This week at Neal’s Yard Remedies we are focusing on the beauty of sleep. So why is sleep so important? Can it affect your skin? How can a lack of sleep disturb your well being?
Sleep has so many benefits.
Yes, it makes you feel better but its importance goes beyond boosting your mood and getting rid of your dark under eye circles.
Good sleep is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and it can affect your heart, weight, mind and so much more.
Once your body is used to a consistent, healthy sleeping rhythm it will show many great benefits such as improvements to your memory, sharpened attention and lowered stress.
If you’re struggling to learn a new skill or figure out a problem, sleep could be your answer! During deep sleep, our brain can replay memory sequences (exercises for learning new skills) we use while awake, but about 20 times faster. “Sleep is the greatest legal performance-enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting,” says neuroscientist Dr Matthew Walker. Even Thomas Edison used sleep as a vital tool for creativity because he could often find new solutions to previously unsolvable problems after a good sleep.
So, how can we reap all of these benefits and get the most out of our night’s sleep?
Well, the obvious answer is getting just the right amount of sleep, but what if you have difficulties getting that sleep or in some cases, getting too much? Here are some ways you can improve your bedtime routine.
Avoid all blue light (phones, computers, you know all the tech stuff) at least an hour before bed because one hour of blue light exposure before bed will delay the onset of melatonin production, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, by about 3 hours. If you have to burn the midnight oil and work on a computer until the wee hours, then an alternative for this is using red light. You can buy red spectrum bulbs, which minimize blue light wavelengths and maximize red ones. You can be immersed in red light at night without giving your body a jolt and altering your internal clock like blue light If you use a smartphone, go into the settings menu and change your display brightness.
Another method to improve nighttime sleep is by ceasing those beloved day naps and irregular wake up times. These bad habits aren’t letting your body adjust to a sleeping schedule, thus making you stressed and unable to get that full, deep sleep at night. Try waking up and going to bed at consistent times, you’ll be amazed by how after a while, your body will be your own personal alarm (of course, minus the annoying beeping noise).
Take a nice long relaxing bath infused with Lavender Bath Salts or organic bath oils. This not only relaxes you but it also leaves you feeling refreshed! After that hot bath (or shower) you can follow with a body lotion such as our Beauty Sleep Body Butter which contains an aroma-therapeutic blend of essential oils to calm the mind and enhance a restful sleep, then tone your face, apply our Beauty Sleep Concentrate which supports your skin’s natural nighttime regeneration, and finally apply a good night cream (may we suggest Frankincense Intense Cream? Frankincense essential oil is a lovely complement to a natural sleep routine, and in addition our Frankincense Intense Cream has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, firm, tone, boost skin’s suppleness and instantly hydrate).
- Avoid all caffeine products at least 6 hours before bed. Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood 6-8 hours after consuming. This stimulates your nervous system and therefore does not let your body relax. If you tend to drink caffeine after 4:00pm, try switching to decaffeinated alternatives. It may not be so fun at first but trust us, your body will thank you!
- Don’t drink too many liquids before bed (to avoid nighttime bathroom visits) and try not to eat at least an hour before going to sleep. Your body needs time to digest, especially those big yummy meals. This requires energy and energy is the last thing you want when you're about to snooze.
- Scents are one of the biggest influencers when it comes to the human body. Essential oils such as lavender, ylang-ylang, frankincense and others can help relax your mind and body. You can use essential oils in a diffuser. A diffuser has many great benefits, it will disperse the smell and effects of the oils.
These are just a few tips to help you get that full wonderful sleep. At Neal’s Yard Remedies we try to find the most healthy and natural ways to help our bodies get through life.