Somewhere along the way, not quite at the end of our 20s, but certainly somewhere in our 30s (and we should mention that this happens quite unannounced and more than quite unfairly), our skin starts to look our age.
Without a word of warning. Without permission. Without even an email to let us know of the upcoming changes in policy. It just happens. Blam. Older looking skin has arrived.
There, in the mirror one morning, is skin that somehow points downwards. Like someone has turned on a giant suction fan at our feet. There’s plenty that you can do in what will now become a rest-of-your-time-on-earth fight to regain some semblance of youth (and we found some great ideas and products to keep your hair fresh on the better-notyounger.com website).
But today, we’re going to look at sleep. Because sleep is great. Bed is fantastic.
Early bedtimes were once used against us as a childhood punishment for not finishing our meal, but now a free home cooked meal and an early bedtime sounds like the kind of extravagant treat we only get to look forward to about once a decade.
No wonder, then, with such hectic lifestyles, that our sleep patterns can suffer, and with it, our otherwise youthful appearance.
The first three hours of sleep
This is when your body produces human growth hormone, which is needed to help replace dead or damaged skin. It’s pretty easy to see how this first three-hour slot of unbroken sleep is key to a youthful appearance.
The next two hours of sleep
This is when melatonin is released. You need this to help protect your skin from something called free radicals. It’s also the hormone we need to regulate our sleep – with enough melatonin, you will feel sleepy at the right times (people who only sleep for a broken handful of hours per night may be locked in a cycle of not getting enough melatonin, without which a normal sleeping pattern will be hard to develop).
The final three hours of sleep
This is the stage that sees a reduction in the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). A reduction in cortisol means more blood flow to the skin. Muscles also become their most relaxed at this stage, again opening up otherwise tense blood vessels and allowing a thorough supply of nutrient rich blood to reach the skin.