We have night time skincare routines and morning skincare routines.
In between, we sleep. Are all three processes being coordinated? And can they be complimentary, for visible effect?
What Is Sleep?
Our bodies require sleep in order to maintain proper function and health. In actual fact we're programmed to sleep each night as a means of restoring our bodies and minds. It is an imperative design function built into the human condition.
There's a rapidly increasing body of research proving that quality sleep is crucial to both skin health and your overall health.
There's a whole new field opening up on it.
Psychodermatology is a relatively new field that provides link between psychiatry and dermatology. Very interesting.
Because your brain has a major influence over what comes up on your complexion.
Your body clock also influences your complexion and can be managed.
When the sun goes down, your "circadian rhythms" switch your mind and body into a regeneration mode.
And we're learning that it doesn't happen automatically. Creating the right mindset is key to getting quality sleep at night.
This isn't a quick fix, but it will
- Respond to better patterns
- Save you money on multiple skincare efforts.
- Make your skin's 'brightness' cycle peak around 10am!
Sleep is the time when your body repairs itself. This is just as true for your epidermis as it is for your brain or your muscles.
Here's a few of the amazing things that happen during sleep:
- your skin’s blood flow increases.
- your skin rebuilds its collagen.
- More collagen means skin is plumper and less likely to wrinkle.
- Melatonin, known for its antioxidant anti-aging benefits is produced.
- Your skin repairs damage from UV exposure.
- Your skin does its best to reduce wrinkles and age spots.
But to get the greatest benefits from sleep, you must prepare for it!
Establish your own relaxing bedtime ritual.
Needn't take long. Begin by moving into a softly lit area. Check into your gratitude routine. Deliberately smile as you think of three things that went well.
Then do 3 or 4 minutes of deep, slow breathing. Even a few inhales and exhales can calm your nervous system. Place a hand on your lower belly and feel it rise and fall as you breathe in for a count of three, and then breathe out for another count of three. Repeat this cycle five times.
And ideally, you will control what you think about while you're doing it - just being present, and grateful.
(With practice, you can actually slow down to 6 or 7 breaths a minute, but that's heading into a meditation training discussion!)
It has been claimed (probably for millenia - "In peace will I both lay me down and sleep…"), that the last 5 minutes before you go to sleep hugely influences your life because, as we move from waking consciousness to sleep, moving down through the various brain wave states, the subconscious mind is alert and highly impressionable.
Remember that "we get more of what we focus on".
Which means, whatever you visualise before you fall asleep is readily assimilated by your subconscious mind as truth, so you need to make sure it's something positive!
And if your focus through that process is the crap things that annoyed you or disasters that befell your world, or some ugly violent thing you saw in a movie - that won't help your sleep deliver a radiant, joyful complexion in the morning!
Interesting point here is that apparently going to sleep is no proof that you've relaxed! Which is what "progressive muscle relaxation" claims to address.
During progressive muscle relaxation, you focus on each muscle group in your body from your toes to your jaws, tensing selected muscles for a few seconds and then slowly relaxing them over the course of 20 to 30 seconds.
Well, that's a lot to work on, and you're probably already including a lot of it already.
But establishing these wind-down routines can help you get far more value out of your favourite night cream and morning routines!