it’s meant to therefore, leaving your skin susceptible to accelerated ageing and damage. Yep, pretty scary, right?!
The simple solution is to set boundaries with your technology and decide on a time that you’re putting your devices away for the night. This could be before you jump into that relaxation shower or bath to allow that to be step one of your good sleep habit routine.