The connection between our quality of sleep and weightloss, recovery and skin are so important that I’m waging a small war on it at the moment. Not on sleep, rather lack of.
Sleep and Skin
I’d read one of those facebook articles where it defines exactly what is going on in your life based on where your pimples are. I had been having pimples on my chin, this was a relatively new thing in the past few years, even as a teenager I was relatively unscathed by pimples. But according to this article, chin acne has to do with hormone imbalance, and a part of ‘how to fix it’ was getting enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation affects wound healing, collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Inflammation is also higher in sleep-deprived people, causing outbreaks of acne, eczema, psoriasis, and skin allergies.
Our time spent sleeping allows the body to restore the immune system function and that changes in the immune response triggered by high-stress states such as sleep deprivation affect collagen production.
Common causes of sleep disturbances
- Artificial light
- shift work
- sleep disturbances
- social life
Sleep and weightloss
As far as sleep and weightloss go, our quality of sleep affects our hormones. If you don’t sleep enough your cortisol levels rise, which is the stress hormone associated with fat gain. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours. In other words, your body is more likely to hang onto fat.
It also activates the reward center in your brain that makes you want food. Which makes sense, I’m sure everyone can recognize the need for comfort food when you’re exhausted. It weakens your resolve for healthy food and dissolves your desire to exercise because you’re too tired.
Researchers found that when dieters cut back on sleep over a 14-day period, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal. They felt hungrier and less satisfied after meals, and their energy was zapped.
How to get more sleep
- Melatonin. Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that tells your brain when it’s time to relax and head to bed
- Valerian Root. Valerian root is often referred to as “nature’s Valium.” In fact, this herb has been used since ancient times to promote tranquility and improve sleep
- Magnesium. It is needed for muscle and nerve function, keeps your heart rate steady and helps strengthen bones and teeth. Magnesium also helps muscles to relax, helps with energy production and relieves PMS symptoms. It is an antidote for stress and a powerful mineral that helps with relaxation and sleep.
- Lavender. Researchers monitored their sleep cycles with brain scans and found that lavender increased slow-wave sleep
- Passion flower. Studies suggest it might help relieve insomnia and anxiety. It appears to boost the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. This compound lowers brain activity, which may help you relax and sleep better.
- Glycine. Glycine elevates serotonin, reduces symptoms of insomnia, and improves sleep quality
- Tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that interacts with those brain chemicals important to sleep and the timing of your biological clock’s sleep-wake cycle. Tryptophan increases serotonin, which also increases melatonin
- Gingko Bilboa. Ginkgo biloba before bed may help reduce stress, enhance relaxation and promote sleep
- L-Theanine. L-theanine promotes relaxation and facilitates sleep by contributing to a number of changes in the brain, boosting the relaxing chemicals and depressing the ‘exciting’ chemicals.
I’ve recently tried taking a supplement called ‘Crash’. It gave me my first night of proper sleep in ages so I ordered a jar. The theory is it’s meant to support deep rem sleep. My husband tried it once and it didn’t work for him at all. I don’t think it’s a placebo effect, it does have Valerian root and Phenibut HCL which is meant to have anti-stress and anti-anxiety effects.
Getting more natural light during the day and making sure it’s dark at night time helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. Light in the evening tricks your body into thinking it’s still day time. Blue light in particular, eg. your phone, computer etc. is the worst for this
Coffee stimulates your nervous system, which is great before a workout or a big meeting, but it may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night if you’ve had too much, or drunk it late in the day.
Skip the Alcohol
Alcohol can negatively affect your sleep and hormones. It is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns. Alcohol alters melatonin production and studies have found that alcohol consumption at night decreased the natural nighttime elevations in human growth hormone (HGH), which plays a role in your circadian rhythm
Have a relaxing bath or shower before bed.
Hot water relaxes the body and better prepares us for falling asleep. When a tense body enters a warm bath, the hot water increases the body temperature and relaxes the muscles. If a bath is too much for you before bed, even soaking your feet in warm water helps.
Make sure you have a good mattress and pillow
Do you ever wonder why you sleep so much better in a hotel? Bedding quality plays a big role in how we sleep. When is the last time you replaced your mattress? It is recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years
Related Post: Is stress making you fat?