The Anti-Ageing Power of Sleep

The positive effects of sleep on our bodies and minds are huge — and scientists are discovering new benefits all the time.

A study by the Australian Sleep Health Foundation found that more than 1.5 million Australian adults (that’s a staggering 9% of the population) suffer from sleep disorders. And this isn’t good, because getting enough good quality sleep is crucial for our physical and mental health.

To help motivate you to take care of your sleep routine and strive for solid hours of Zzz’s every night, I wanted to share a little known, but clinically proven, discovery:

Getting enough sleep improves the health and appearance of your skin, and reduces the effects of ageing.

A clinical study commissioned by beauty giant Estée Lauder found that the quality and duration of a person’s sleep has an impact on the skin’s function, and its visible signs of ageing.

People who don’t sleep well, or who don’t sleep for long enough, showed increased signs of ageing including wrinkles and blemishes. Their skin also took longer to recover from stressors in their environment, such as UV radiation or chemicals passing through the skin barrier.

In contrast, those who sleep well and have a regular sleep routine are more likely to have healthy skin that bounces back quickly from environmental stressors.

If you’re noticing lots of new wrinkles, or your skin feels more sensitive than it used to be, take a look at your sleep habits.

Signs that you’re not sleeping enough could include:

  • Feeling very tired (of course!) or fatigued
  • Being irritable, moody, or very low
  • Frequent yawning
  • Poor memory, or difficulty concentrating and learning new concepts or skills
  • Lack of motivation
  • Increased appetite or cravings for high-carb, high-sugar foods
  • Being clumsy
  • Low or reduced sex drive

But a few simple lifestyle changes could drastically improve your sleep — and your skin.

The Sleep Foundation has studied sleep habits and sleep quality in detail. It recommends that establishing a regular evening routine will help to improve your sleep, and prevent unnecessary waking during the night.

Start building your own sleep routine with five tips:

  1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. A consistent sleep schedule helps your body to establish a rhythm, so it’ll be easier for you to fall asleep quickly and then stay asleep.
  2. Switch off from all screens at least one hour before bed every night. The light from screens affects your body’s ability to produce the relaxing hormones you need to feel sleepy; and the content we consume on-screen is usually highly stimulating, too.
  3. Opt for relaxing activities in the evening. Try to build simple, relaxing elements into your evenings — such as reading, having a bath, chatting with a family member, or enjoying a hot cup of herbal tea.
  4. Make your bedroom a place of relaxation and comfort. Ensure that you feel calm when you go in there — minimise mess, get a comfortable mattress and pillows, and paint your bedroom with colours that inspire a peaceful mind.
  5. Don’t force it. If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there beating yourself up about it. Get up and go into another room for 15 minutes, where you can engage in a relaxing activity or sit quietly in meditation. Then try again.


Sleep well, friends!

Healthy skin starts from within

If you get your skincare advice from cosmetics brands alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the single most important way to look after your skin is by applying creams and lotions to it.

And don’t get me wrong — high quality cleansers, moisturisers and toners are great for getting that radiant glow. Especially when you choose the right products for your unique skin type and lifestyle.

But skincare doesn’t start on the outside. It starts from within; with the food you choose to put in your body.

Countless studies have shown that nutrition is key to healthy skin. If you eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and healthy fats, your skin will be clearer, less dry, and…well, glowing. And it goes further than just the way your skin looks, too. Good diet has been linked to a much lower chance of serious skin disease, and slows down the signs of ageing.

How to eat for glowing skin

Nutritional studies have found that eating a diet high in antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamins A, E, and C, is important for skin health. That doesn’t mean you should run for the supplements right away; because actually, your body absorbs vitamins more effectively when consumed along with all of the other nutrients in food.

So instead of the pharmacy, hit the grocery store. Fill your kitchen with fresh vegetables and fruits, and aim to build your meals with plants as the foundation — rather than something you add on the side.

Start including these delicious foods in your daily diet:

  • Avocados; rich in healthy fats and vitamins E and C
  • Sunflower seeds; packed with vitamin E and other vital skin-boosting nutrients, including selenium and zinc
  • Sweet potatoes; full of beta-carotene
  • Broccoli; a vitamin power house of a vegetable, rich in vitamins A and C, zing, lutein (which works similarly to beta-carotene), and an immune-boosting compound called sulforaphane
  • Walnuts; packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as zinc and small amounts of vitamins C, E and selenium

All of the above are delicious, and can add taste as well as essential goodness to your meals.

Try sprinkling sunflower seeds and crushed walnuts onto salads; have a baked sweet potato with olive oil, spinach and feta cheese; and enjoy an avocado as a healthy and filling snack, with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of lemon juice.

And of course, don’t forget to drink fresh, clean water. Lots of it.

Skincare starts with nutrition 

It’s not what everyone wants to hear — because it’s not a quick fix. But the reality is that no matter how many moisturisers you buy, your skin won’t look and feel nourished and healthy if you’re not eating well. The skin is an organ which reflects your overall health; if you don’t care for your body, you’re not caring for your skin.

But eating well can become a positive part of your life. Shift your intentions from covering up skin issues, to nourishing your skin from within. You’ll look fabulous — and you’ll feel so much better.