Waking up looking refreshed requires more than just the absence of under eye darkness or puffiness, the skin tells the story. To understand better what actually happens to our bodies and minds while we sleep and why it is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, we sat down with Dr. G to get the scoop.
What controls sleep?
Hormones play a major part of healthy sleep. Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain by the pineal gland and helps to regulate the sleep wake cycle. Human growth hormone or (GH) is released during sleep and hence it’s name, helps to regenerate and grow healthy cells. Studies have shown that ingesting oral melatonin before bed can increase growth hormone by over 150%. As melatonin levels decline with age, only minuscule amounts of the small quantities produced by those suffering from sleep problems actually reach the skin. Ingesting melatonin before bedtime is extremely effective in getting the hormone levels back in balance and delivering a healthy sleep.
Other studies have shown that going straight to the source and applying melatonin directly to the skin may allow those suffering from insomnia to benefit from it’s rejuvenating powers, not only for restoring the appearance and texture of skin, but also in getting a good night’s sleep.
What ingredients should we use night and why?
The restorative power of sleep is vital for rejuvenating and repairing the skin and is controlled by the hormone melatonin. Melatonin production increases and peaks around 2am, so applying a night cream before bed enhances your skin’s ability to rest and reset. Wearing anti-aging products at night allows skin to absorb all the nutrients and ingredients while being in a relaxed state and out range of UV rays and pollution.
During the nighttime hours, the skin springs into action to repair itself back into balance through a restorative and renewal process.The most potent anti-aging ingredients to look for in a night cream include: Retinoids, Peptides and Melatonin. The efficacy of melatonin as a topical agent also offers a promising avenue to enhance the skin’s nightly repair cycle.
- Retinoids attack hyper-pigmentation, stimulate skin to generate collagen and hyaluronic acid, increase radiance by reducing pore size, safely exfoliate and increase cell turnover .
- Peptides encourage skin cell growth and collagen production. Peptides are made up of a string of amino acids held together by tough bonds of nitrogen and carbon that act as messengers to send out signals which tell the receptors on your skin cells how they should perform. A few of the most beneficial peptides include palmitoyl pentapeptide-3,which is a peptide that triggers a natural heal-and-repair response that stimulates the development of collagen and elastin, encourages new fibroblast growth, and increases the production of skin cells. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a powerful wrinkle-reducing peptide that works by hindering a signal protein called catecholamine that triggers muscle contraction, thereby relaxing your facial muscles.
- Melatonin plays a key role in rejuvenating skin by stimulating the growth of major skin cells such as keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Fibroblasts produce the essential proteins collagen and elastin, which provide structural support for the skin. Melatonin has also been shown to be effective against skin aging. It has powerful antioxidant properties by quenching mainly hydroxyl radicals, the most damaging of all radicals.
What can we do to ensure a good night’s sleep?
Set yourself up for success by making your bedroom into a successful sleeping area. Sleep with your head slightly elevated can help with fluid retention in the facial area. Fluid retention occurs while we sleep because we are lying flat and circulation can be affected. Excess sugar, salt and alcohol will add to fluid retention. Consumption of all these pollutants can escalate swelling and puffiness to the eyes and face. Try to avoid alcohol before bed as it leads to uneven sleep rhythms in the brain as well as fluid retention.
Top tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature
- Silk pillow case-softer and less absorbent than cotton-silk won’t dry skin out and also causes less pulling and tugging if you’re a face sleeper
- Wear earplugs to ensure silence
- Noise machine- used to calm babies and help them sleep, noise machines can be beneficial for falling asleep as well as staying asleep
- Stop using electronics an hour before bedtime and keep your phone/tablet out of the bedroom-blue light interferes with sleep
- Eat plant based high fat foods with dinner to stay satiated and balance blood sugar while asleep
- Wear an eye mask -keeps light out