We know that we need sleep to survive, but scientists still have a lot to learn about why. It is evident that quality rest allows us to function our best mentally, and feel our best physically. Now, studies show it also makes a difference on a cellular level too.
In recent times, strong links have been made between sleep, immune function, and inflammation. These systems share a common regulator, our circadian rhythms or "body clock." It is now known that inflammation in the body manifests in some of the most common diseases society faces today as well as premature ageing (yikes!). It has also been shown that our systems are more connected than we think. Poor sleep could be contributing to our lack lustre skin, or that pesky cold that we can't kick. Our biorhythms thrive on constancy. When these are out of sync due to bad sleep habits, we can increase inflammation, amplify our stress and anxiety, and even throw off our gut biome!
How We Are Sabotaging Our Sleep
So we know we need a good nights rest for a healthy mind, body and soul, but did you know our daily habits could be wreaking havoc on our slumber? Things such as eating too close to bed time, working out too late at night, or too much caffeine later in the day are commonly considered bad “sleep hygiene,” but did you know we should also avoid all stimulating activities too close to bedtime? Things such as watching TV or movies, texting, being on social media, or answering emails. These activities keep your brain alert and active, and do not allow it to start quieting down and preparing for rest. Not to mention that the blue light from screens suppresses the production of our sleep hormone, melatonin.
Not only is it what we do before, but what we do in bed or where we sleep altogether that could be preventing those illusive Z’s. Sleep therapists say that the bed should be reserved for sleep and intimacy only. That way, we train our brain that when we hit the sheets, it's lights out. Falling asleep anywhere but your bed (AKA the couch) can also have a negative impact. It can inhibit quality sleep - meaning more frequent wake-ups, and can even lead to disturbing dreams if the TV is still on in the background! Add all this together and it's no wonder we're struggling through school drop offs and morning meetings even with our large extra shot soy lattes.
How To Improve Our Sleep Quality
Now we know what we are doing to prevent a quality sleep, how can we improve our rest?
Consistency is key! Studies show one of the main pillars of good sleep hygiene is a relaxing bedtime routine. Winding down with a cup of tea (herbal of course!) and a good book, or doing some light stretching is an excellent way to start preparing for rest. Meditation for some also proves to be extremely beneficial at slowing down the heart rate and breathing, relaxing the body and clearing the mind. Our favourite routine is lighting a beautiful candle, (we love Bohème for bedtime) and performing a facial massage with our rose quartz roller. Lastly, there is a strong correlation between your sleep environment and the quality of rest. Make sure your bedroom is calming and comfortable and limits artificial light. A sleep mask can be helpful for blocking artificial light and encouraging melatonin production, thus enabling a deeper more restful sleep. See our ultimate luxury sleep masks here.
Making minor lifestyle changes to improve sleep now can have immeasurable positive affects on our health and well-being in the future. Not only will it reduce the risk of common diseases, but will also enhance our mental and physical function, and over all glow - after all, they don't call it beauty sleep for nothing! There's nothing to lose but sleep!
Sweet Dreams xx