Sleeping Beauty: How to Sleep for Healthy Skin
I have never been able to sleep. Since childhood, nightmares and light, toss-and-turn sleeping have conspired to keep me awake, but it's not insomnia; I can fall asleep almost standing up, but I can't stay that way. Fast-forward to motherhood and the state of hyper-alertness that can plague even the most relaxed mom, and the problem only became worse: attuned to the slightest noise, I'd wake up commando-style, fully alert and with feet on the floor, multiple times a night. Even an overnight sleep study at the hospital didn't help (diagnosis PTSD, which has no easy fix). Turns out all this waking up was not only leaving me a groggy, irritable beast, it was bad for my skin.
Why sleep is so important for skin health
You've heard it before and you'll hear it again: Inflammation is the body's enemy. Every ingredient we use at SaltZ&Co is, in one way or another, anti-inflammatory, because inflammation is at the root of so many chronic diseases (especially those that fall into the auto-immune category). When you don't sleep, your body produces more stress hormones, which lead to increased skin inflammation. If this makes you think 'puffy eye syndrome' you're right, but it's even worse news for people with skin conditions that cause itching; stress hormones worsen these conditions, leading to more itching overnight and even less sleep, setting up a vicious cycle like the one I was in for so many years with chronic urticaria.
Sleep keeps you younger
As if inflammation weren't bad enough, it turns out that poor sleep actually accelerates the aging process. Coincidentally, sleep problems tend to increase with age, leading to yet another vicious cycle. Grrrreaattttt. How this works is that those aforementioned stress hormones break down collagen, lead to increased hunger so you're more likely to snack on unhealthy foods that eventually show up on your skin, and causes hydration problems. If you're thinking 'haggard and worn down look' you'd be right.
How to get a better night's sleep
The good news is you can sleep better and regain that healthy glow, no matter how many nights Netflix has kept you up - and you won't have to look like The Walking Dead in the morning.
Once again Buzzfeed has done it much better than I could (hey, they have actual SCIENCE on Buzzfeed now!) so here are some amazing sleep hacks you can use to fall asleep and stay asleep. I pretty much break a lot of these rules and it's no mystery to me overall why I don't sleep better. When I absolutely have to sleep, I medicate, which isn't recommended, but then neither is being up at 3 a.m. making bath bombs and then walking around like a zombie all day. But that doesn't mean YOU have to suffer sleeplessness! If poor sleep is an occasional problem, try a couple of spritzes of lavender spray on your pillow, take a long relaxing bath, and get ready to meet the Sandman - the nice one who's going to send you a dream.
Here's to getting your beauty sleep for healthy skin! If you need me, I'll be napping :)