How many times have you heard the expression, get some beauty sleep? And how much thought have you given it? It’s one of those things people say, without paying it too much attention. Yes, we all know the power of a good night’s sleep.
Many of us are aware of our problematic relationship with sleep in recent times. The negative effect of blue light for example. But did you know that sleep can revitalise and restore us in so many ways, from our health to our physical appearance?
What is beauty sleep?
It begs the question, is beauty sleep a real thing? Is there a link between our physical appearance and sleep?
Studies show us that sleep deprivation can affect our physical appearance, with things like red and swollen eyes, drooping corners at the mouth, and paler skin all being linked to a lack of sleep.
To add fuel to the fire, there have also been studies into people’s perceptions of those who are sleep deprived. So, while you may be looking at yourself in the mirror and feeling bad about your reflection, you may be wondering whether others have noticed your tiredness. The verdict is that we naturally shy away from anyone who looks less than healthy. And that includes people who look tired. Ouch!
What are the benefits of sleep?
Now, if this so far has simply confirmed your fears, rest assured, there are positive things on the way! Whether you’ve looked into facts and figures, you probably already know that you want to look well-rested and healthy. Who doesn’t!
If you have trouble sleeping, the last thing you need is more things to worry about. But bear with us as we turn to science again, just for a moment. Because it’s not just about how we look, it’s about how we feel inside and out.
It’s worth remembering that sleep is essential to our survival. It enables our bodies to recuperate and repair, helping everything from your heart to your stress levels. It reduces inflammation, increases alertness, and improves your memory. And the list doesn’t end there.
What sleep does to your mind
Already we can see how sleep can benefit us in so many ways, but while we’re edging onto the topic of mental health, it’s worth delving into the why behind the power of a restful night’s sleep.
Generally speaking, our bodies are passive while we sleep, but the mind is not. Back to the old science part. Because as this excellent article in Psychology Today highlights, the brain creates an awful mess with all its thinking and problem solving while you’re awake.
When you’re asleep, your brain is very active, and it is quite literally cleaning the decks, flushing out toxins and “picking up beneficial molecules and nutrients.” It gives you a fresh head, if you pardon the expression, to begin again the following day.
Understanding our sleep
If you’re stressed it can be even harder to get to sleep and stay asleep. This alone can be frustrating, and your sleep may start feeling like a problem to be solved. But, although this may feel overwhelming, especially if you’re tired and stressed, it’s important to remember first and foremost, that you’re not alone.
Sometimes simple sleep hygiene tips like keeping the room dark and cool are all you need. A relaxing scent like lavender can help, as can doing some exercise during the day. All these things can be considered as basic tips for a peaceful sleep, and they are easy to implement. And as we know from our podcast with Anandi consistency is the best thing you can have in your toolkit.
Steps like creating a tranquil bedroom, and keeping a simple, consistent routine are all you need to start on the right path. And why is this? If we take it back to our brains, we know that we have different types of brainwaves.
They range from gamma, which is the fastest, and it happens when we’re intensely concentrating, to delta, which dominates when we’re in restful sleep. Although studies are limited, there is some evidence to show that certain things can help us reach a meditative state, tuning into the slower brain waves, and better prepare ourselves for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Similarly, Anandi talks about the importance of breath and how it can transform our state of mind. Something as simple as taking a seat on the edge of a bed or a chair, putting our hands on our belly to feel our breath moving, and taking time to connect with that feeling can be a useful way to bookend the day to create calm and focus.
A calm space before bed
We know. It’s easy to say all this stuff, but are there other tips for a deep sleep at night? Is the pressure on now you know just how vital it is?
Please no! It’s important to remember that a bad night’s sleep is not the end of the world. In the same breath, it’s not an insurmountable problem. Just a quick listen to our inspiring podcast with sleep guru, Anandi will show you that.
For now, it’s worth noting that there are some easy and reliable ways to get a good night’s sleep. Here are just some sleep wellness tips to try:
- Creating a calming space before you sleep
- Limiting screen time before bedtime
- Taking a warm bath
- Trying mindfulness
- Doing a relaxing activity, like yoga
All these things are known to help people relax. Of course, what works for someone may not work for others. And here’s one to lighten to mood before we leave you. Another common theory is to sleep naked! And yes, there is research to back up the idea that this helps us sleep better. But again, going by this alone is probably not foolproof. But if you’re feeling brave, it’s certainly worth a try!