29 Nov The Truth About Beauty Sleep from a Sleep Expert
I’m sure you’ve been told a million times how important a good night of sleep is. But with Christmas and New Year approaching and the mad rush to wrap up everything at work before the holidays begin, it’s one of the first areas of our lives to suffer.
Which is where master sleep coach Elina Winnel of My Sleep Coach comes in. Elina shared with us her expert advice on why high-quality sleep is so important and how we can all work toward achieving it.
“Sleep is crucial for hormonal balance. Our hormones are like the body’s instant messaging system: They are responsible for everything from moods, to fertility, to immune function. Hormones crucial to our health are produced and regulated during sleep, so if this process is disrupted or compromised, the results can be very damaging,” says Elina.
“For example, inadequate sleep increases the production of ghrelin, the hormone that causes a sensation of hunger. Simultaneously, poor sleep suppresses leptin—which is responsible for making you feel full. As you can imagine, this combination can pose quite a challenge to maintaining a healthy weight!”
And for those that think the idea of ‘beauty sleep’ is a myth, Elina has some news for you.
“Our bodies physically regenerate while we sleep. Quality sleep helps reduce cortisol levels, which in turn decreases the likelihood of heart problems and high blood pressure. Your cells repair themselves while you sleep, most notably during so-called ‘slow-wave sleep’, which is the time when the secretion of growth hormone is at its highest,” shared Elina.
“This means that the idea of “beauty sleep” is more than just an idiom! Skin health deteriorates as a result of insufficient sleep, affecting your complexion and causing bags under your eyes. And when you think about the deeply relaxed state of your facial muscles during sleep, it’s easy to see how insufficient rest is a factor in the development of frown lines.”
It’s also worth noting that the recommended 7.5 – 8.5 hours of good quality sleep each night can improve your emotional well-being and boost your brain power, two things that certainly don’t go amiss at this time of year.
So now that we know the benefits of a good night’s sleep, you’re probably wondering how the hell do we get it? Well, Elina shares that everyone is different but there’s a few things that she recommends trying.
“It’s important to remember that the quality and ease of our sleep is largely about what we do during the day, including our stress/anxiety levels. However, having an effective wind down routine can certainly help. The aim is to gradually coax the brain and body into a slow state ready for sleep,” says Elina.
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“I play theta or delta brainwave music from the time the sun goes down. Just having it in the background aids relaxation greatly. I turn all lights off and have lamps on only. I switch from doing to being, and enjoy either connecting with friends, reading a good book or watching a movie. Everybody is different, so having a routine with anything that “gets you in the zone” and isn’t goal oriented will help.”
And it’s important not to ignore your diet.
“Having a balanced nervous system is the most important factor in getting a great night’s sleep. However, diet also has an impact. Avoid sugar and coffee close to bed time. The aim is to down regulate our system, not stimulate it. Alcohol interferes with our sleep architecture, so minimising consumption helps. Many people are suffering from poor digestion today also – so avoid anything that upsets your stomach. Have food that is rich in magnesium and Vitamin B. We deplete these vitamins and minerals with stress, but they are important for sleep and our nervous system,” shared Elina.
So now that you’re armed with crucial information, it’s time to go forth and catch those Z’s. If you want to hear more of Elina’s expertise you can get in touch via her website here; My Sleep Coach.