10 Factors That Influence Skin: 1. Sleep
10 Factors That Influence Skin: Getting Better (Beauty) Sleep
No amount of topical or external treatments can maintain long lasting results if skin isn’t being supported by whole body health from the inside out.
In this series we will be taking a holistic look at the 10 factors that influence skin…
Its no mystery that the quality and amount of sleep we get has a direct impact on our appearance. From regulating hormones to repair, there is a whole host of activities that need to happen while we sleep. Getting regular, good quality rest is paramount to looking and feeling our best.
The following are some tips and tricks for getting better sleep.
Set Your Rhythm
At least Monday–Friday, the ideal is to go to bed and wake up at the same time.
You need to give your body a chance to establish and follow a rhythm. “Irregular lifestyle” has long been considered one of the causes of disease in Chinese Medicine and there is plenty of current research to support this concept. It’s hard to wake refreshed if your body never knows when it will be going to bed or waking. Clearly, if you have rotating shift work this will be difficult, but it is still helpful to set up a routine as much as possible.
Establish what hour you need to wake up and subtract 7.5-9 hrs to figure out when you should aim to be asleep by. Remember, the sleep we get before midnight is pure gold. The majority of the body’s repair work is done in the first and deepest phase of sleep. Falling asleep by 10pm or 11pm will have a big impact on how rested you feel in the morning.
Keep practicing these hours until they become your body’s natural rhythm. It will happen faster than you think!
Set A Bedtime Alarm
It takes time to establish new routines and habits so it can be helpful to have some external cues. Once you know what time you would ideally fall asleep by, set an alarm 30-60 minutes before hand to signal that it is time to power down and get ready for bed.
At least 30 minutes before sleep (ideally longer), you should no longer be exposed to light. This includes bedroom lights, computer screens, phones etc. Studies show that regular electric light significantly suppresses our sleep hormone melatonin and can delay our body’s perception of nighttime and sleep cycles by a whole 90 minutes. Blue light from a device screen is even more potent and could shift your circadian rhythm by up to 3hrs.
- Get those blackout curtains or that eye mask if ambient light comes into your bedroom
- Set your cell phone to automatically go into Night Shift mode (I set mine from 6pm-6am), which, will set your display to a warmer, less blue light
- If you or your partner likes to read before bed, try using a red light headlamp which is less disruptive to melatonin levels
Avoid Just Staring at the Ceiling
When establishing a new bedtime you might be worried about lying there bored in the dark or feeling stressed about trying to sleep and not being able to. Engaging your mind in the right way can actually help transition into the randomized, imaginative thought patterns that happen as you drift off. You can try this mind shuffle, a technique designed by a local professor at SFU that has been gaining recognition lately. Many people also find that listening to a guided meditation or sleep hypnosis with headphones helps corral that busy mind so they can stop going over the day and quiet down into a restful state.
It can also be helpful to write down all of those “to dos” or thoughts that keep your mind going before you crawl into bed.
Acupuncture and Herbal Formulas Can Help with Insomnia
A systematic review of 46 randomized trials involving 3811 patients concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for insomnia and that acupuncture in combination with herbs was even better. An ongoing and a growing body of research continues to support Chinese Medicine as a safe treatment option for insomnia. To try this approach with an experienced and licensed professional, feel free to call Acubalance Wellness Centre at 604.678.8600 to book an appointment
Anxious about needles? You can read my blog that answers the question “Does Acupuncture Hurt?”
Sweet dreams and stay tuned for more factors that influence skin!