Everyone knows that getting more sleep can help us look and feel better, but it has now been revealed that those of us who fall asleep within one hour of our head hitting the pillow could look 2,5 years younger than those who struggle to nod off.
UK skincare brand Murad has carried out a study to find out just how real ‘beauty sleep’ is, by measuring the perceived age of a group of participants who fell asleep more quickly, versus those who struggled to fall asleep.
And it turns out that those who fell asleep within one hour were perceived as 2,5 years younger, when photographs of the participants were shown to a panel.
“Beauty sleep is not a cliche, it’s a fact” according to Dr Murad, founder of Murad skincare. A few extra hours of sleep a night really can make us look younger. But with everyone living increasingly more hectic lives, it’s not always that easy to drop off.
When it comes to sleep, we all know what we should be doing to get more rest, but it turns out a lot of the commonly held beliefs – like having a nightcap before going to bed – are actually just myths.
Sleep scientist Dr Sophie Bostock told Women’s Health, “In terms of the number of hours of sleep, we probably haven’t changed that much over the past few years, what has changed is sleep quality.
“We are now bombarded by things that get in the way of our sleep – phones, laptops and tablets are designed to mimic the same wavelength of light that you get in the midday sun.” Not to mention how the odd glass of wine can pay havoc with our circadian rhythm…
So what can we do to give ourselves the best chance of a restful night’s sleep and fall asleep quicker? Here are some pre-bedtime rituals that can help:
Wear an eye mask
Wearing an eye mask – ideally one made from silk – will help block out any light that might be around you while you’re trying to nod off. Even in the darkest of bedrooms there are modern day intrusions like lights on phones and outside street lamps. A mask will just help block a little more of those annoyances out, allowing you to nod off more easily.
Try a pillow spray
Everyone knows that lavender is renowned for helping us relax and unwind, so it only makes sense that spritzing your sheets and pillow before climbing into bed can help you drop off. Pulse point balms are also great for helping you feel calm after a busy day. We love L’Occitane Aromachologie Relaxing Pillow Mist, R360 for 100ml.
Get more daylight
It has been discovered that getting more daylight during waking hours can help you sleep better. Research has found that those who get the most natural daylight, even through a window, fall asleep faster and have a better, more rested, sleep.
Don’t keep your phone next to your bed
The lights from smartphones interferes with sleep as it prevents the full release of melatonin. You should keep your device at least 35cm away from your face and dim the brightness before you get into bed so that you’re not kept awake.
Stick to a routine
Bedtime routines aren’t just a good idea for children, they’re also great for adults, too. Going to bed at around the same time every night will help your body unwind quicker, leading to a more restful sleep that will last all night.
Keep your skin hydrated
But when it comes to waking feeling refreshed, it is your skin that carries the tell-tale signs of a bad night’s sleep. Your skin loses water three times faster at night, meaning we might also need a helping hand in the skincare department while we sleep.
Words: Claire Crick. Additional words: Martinique Stevens