As all parents of babies and young children will attest, sleep is a precious commodity and usually on the scarce side of the scale.
Not good when you consider the fact that ‘beauty sleep’ isn’t just an empty phrase. In order to maintain (and even improve) our looks, not to mention our physical and mental health, adequate sleep is essential.
It is a proven scientific fact that sleep deprivation speeds up the ageing process and even slows down the metabolism. (Ah ha! So that’s where all those extra grey hairs, wrinkles and pounds have come from! Yikes!)
Here at Mostly Mum HQ we are most definitely suffering from the looks ravaging effects of sleep deprivation and especially over the past year with a Lulu baby, who doesn’t like bed as much as his mum does, and then there is our latest baby, this blog, which we prefer to work on in the dead of night (night owl tendencies, fewer kid distractions, more creative in the twilight hours etc – it is now 2:47 am! Eek!)… And to top it all, we have hit our forties, a time when it could (but not always, there is still hope…) all head south…
So what to do when, due to circumstances largely outside of our control, we cannot get the recommended 7-9 hours of beauty sleep per night?
Lulu loves neither his bed nor sleep… And the same goes for his sisters… Sigh!
Increase the quality of the sleep we do get, of course!
In essence, that means we need to do the following five things;
1. Avoid caffeine four to six hours before bedtime
This is a really tough one for me as I am completely and utterly in the throes of a life induced coffee/caffeine addiction (for confirmation of this, check out my Instagram account @edel_curran1!).
So much so that, at this point, it is a bit of a vicious circle. I need coffee (and now that I come to think of it any caffeine containing substance, chocolate, cola, tea…) to wake up, to keep debilitating headaches at bay, to face the school-run, to not fall asleep randomly while looking after Lulu, to write this blog post… In a word, to… function!
However, as we all know only too well, caffeine is a stimulant and so is not conducive to restful sleep. Therefore, it is best avoided in the four to six hours in the run up to bedtime! Will do my best! (And no, my fingers are not crossed behind my back…yet!).
2. Remove all make-up and use a good quality moisturiser before bed
This one is a lot easier for me to accomplish! No matter how tired I am, I do love a pre bedtime pampering session. So no make-up residue will be clogging my pores as I sleep and I most definitely won’t wake up to the horrific sight of panda eyes in the morning!
As I grow older (it happens to the best of us eventually… Sob!), I like to be as proactive as possible about keeping those pesky lines and wrinkles at bay. The best night creams to use are anti-ageing and contain hyaluronic acid, which work by drawing water to the surface of the skin to smooth out any visible fine lines and wrinkles.
My current favourite comes from Aldi and in addition to hyaluronic acid contains ultra luxe caviar extract, which reduces the signs of ageing by delivering nutritive elements to the skin, and Snow Algae extract, which works to counteract the ageing process by stimulating collagen synthesis.
And all this for no more than £6.99!
I kid you not! For more amazing beauty finds from Aldi, check out one of my earlier posts Six Aldi Products we all need in our lives right now…
3. To avoid wrinkles and eye puffiness, sleep on your back with an extra pillow
Yes, really! Sleeping in any other position aside from your back will result in extra pressure being placed on the skin which, in turn, will result in the formation of lines and wrinkles. And worse still, sleeping on one side could lead to asymmetry as more set-in wrinkles could form on the side that has been slept on!
Similarly, lying completely flat will allow fluid to pool around the delicate eye area. So in order to avoid the puffy-eyed look first thing in the morning, try sleeping with an extra pillow at night.
4. Keep your bedroom a screen free zone
This is another tough one for me as I have a tendency to use random scrolling through my phone/dailymail.co.uk to relax straight before falling asleep at night.
However, this is a big no, no, according to the sleep experts. In an article entitled ‘Effects of Screen Time On Adult Sleep’ for huffingtonpost.com, Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. writes:
‘The brain naturally creates the hormone melatonin, that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Too much light from video screens at bedtime affects the melatonin production giving the body the impression you aren’t ready for sleep. In addition, the screen emits light that suggests to the brain that it is still daytime which contributes to insomnia and sleep deprivation. […] The best advice is to stop watching TV or using smartphones and other screen devices an hour or two before bedtime to give your brain a rest and the correct signal that it is time for sleep.’
On the plus side, refraining from in-bed phone scrolling might just prevent disfiguring facial injuries due to… this!
Oh dear! So sad but oh so true! (Unless I’m alone in this one, which I can’t be, can I?) It’s the scourge of modern technology! 😳
5. Exercise… but not close to bedtime
A bit like the caffeine issue, exercise is great but only at the right time of day. An energetic workout will make you tired, help you fall asleep and, indeed, sleep more soundly at night. But because, like caffeine, exercise also stimulates the release of the ‘fight or flight’ hormone cortisol, it is best avoided in the three to four hours in the run up (oops, excuse the pun!) to bedtime.
Where sleep is concerned, more is not always better… Quality is key!
And on that note, I’m off to catch up on some high quality z’s.
(It will need to be extra high quality as it’s now 4:07 am and I will have to be up for the school run by 7:30. That only leaves me… aargh no time to calculate…
Sweet dreams, everyone! 😴
Until next time,
💋 Mostly Mum
*All gifs are via GIPHY