In addition to leaving us feeling rough, groggy and lethargic with brain-fog the next day, lack of sleep also shows in the face due to its negative effects on the skin. Lack of sleep is also linked to a higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It weakens the immune system, affects fertility and has a negative effect on mental health. It is one of the most common complaints reported to doctors and holistic therapists alike.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Skin
One study in South Korea discovered that sleep deprivation led to a significant decrease in skin hydration and impaired barrier function. Decreased hydration led to reduced skin elasticity and translucency, an increase in fine lines, uneven pigmentation, increased skin scaling; facial pores became more noticeable and there was decreased blood flow to the skin. In other words, lack of sleep has a massive effect on skin ageing. When the skin barrier in the outermost layer of the skin (the stratum corneum) is impaired, more irritants can get in and we become more susceptible to illness.
Signs of Body Dehydration
The poor hydration resulting from lack of sleep affects the whole body. One study found that adults sleeping 6 hrs a night were inadequately hydrated compared to those sleeping 8 hrs. It is believed that poor sleep disrupts the release of vasopressin, a hormone that regulates hydration in the body. If you wake up too early, you may miss the window of time when this hormone is released. Most people sweat during sleep which acts as a natural moisturiser for the skin. If you don’t get enough sleep you can miss out on the positive effects of sweating.
The signs of sleep deprivation and dehydration unfortunately show in our face. You may have hanging or heavy eyelids, dark circles under the eyes, redder or more swollen eyes, paler skin, more fine lines and drooping at the corners of the mouth. The skin may appear rougher and duller. Overall the effect is ageing.
Self Help Methods to improve Sleep
· Take a warm bath or shower before bedtime.
· Turn off electronic devices a couple of hours before bedtime.
· Yoga or light exercise.
· Meditation or breathing exercises.
· Read a book to distract the mind from everyday stresses.
· Go to bed at the same time every night to programme the body to fall asleep at a certain time.
Holistic/Complementary Therapies to improve Sleep
Most people report having a good night’s sleep after treatments such as Reiki, Reflexology, Massage etc. Reflexology helps rebalance the body. Reiki (any type) addresses the underlying causes that may be contributing to sleep problems. The healing/clearing continues after the treatment has ended and most people sleep very well that night as the body does most of its healing when we are asleep.
A Facial or Face Massage can ‘lift’ the muscles, release tension and restore hydration and healthy skin tone.
To beat the problem, or at least improve it, the best solution is a combination of lifestyle changes and therapies to address the underlying causes and rebalance the body. With today’s stress-filled, time-pressured lifestyles it may be difficult to solve the problem of lack of sleep completely but at least there are things we can do to help ourselves.
Reiki, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, Facials and Vitality Lift Facial Massage are all available with Helen Shortland in Nottingham city centre or East Leake. Please visit her website http://helenshortland.com for more details and prices.
Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Healer/Teacher, Holistic Therapist and Spiritual Development Coach currently based at City Gate East, Toll House Hill, Nottingham city centre, NG1 5FS and in East Leake (10 miles south of Nottingham). Helen offers several healing treatments such as Reiki, Spiritual Energy Healing, Angelic Reiki, Faery Reiki, Angel Therapy and Crystal Healing; holistic therapies including Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, Foot Massage, Hopi Ear Candles & Facials; as well as Usui Reiki and Faery Reiki training courses and angel card and tarot readings. She has been on the spiritual path for 20 years and has extensive knowledge of healing and the healing journey. For further information about her Reiki courses, therapies and workshops, please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or visit and ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics, Healing & Spiritual Development.