It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing.
The impact of a good eight hours zzz’s on skin – from vanquishing dark circles to boosting radiance and reducing wrinkles – is well known.
But with current Covid stress factors making disrupted nights common, getting the quantity and quality of sleep required to stay looking fresh as well as feeling healthy has never been more resonant.
In May, a study by King’s College London and Ipsos MORI revealed that 63 per cent of us have experienced ‘worse’ sleep patterns since lockdown, while organic aromatherapy beauty brand NEOM surveyed over 2,000 customers and found 42 per cent were sleeping less well.
Last weekend’s clock change makes it an ideal time to tackle sleep issues and their effect on our appearance.
‘When we sleep, skin goes into “repair and restore” mode, meaning it removes toxins, repairs cell and DNA damage caused by the environment, replaces ageing cells and creates new ones,’ says Dr Anna Persaud, biochemist and chief executive of This Works.
‘That’s why after good-quality sleep, skin looks fresher, younger and more radiant. In terms of wellbeing, good sleep is linked to good fitness, emotional, mental and physical health, and a higher level of cognitive capacities and performance.’
In response to its study that showed 53 per cent of us are experiencing more broken sleep, This Works has launched The School Of Sleep via Instagram, designed by sleep experts with tips and interviews focused on sleeping better.
‘During sleep bones, tissues and cells grow and are repaired – aka glowing healthy skin,’ says Margo Marrone, a pharmacist who set up The Organic Pharmacy.
‘Stress levels drop and, when the body is healthy, the skin is healthy. Infection-fighting antibody production is enhanced by deep sleep too.’
That’s likely to be a welcome bonus right now.
With the issue of sleeplessness so pertinent, there are plenty of bath, skin and ingestible options for redressing the nightly balance.
Start with pillow spray over bedding and nightclothes – the soporific notes will help you drift off. Clean and dreamy ESPA A Restful Night Pillow Mist (£15) is packed with calming lavender, while Bloom & Blossom All Night Long calming sleep spray (£15) is a blissful blend of frankincense, rose and linden blossom.
If you prefer to scent yourself, try a few drops of Sanctuary Spa Calming CBD Oil (£12) on pulse points for a relaxation hit, or massage on skin-softening This Works Deep Sleep Body Cocoon (£25) and breathe in the lavender, camomile and vetivert aroma that’s proven to stimulates the area of the brain linked to calmness.
Lush has Beauty Sleep face and body mask (£13), a pre-bedtime treatment with neroli and lavender to soothe the senses while coconut and honey calm the skin.
Subtle Energies’ Blissful Sleep Inhalation Patches (£45) are based on Ayurvedic principles to rebalance the mind and body clock.
Stick one on your décolletage (I pop them on my wrist) and let the slow-release, herbal-oil blend encourage deep sleep.
A warm bath has long been recommended as a sleep aid because it lowers body temperature – a signal to internal systems that it’s bedtime.
Chill among camomile, ylang ylang and cedarwood bubbles with Neom Bedtime Hero Bath Foam (£22), or benefit from magnesium-enriched bath formulas with the mineral – known as ‘the original chill pill’ – that is believed to reduce stress response and relax muscles.
Try Ren Atlantic Kelp And Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Bath Oil (£29), which also has geranium and rosemary essential oils, or Mio Liquid Yoga Body Relaxing Bath Soak (£24) with nourishing plant and nut oils.
Magnesium can also be taken as a potent nightly supplement, while a dozen drops of The Organic Pharmacy Valerian Tincture (£16) in water 30 minutes before bed gives the tranquillising effect of valerian, passionflower and skullcap time to work.
Mix a scoop of Dr David Jack Relax Tea (£59, drdavidjack.com) into hot water and take advantage of herbs, plants and mushrooms chosen for their mood-boosting and stress-busting benefits, in a yummy, salted caramel-flavoured cuppa.
‘There are so many things we can’t control at the moment but sleep doesn’t have to be one of them,’ says Persaud. ‘If you can start to get more quality sleep, you’ll see a knock-on effect on your skin, impulse control, stress regulation, even energy levels.’
And how long before these complexion-boosting benefits kick in? ‘Two nights of good sleep and the skin glows,’ enthuses Marrone. Dream on…
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.