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5 sleep enhancing hacks from a beauty & lifestyle editor

Because whilst we can live with the under eye bags and bad skin (not really), we can’t live with the grumpy moods and uncontrollable hunger on lockdown.

Most of us have experienced the negative effects of not getting enough good quality sleep. The grumpy moods, the uncontrollable hunger, the brain fog, not to mention the change in your complexion. Think dark under eye circles, a dull complexion, fine lines, wrinkles, and even sagging skin – eek. And with what feels like not enough time in the day, plus the rising levels of stress among today’s adult population, it’s proving increasingly harder to get those extra zzz’s, and even harder to get a restful night’s sleep.

Fear not the fatigue need not go on. Here’s how to get the optimal night’s sleep so you look and feel more rested in a jiffy.

Limit blue light exposure

The blue light emitted from your smartphone, laptop, tablet screens and even LED light bulbs is affecting your sleep – fact! It reduces the production of melatonin – the hormone that prepares your body for sleep – and in so doing makes nodding off harder to do. Protect yourself from blue light exposure by switching off electronic devices a couple of hours before you sleep or investing in blue light blocking glasses. If you must use your phone right up until tucking yourself in, switch on the night mode, this will warm the screen and block out the blue light.

Sleep on an incline

Studies have shown that sleeping on an incline can improve sleep quality**. By raising the head breathing passages are opened, which in turn helps improve sleep problems caused by health issues and snoring. Plus, inclined sleeping helps improve lymphatic drainage – the movement of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain – reducing pressure inside the skull. This is important as the less pressure there is, the easier it is for your brain to recover while you sleep. The healthier the brain, the better you function, ergo the better you sleep!

Sleep aids

There are some vitamins, minerals, herbs, and more that we don’t or can’t get naturally in your diet, and some we simply need more of. The following could help you get some shut-eye.

One of the most studied essential oils, lavender, is the ideal scent for those of you that find it hard to slow down and switch off when your head hits your pillow

Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D are linked with poor quality sleep, and more than half the world’s population is deficient in this all-important vitamin. Get your levels tested and if you do need to up your stores start taking this supplement asap.

Magnesium

This element can help you nod off and sleep more deeply, thanks to its ability to reduce the bodies response to stress and regulate melatonin. Try taking an Epsom salt bath before turning in for the night. 

Valerian root

The general consensus is that this herb can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality. It does this by inhibiting the breakdown of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. People suffering from chronic stress, anxiety and poor sleep tend to have low GABA levels, making calming valerian a Godsend.

Ditch caffeine

While caffeine can help boost energy levels exponentially, and we wouldn’t dare tell you to give it up completely, it would be wise to limit your intake. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can hinder your ability to relax at night, and because it can stay elevated in your blood for up to eight hours its best to stop consumption by 4pm.

Aromatherapy aids

One of the most studied essential oils, lavender, is the ideal scent for those of you that find it hard to slow down and switch off when your head hits your pillow. Believed to slow down your nervous system and decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, lavender should help you fall into a deep sleep. Spritz on pillows and sheets, roll on pulse points and tag team with an overnight skin treatment by way of Period Faace, also known as ‘stressed face’. Not only does this soothe, hydrate, balance and rejuvenate your complexion, it includes a hefty dose of lavender that envelopes your olfactory receptors to lull you to sleep.

* https://www.stress.org.uk/national-stress-awareness-month-2019/

** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5700252/

Amerley Ollennu, beauty and lifestyle writer @AmerleyO

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