We all know the feeling of sleep deprivation. It takes its toll on our mind and body – it’s difficult to concentrate, your eyes burn, and moving can feel like dragging around a sack of potatoes. We’ve all been there, and I for one cannot function without consistent and quality sleep.
As the biggest organ, our skin bears the brunt of the lack of quality sleep and the absence of a good nighttime skincare routine.
“Beauty sleep” is more than just an old adage. There’s so much truth to it, and it’s something that’s taken a particular interest to me as someone who actively seeks natural and healthy ways to defy ageing and promote optimal health.
What happens to our skin when the light goes out?
Although we are creatures of the day, our skin does its best work at night. It’s most active in rejuvenating and restoring skin cells when we are in deep sleep. This is why ‘rest’ is the most important medicine when we’re unwell. Sleep provides the ideal time for the body to get to work on restoring and healing itself.
But there’s a whole host of other things that happen after dark. Let’s take a closer look…
As we drift off to sleep, our body temperature drops by about half a degree. As this happens, the circulatory system kicks into gear and starts to increase blood circulation, which means that nutrients are transported to vital organs, including the skin. So it’s the perfect time to give it some added nutrition (in the form of nighttime skincare, more on this below).
Skin turns up the heat
Our core body temperature may be cooler at night, but our skin temperature actually warms up! This is why our skin feels warm when we wake, and this increase in temperature also means that skin can absorb more and is more permeable. It’s like a sponge and it will welcome added moisture in the evening hours.
Cell production goes into over-drive
In the initial stages of deep sleep, we’re also primed to produce collagen, a vital component for rebuilding and supporting skin’s resilience and structure. Collagen promotes cell reproduction and so as we sleep, our skin is working hard to restore itself and reduce free-radical damage. It’s the best time to get the most out of our anti-ageing efforts.
Our skin is also prone to dehydration while we sleep. During the day, we tend to stay hydrated and thirst signals us to drink more water. However, while we sleep we can’t drink water. We’re able to sleep without having to rehydrate, and your body will prioritise sleep over hydration. But this means that skin can become quite dehydrated.
In an earlier post I talked about how our skin is our biggest organ, yet it is last to receive available water. Vital organs will receive water first, so when the body is deficient in water, our skin suffers.
Reduced threat of pathogens
During the day, your skin is literally defending itself from foreign pathogens and UV rays – it’s always on guard, so its priority is to fight off potential threats and ensure that it can protect against bacteria, pollutants and toxins that may otherwise be absorbed into the blood stream. Nighttime is the only time that the skin microbiota (our skin flora) can be “off duty”. When this happens, your skin switches from its day duties of pathogen fighting, to its night duties of rejuvenating and restoring.
Circadian cycle kicks in
Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep patterns and readying the body for sleep. It signals our body to start to wind down, and at the same time, it also signals the body to commence restoration. So as you start to feel sleepy, your skin starts to prepare for rejuvenation.
How to get the most out of nighttime skincare
As well as a good night’s rest, there’s plenty you can do to aid skin health at night. There is a difference between daytime and nighttime skincare, for many reasons.
The importance of cleansing at night
During the day your skin accumulates a large amount of environmental aggressors. If you go to bed without properly cleansing, your body is just absorbing the toxins and you’re not giving your skin the chance to really breathe, especially if you’re wearing make-up throughout the day.
Cleansing the skin with a gentle and natural cleanser before bed makes a big difference. Even if your skin feels clean, think about how much it’s exposed to during the day… pollution, bacteria and oil transferred from our hands, dirt and grime and a myriad of other pathogens. So take the time to give your face a good clean. Your skin will feel radiant, glowing and refreshed in the morning.
Hydrate while you rest
Second, hydration is really important at night. Not only are we less hydrated as we sleep, the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) absorbs more at night. Skin’s permeability also increases while we sleep, making it the perfect time to apply natural ingredients that can deeply penetrate and be properly absorbed into the skin.
Applying a bit of moisture such as our Hydrate My Face spritzer will go a long way.
But that’s not the end. Cleansing and moisturising are literally the best pre-preparation routines before giving your skin a healthy dose of natural nutrition.
Natural anti-ageing skin nutrition
Some of the most important nutrients for skin health are amino acids and antioxidants.
Amino acids help skin to produce more collagen and elastin, which our skin makes less and less of as we age. Antioxidants help to stop the age accelerating damage of free radicals in their tracks.
Amino acids and antioxidants, along with a range of other vital nutrients are all absorbed more deeply at night.
So the final ingredient for the perfect nighttime skincare routine is the application of a nutrient-dense, natural serum such as our new Nocturnalist Night Serum, our intensive night serum.
Our Nocturnalist Night Serum is designed to give your skin the intense hydration and replenishment it craves, as well as reduce any oxidation, dryness or inflammation.
What’s in it?
Prickly Pear: rich in amino acids, prickly pear encourages collagen production and elasticity to brighten and tighten the pores.
Lemon: contains large amounts of Vitamin C, one of the best-known anti-ageing agents.
Frankincense: to reduce the appearance of sun and age spots, whilst promoting circulation.
Geranium Bourbon: improves circulation beneath the surface of the skin, which helps with cell regeneration and speeds up the healing process.
Neroli: boosts luminosity and promotes a glowing complexion, and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
Myrrh: a skin tonic that rejuvenates ageing skin.
Cypress: uses antimicrobial properties to aid toxin removal and firms the skin.
No matter how tired you are; spending 5-10 minutes on your nighttime skincare routine can really boost your “beauty sleep”.
But the most essential ingredient really is sleep. So once your skin is prepped for 40 winks, the next step is unwinding the mind.
Natural remedies to support quality sleep
There are a number of natural remedies to help set the scene for a perfect night’s sleep. For one, essential oils are potent stimulants for inducing quality sleep. You can read more about this in my post about the essential oil guide to sleep.
Our Sleep Repair Pack has everything you need for a peaceful sleep. It contains our Slumber Essential Oil Blend of pure healing essential oils specially chosen to reduce nervous tension and anxiety, promoting deep relaxation and comforting tranquility before sleep. Our pocket sized on-the-go Slumber Nasalette™ Essential Oil Inhaler for sleep relief anywhere you are. As well as our Pyramedial™ the Scent of Sleep lavender pouch, the perfect pillow companion, and last but not least, our Featherlite Silk Eye Mask to help send your mind into deep relaxation.
Beauty sleep essentials
Here’s a complete list of all our products to give you the perfect beauty sleep
Cleanse My Face: Our deeply calming oil cleanser that uses 14 remedial oils to target impurities held deep within your skin. It effortlessly removes makeup and dirt without disturbing your skin’s natural sebum balance – choosing to communicate with your skin not work against it.
Hydrate My Face: Our botanical hydration and toning mist brings together organic essential oils and pure floral waters to leave your skin feeling vibrant and energised.
Nocturnalist Night Serum: Repairs and rejuvenates skin cells during your sleep cycle. Before bed, apply 2-3 drops on cleansed skin and massage into cheeks, forehead and neckline. Wear on its own or with our refreshing ICU Intensive Care Eye Serum.