We’ve all heard the saying ‘get your beauty sleep’; it’s true, it’s free, and it can start for you tonight.
You’ve probably already noticed that when you skimp on sleep, it shows on your face. Tired skin sags, bags and loses its luster because a lack of sleep causes blood vessels to dilate. But did you know that people who sleep too little are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression?
This is because after a poor night’s sleep, our norepinephrine levels (a hormone involved in the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress) are dramatically increased, as well as our heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Hence, a lack of sleep can be the underlying cause for an over-burdened liver, digestion disturbances, and blood-sugar and hormone imbalances - key areas which can contribute to weight gain or an inability to lose weight.
So, now that we know sleep is the most effective way of renewing, refreshing and healing our bodies and minds, and the best way to improve your health and reduce stress, how can we improve this much needed sleep?
1. Create a regular time to sleep and rise
This is about training the mind, introducing good habits and creating a routine. A regular pattern will help you fall asleep faster and easier. Also, aiming to have the same amount of sleep each night encourages the body to follow a natural rhythm.
2. Reduce caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant. It can affect the length and quality of sleep. Heavy caffeine users suffer from sleep-deprivation because their nervous system is too stimulated to allow them deep, restful or prolonged sleep. If it seems too daunting to give up completely, then restrict caffeine to earlier in the day when the body has longer to detoxify the caffeine from the system, or try herbal teas.
3. Move your body
Movement is about getting out of the mind and into your body. It might be walking, exercising or dancing. Create time to move every single day as it helps to ground us.
4. Massage your feet with oil before bed
If you have a busy mind, this Ayurvedic practice brings the excess energy out of the head and grounds it (much like exercise). If you have a tendency to anxiety and excitement (Vata), try using OmVeda’s Arthroil Massage Oil; or if your thoughts feel more heating and towards anger (Pitta), try using OmVeda’s Calming Massage Oil (both available in store).
5. Make your bedroom a relaxing space
Seeing as though we spend a third of our lives in our bedrooms, they should be treated as a peaceful haven, kept only for sleeping and relaxing. Try to make the following changes: don’t take your phone to bed with you; don’t watch television or do anything which involves stress whilst in bed; open windows during the day to allow fresh air to flow through the room
Being sleep-deprived or regularly having poor quality sleep can impact on every area of our lives. Concentration can suffer, we may become irritable, lose interest in things that we normally enjoy, even our health can be affected as our bodies become over tired and our immune systems become less resistant. It's important to appreciate the beneficial, health-supporting role that sleeping well has in our lives.