Sleep is the body’s natural repair cycle and one of the best things you can do to protect skin from premature aging. During this nightly downtime, cells go into regeneration mode, tissue is strengthened, and cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for inflammation, decreases. At the same time, increased flow of nutrients and oxygen to skin helps remove toxins and promote brighter complexion.
MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY: Do whatever you must to make good sleep a top priority. Studies show that just one hour of additional sleep can make a big difference. In the U.K., researchers found that when volunteers got one hour less sleep than their average, genes associated with inflammation and stress increased. There were also increases in the activity of genes associated with diabetes and risk of cancer. When volunteers added one hour of sleep, the reverse happened.
KEEP A SCHEDULE: Sleep and wake at the same times throughout the week including the weekends to help keep your body’s circadian cycle in sync. The more you can stick to a consistent schedule, the easier it will be to drift off and stay asleep throughout the night.
GIVE YOUR DEVICES A BREAK: All that glowing white light from your variety of screens interferes with your circadian rhythms and makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Most devices offer the ability to shift the colors in your display to a warmer spectrum that’s less disruptive to your sleep cycle: Night Shift on Mac devices and Night Mode on Android. Check your settings to set the shift to happen automatically in the evening so you don’t forget.
DRINK SOME TEA: Our favorite nightcap is a non-alcoholic, slightly spicy sip of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, honey and coconut milk. Hello, slumber town. Known as Golden Milk or Moon Milk, this soothing concoction is like a tuck-in from the most tender mama bear in prep for hibernation. In addition to being calming and sleep-inducing, it’s powerfully antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to aid your sleep repair cycle. We like this recipe from Epicurious. Warning, you’re going to get hooked.
MAKE YOUR BEDROOM SLEEP-FRIENDLY:Heat, light, noise (including your partner snoring) can all interfere with your good night’s sleep. Create a space that helps you get your best sleep by keeping the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. Make sure your blankets aren’t too heavy. If you’re a light sleeper like me, consider using earplugs and a sleep mask.