THE POWER OF THE ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz’s

 

All sleep is Beauty Sleep. Sleep research studies have shown us that wild and wonderful things happen to our bodies at night while we sleep. Our sleep has stages, and it is during those stages of sleep that various biological processes are carried out such as cell restoration, memory formation and re-energization so we can take on the new day. This is oversimplification of course, but suffice it to say that when we lay down at night that’s when the body is given the opportunity to rejuvenate, regenerate and repair itself - just like the skin.

 

I presume I slept like a baby when I was a baby and I do remember sleeping till noon or later when I was a teenager. Nursing and Graduate school meant I studied late into the wee hours of the morning and slept with my textbooks as pillows making them readily accessible should I awake and want more study time (yep, it is true-total bookworm). During my young adulthood and early professional years, getting by with few hours of sleep felt like a badge of honor. I was trying to squeeze the most from life and when you do that, sleep gets in the way of doing it all! I think I have always wanted at least a 36-hour day so I could accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish and STILL have time for the recommended 8 hours of sleep! Little did I know what I chose to do in my 20’s and 30’s would become a chronic condition in my 40’s and 50’s. Insomnia has been a big struggle for me for the last 13 years or so. I try not to dwell in the past and I certainly am proud of what I accomplished during the years I CHOSE to deprive myself a full night’s sleep but goodness how I wish I knew then what I know now. I would have slowed down, cared for myself and slept a lot more!

 

I long for 8 hours of uninterrupted, restorative sleep that so many people I know blissfully get each night! As such, I have become somewhat of a student of the science of sleep and a disciple of all things that contribute to the power of those precious zzzz’s. I have consulted experts, done my fair share of research, and have quite possibly tried every bed, pillow, sheet, sleep aid, mask, gadget, or supplement available. Hope for a good night’s sleep is plentiful and usually comes in a lavender scent!

 

Insomnia is a huge problem in the United States affecting 10-60% of the population (an estimated 70 million people (about twice the population of California) depending on the study you read. It affects 30-48% of the older population, 23% of teens and 50% of pregnant women. Looks like I am not alone in my sleeplessness. However, the science is truly clear: Sleep = good and no sleep = bad.  

 

 

Here are some tips & tricks for healthy sleep habits that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. The tried & true or just woohoo. I will try to present it all and we can try to up our “sleep hygiene” (healthy sleep habits) game.

ZZzzz’s Stick to a regular sleep schedule! Going to bed and waking up at the same time including weekends and holidays (really?) keeps your circadian rhythm (sleep/wakefulness cycle) in tip-top shape which allows all our systems to remain functioning.

ZZzzz’s Exercise daily. Exercise even for 20 minutes will help with falling and staying asleep but exercising after 3 pm may prevent you from falling asleep right away.

ZZzzz’s Avoid caffeine several hours before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant and can stay in your system for up to 8-10 hours so think about that timing before you order another Starbucks for your 2 pm midday slump!

ZZzzz’s Avoid large meals and alcoholic beverages before bed! Both can interrupt sleep and are best avoided at least 3 hours before bedtime.

ZZzzz’s Try not to nap after 3pm. There are wonderfully restoring benefits from taking naps (what a luxury!) but taking a nap after 3 pm (again who?) can make it harder to fall asleep at night (obvi, Nancy)

ZZzzz’s Turn off the screens and relax before bed! The blue light emitted from our devices makes the brain think that it is still light outside and can mess with our natural melatonin release (the hormone that induces and maintains sleep)  

ZZzzz’s Take a bath before bed! For inducing sleep, the warmer the water the better (not so great for our skin but this is a sleep discussion.) The warm bath can help you relax and the drop in body temperature after a hot bath can help make you feel sleepy.

ZZzzz’s Create a good sleeping environment! This is a good one. Experts say the bedroom should be for sleep and sex only. Out goes the TV, out go all screens & devices. No reading, no music (unless it is pink or white noise) no clutter, no kids, no pets. No fun.  

ZZzzz’s Mind your circadian rhythm! The body wants to be up and awake during the hours of the day the sun is out and wants to restore itself and go to sleep when the sun goes down.  

ZZzzz’s Try these sleep hacks: deep breathing, meditation.  

ZZzzz’s Do not just lie there awake and torture yourself. Experts agree if you are staring into space for more than 20 minutes do not allow yourself to get all anxious over it. Get out of bed and do a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy then try it again.  

 

Just like our bodies have a natural 24 hours cycle so does our skin. Each individual skin cell has its own circadian rhythm and has an extremely specific job to do depending on the time of day or night. So just like we do the things I mentioned above to help the body sleep well there are similarly distinct things you can do day or night to make the skin perform at its best. We designed THE ROUTE to utilize the power of the skin and feed it the best ingredients at the time of day the skin can utilize it best. We did the work for you. We understand the skin and what it does and when it does it. We deliver the antioxidants, peptides, botanicals, and moisture molecules in a formula that is designated with a sun for daytime application or moon and stars for nighttime application. You do not even have to think about it. We did it for you. You are welcome!

 

PS: I just finished this blog at 2 am (eye roll). Oh well, SWEET DREAMS!! 

 

xox,

Nurse Nancy

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