We spend on average around a third of our lives asleep.
Yup, doesn’t feel like that much, does it?
It is a troubling reflection on modern society that so many of us regularly fail to get the recommended rest. A recent study by insurance group Direct Line, revealed that around 14% (that’s estimated to be around 7.5million) of British people sleep for 5 hours or less, indeed it is believed around 70% don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours regularly. The study revealed that the average UK adult sleeps around 6 hours 24 minutes a night, short of the recommended 7+ hours for optimal health and wellbeing.
Interestingly, there is a broad awareness that we need more sleep, but the fear of missing out is an obstacle that often needs to be overcome to optimise the health-giving benefits of regular sleep.
Beauty sleep really is science not fiction.
The rhythm of life
Our bodies are coordinated by an internal 24-hour cycle that synchronises all the physiological, behavioural and metabolic functions of the body. Circadian Rhythms regulate hormone levels, body temperature, blood pressure, appetite and sleep patterns. This delicate orchestration of our internal balance can be affected by lifestyle, shifts in routine, location, diet, stress…all of which impact health and wellbeing.
One of our key Circadian Rhythms is the sleep-awake cycle that is triggered through light changes in our environment. When we sleep, our bodies switch from protective to reparative mode. It is during this phase that vital biological balances and resources are replenished following the relentless onslaught of daily environmental and lifestyle aggressors.
The Circadian sleep cycle begins from 9pm onwards, when the hormone Melatonin, responsible for sleep; begins to be released in the body to trigger DNA and cellular repair, particularly to key to cellular rejuvenation and skin health.
Melatonin: The “light of night”
Secreted from the pineal gland predominantly as night falls, this “sleep-maker” hormone is stimulated by darkness and is suppressed, or inhibited by light. As the evening deepens, Melatonin levels continue to rise, peaking between 2 and 4am.
Naturally produced Melatonin is a key hormone for skin cell health; a powerful antioxidant, it helps neutralise the effects of UV-induced damage that can cause inflammatory responses that contribute to wrinkle formation, loss of tonicity and hyperpigmentation. Research has determined that including topically applied Melatonin, can support the reduction of some of the signs of skin ageing.
Skin never sleeps
While you sleep, your body slows down many biological functions, but your skin continues to work harder than ever, with cellular renewal peaking around 11-12 midnight.
Our skin becomes warmer and more permeable at night, presenting an optimal time to deliver potent skin nutrition. However, TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) can also become heightened as a result, so it is imperative to nourish skin with ingredients that support cellular renewal, collagen synthesis and maintain hydration to lock in these actives.
Sleeplessness and skin.
If our sleep patterns become chronically depleted in quality, it is swift to show in our mood, functionality, general health, mind-set and of course, our appearance.
Skin health suffers quickly with poor sleep patterns as insufficient opportunity for repair and rejuvenation leaves skin lacking vitality. When cellular turnover is impaired; the complexion will begin to appear dull, textured and prone to breakouts. With an impaired barrier function, dehydration will become inevitable and inflammatory responses will impact the formation of collagen and elastin, leaving skin tonicity slackened.
Harvard researchers have identified that after only 1 day of sleep restriction, hydration was significantly affected along with the increased emphasis of wrinkles, dullness, dehydration, impaired barrier function and loss of skin contour. This was particularly evident among candidates who regularly had a bedtime of 11pm onwards.
A key contributor of modern life to sleep interference, is the prominence of blue light. Emitted from our devices, during daylight and working hours, blue light is used to help boost attention and reactions, however, exposure in the period of “wind down” prior to sleep, can lead to significant disruption to sleep quality.
Blue light suppresses Melatonin, affecting our ability to ready ourselves for quality sleep. Harvard researchers have identified that blue light shifted the Circadian Rhythm by twice as much (3 hours) to comparable green light brightness.
Admit it, we’ve all been in bed, unable to drift off and thought – “I’ll just have a quick scroll…” unwittingly causing more disruption to sleep for the night.
So, what can we do to improve the potential of our sleep, to optimise our general wellbeing and boost our skin vitality?
Dream Skin: Regenerate Restore and Resuscitate
Creating an unapologetic relationship with your self-care, acknowledging the need for habits and rituals of well-being, is key to setting boundaries to protect the quality of your sleep:
Unplug: Avoid using blue light devices for 2 hours prior to sleep.
Cleanse: Complete skin cleansing and apply active rich skincare by 9pm to optimise skin bioavailability.
Cellular Repair: With absorption heightened at night, use exfoliation actives to optimise cellular renewal overnight. Actives such as AHAs and retinol alternative Bakuchiol will help support healthy skin cell turnover and achieve a revitalised complexion. Olverum Pure Radiance Face Oil helps firm, smooth and brighten the skin, while supporting a resilient skin barrier function.
Hydrate: To counter the impact of overnight TEWL; it is critical to ensure a routine that nourishes the skin barrier, boosts hydration and keeps actives locked in to optimise their efficacy.
Serenity: Create a soothing environment for your rest, establishing positive associations through the rituals of aromatherapy and aromachology. Olverum Restful Sleep Pillow Mist is an expert blend of essential oils prized for relaxation. Simply spritz a little each night on your linen and tranquillity will be restored.
Reclaim healthy skin, better mood, enhanced focus, energy and a sense of wellbeing.
Sleep well, live better, feel great, look your best.
Melatonin the "light of night" in human bioscoliosis
Melatonin and human skin aging
Circadian Rhythm and the Skin: A Review of the Literature
Blue light has a dark side
What is blue light? The effect blue light has on your sleep and more.
Regular Late Bedtime Significantly Affects the Skin Physiological Characteristics and Skin Bacterial Microbiome
A study of skin characteristics with long-term sleep restriction in Korean women in their 40s
Sleeping dangerously: 7.5 million Brits have under five hours' a night