How Does Sleep Affect Your Skin?

sleepskin

According to new research, the average Brit regularly survives on less than six hours of sleep a night. Most of us are well-versed with the implications of not getting sufficient sleep, including daytime fatigue, irritability and a shorter concentration span. Studies have also solidified the link the between a lack of sleep and weight gain. The impact on our skin is rarely talked about.

The quality and duration of sleep can have a profound effect on the health of our skin. When we sleep our bodies recharge but so does our skin. While we sleep our body goes into repair-mode and heals, restores and eliminates toxins from our skin. It gives the term ‘beauty sleep’ a whole new meaning.

How does a lack of sleep affect skin’s appearance?

Dull-looking skin: A lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels, which in turn increases inflammation in your body. Inflammation is one of the biggest underlying skin issues and if it’s constant can lead to pigmentation, increased sensitivity, rosacea and premature ageing.

Cortisol breaks down the proteins that keep your skin smooth and radiant. It is the flight or fight hormone and it sends blood to your muscles rather than to your skin. This deprives your skin of oxygen and vital nutrients, which leaves it looking dull, ashy and blotchy.

Incorporating massage into your skincare routine when you cleanse with your fingers or a tool, such as Beauty Restorer, will help boost your circulation and ease this inflammation.

Dry skin: The increased inflammation due to the cortisol can also break down the tiny lipids, known as ceramides, which hold the skin cells together and create a protective layer to retain nutrients and water. This break down can result in the dehydration, which can lead to dryness.

Your body also works to rehydrate and balance moisture levels whilst you sleep, but this can falter if you’re not getting enough sleep. Replenishing your body’s hyaluronic acid levels with supplements and a serum will help fend off dry skin if you’re unable to get a full night’s sleep regularly.

Puffy eyes and dark circles: As mentioned previously, water balance occurs whilst your sleep so cutting this sleep time could result in puffy eyes and perhaps even a slightly puffed up body (water retention). Dark circles may also be associated with a lack of sleep because the dilation of the blood vessels in the under-eye area can result in deeper tint. In darker complexions this is more pronounced since you already have more pigment.

It sounds simple, but using a cold teabag on the area does work for some because the tannic acids in tea encourages the blood vessels to shrink. However, the real thing it to get a sufficient night’s sleep!

Ageing skin: We have already touched on this, but the increased levels of cortisol leads to inflammation, which in turn breaks down the bonds that form collagen. It is the collagen in your skin that maintains the structure and elasticity, which gives it that supple plumpness. With the loss of collagen skin becomes thinner, less firmer, less smoother and gradually wrinkles become more prominent. 

Hair: There is a direct correlation between stress and the onset of hair loss. Cortisol causes inflammation in the whole body, including the hair follicles where all the process of keratin manufacture occurs. A lack of sleep is the most ruthless form of stress to the body and can result in premature hair loss.

With the help of fulvic acid, which supercharges your cellular energy, the Ful.Vic.Health range can help alleviate this somewhat. But as I have mentioned, targeting the underlying sleep issue is the best preventative approach. For more advice on this, read Signs and Symptons of Sleep Loss.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

shutterstock_167961569

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also referred to as SAD, is a condition that affects over half a million people in the UK. This condition impacts upon the mental well-being of people during the winter months particularly during January and February when the days begin to shorten. If you tend to feel really down during winter or find it hard to get going during the winter months, you may think that this is a natural reaction to the cold and dark days, but you may actually be suffering from SAD.

Sufferers of SAD often experience low mood, varied degree of depression, loss of energy, sleep problems, irritability, increased appetite, strong cravings for carbohydrates and sweet foods as well as headaches and muscle pain. The defining characteristics of SAD are that the symptoms return annually and go away during other seasons. Read More…

Why does our teenage daughter self-harm?

iron

Q: We think our previously happy 14-year-old daughter is self-harming. She seems to be pulling out her hair and has several grazes on her body. We don’t know what to do.

A: You are not alone: this is a growing problem in the UK and affects at least one in 15 young people, both boys and girls, according to Jane Smith, author of The Parent’s Guide to Self-Harm (Lion Hudson, £7.99*), which I suggest you read. The average age of onset is 12 years but some hospital admissions have been for children under ten. The majority never receive professional care so the burden falls on family and friends.

Many young people who self-harm come from stable, loving homes. Jane, whose two daughters were affected, says, ‘Finding out that the child you love feels driven to hurt themselves in secret comes as a huge shock; it’s heart-breaking.’

There is a wide range of severity. Self-harming can be minor and short-lived but it may also become addictive and serious. Read More…

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of … Cherries

1197407_67582534

A middle-aged friend who’s suffered long-term insomnia reports good results from a natural remedy based on Montmorency cherries. CherryActive capsules contain natural melatonin, the sleep hormone. Adding CherryActive to her existing strategies (not drinking caffeinated drinks after midday, a light supper without alcohol) has given her the best nights’ sleep she’s had for five years. Plus she’s much less anxious. CherryActive capsules, which are supported by experts including Dr Jason Ellis of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research, cost £12.95 for 30 (dose one to two before bed) Read More…

Breathe Slowly Breathe Deep To Fight Fatigue

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Q Like most 30-something working mums, I’m often anxious. I don’t sleep well, can’t always concentrate and yawn a lot. My GP just says I’m tired but is there something else wrong?

A As well as the demands on your time, a significant factor in your anxiety and tiredness may be over-breathing, or chronic hyperventilation syndrome (CHVS). Although your symptoms seem unrelated, they are typical of CHVS. Sufferers also report feeling bloated, experiencing dizziness and nightmares.

Respiratory physiotherapist Dinah Bradley says ‘this breathing disorder may affect as many as one in ten people. But although it’s implicated in a wide range of health problems, CHVS remains widely undiagnosed’. Respiratory expert Dr Mike Thomas of Aberdeen University says ‘the biggest problem is a lack of reliable information’, and recommends Bradley’s book Hyperventilation Syndrome (Kyle Books, £6.99). Read More…