We know good night’s sleep is key to well-being, but, says Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith, it plays a key role in your complexion, too
There’s a certain wisdom in the term Beauty Sleep. Friday explains.
TThe great comedienne and actress Betty White once said: ‘Get at least 8 hours of beauty sleep. 9 if you’re ugly.’ The sentiment is harsh, but then ‘beauty sleep’ is more than just a flippant phrase. There is truth behind the notion that while we sleep, things are happening to our skin so that when we wake in the morning it looks better than before. But what is actually going on in our skin while we slumber away?
Firstly, our skin cells repair the damage that’s been done in the day when they’ve desperately been trying to protect the skin from everything it’s been exposed to – UV rays, pollution and poor diet. ‘As the body settles into the deepest stage of rest, growth hormones stimulate cell and tissue repair,’ explains LA-based dermatologist Dr Harold Lancer. ‘Without enough deep sleep, the repair process of your skin will be slow, resulting in ageing.’
Our skin doesn’t have to focus on anything other than healing, as it’s not being exposed to the elements. When these things happen during the day, our body naturally creates adrenaline and cortisone (the stress hormone) as a natural defence, but at night, levels of these drop, allowing our body to produce a growth hormone instead and that’s when the skin starts repairing and rehydrating itself.
However, these things are all reliant on getting a good night’s sleep. If not, then the levels of cortisol and adrenaline remain high, preventing growth hormones from helping your skin repair. It also has a knock-on effect on your blood flow. During a good night’s sleep your body’s nervous system switches into a parasympathetic state – also sometimes known as the rest and digest system. In this mode, the heart rate slows down, and your body’s ability to flush out toxins and excess water improves. It also increases flow of blood and oxygen to the skin. This is important. ‘When your body is in this state, your skin’s receptors spring to life; the blood vessels grab amino acid molecules to help build more collagen and can deliver them more efficiently around the body and at the same time toxins are drained away,’ explains Dr Ellen Marmur, a New York-based dermatologist. If your body can’t get itself into a parasympathetic state then none of these things happen. You’ll know you’ve missed out you if you feel tired in the morning; a key marker is puffy eyes, as the body hasn’t flushed out excess fluid.
How can beauty products help? There is a two-pronged approach you can take. First, use products containing ingredients that help you get good sleep. Second, use products enriched with skin-boosting ingredients, which work hard while you sleep.
Read on to find out all that you’ll need to get into the land of nod and the skin wonders you’ll need when you get there.
‘Without enough deep sleep, the repair process of your skin will be slowed, resulting in ageing.’
Bathe with: Elemental Herbology Water Soothe Bath & Body Oil, Dh202 Studies show taking a warm bath at least 90 minutes before bedtime can help with a better night’s sleep. ‘Body temperature plays a vital role in regulating circadian rhythm, which tells the body when to fall asleep and when to stay alert. During the day, body temperature naturally rises, when it starts to cool its a sign that we’re supposed to go to sleep,’ says Dr Dianne Augelli, a New Yorkbased sleep expert. By taking a bath and getting warm before bed, your internal temperature falls, and a good night’s sleep will be yours. To help even more, fill your bath with four pumps of this elixir, infused with lavender and ylang ylang, which help clear your mind, and rose, to reduce stress. Use it in the shower if you’re not a bath person. Slather on: This Works Sleep Plus Dream Body, Dh125 This gorgeous, rich body cream is packed with This Works’ award-winning, sleepinducing formula. You’ll find lavender, camphor and camomile – all of which help calm you down, but the absolute winner is vetivert, which is what really helps send you off into a deep sleep. Apply all over, particularly to your chest, backs of wrists, arms and anywhere else that is in close proximity to your nose whilst you sleep so the vapour can rise up and work its magic. Relax with: Jo Malone London Lavender & Lovage Home Candle, Dh300 Whilst we don’t recommend going to sleep with a burning candle, light one whilst you’re relaxing in the bath or reading in bed. Not only will the essential oils – this contains lavender, rosemary and thyme – help calm and relax you but there’s nothing more soothing and de-stressing than candlelight.
SLEEPING SKIN SAVIOURS
Dior Hydra Life Jelly Sleeping Mask, Dh405 If you find your skin suffocates under the richness of most night creams, then this is for you. Dior has taken inspiration from Korean science to create a light, jelly cream that dissolves into water upon contact with the skin. It contains everything your skin needs – hyaluronic acid to keep it hydrated, a mallow extract that plumps it up and that clever Eastern science that keeps the ingredients infusing into your skin for 8 hours. GlamGow Dream Duo, Dh320 This skin duo contains everything your skin needs to look plump, awake and alert the next day – ideal for those that burn the candle at both ends and best to take travelling with you to pep up jet-lagged skin. Start by applying the pearlised coloured serum that’s filled with antioxidants such as green coffee and green tea leaf – they will take care of repairing the cell damage from the day. Let that sink in for 30 seconds and then apply a layer of the grey-coloured seal, a hyaluronicfilled gel-cream that hydrates and plumps. Guerlain Abeille Orchidée Impériale The Eye and Lip Cream, Dh895 It’s best to use a separate eye cream to night cream, as they tend to have a lighter consistency and therefore are absorbed more easily by the very thin and delicate skin under the eyes. Anything too heavy will leave your eyes looking puffy, which is not what you want after all this dedication to looking a million dollars after a night’s sleep. This eye cream from Guerlain contains unique gold orchid technology – an amazing ingredient that harnesses the orchid’s ability to renew itself and mimics that in the skin’s cells. It has also firms up the skin and boosts luminosity making it worth every dirham. Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream, Dh380 When you know that this cream contains Californian poppy extract – a flower that closes up at night to regenerate itself so that it looks just as wondrous the next day – you get an idea of what this cream can do to your complexion. Perhaps more of a traditional night cream in that it has a slightly richer texture and consistency thanks to the shea butter, this cream gets soaked up by the skin but doesn’t leave it feeling greasy. Plus, it comes with the most gorgeous scent of jasmine and freesia.
By taking a BATH and getting WARM before bed, your INTERNAL temperature falls, and a GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP will be yours.