How skincare can impact your sleep, according to a sleep expert

Words by Izzy Wight

In partnership with Edible Beauty 

The ultimate beauty sleep. 

Like sunscreen, superannuation and other adult concerns my mum swore I’d care about one day, I’m finally developing a reverence for sleep. ‘Fun’ all-nighters have lost their appeal entirely (to think there ever was an appeal… the mind boggles). There’s no teasing for leaving the party early and certainly no heading for a dinner date past 9pm.

Instead of beelining straight from the club to my Saturday morning retail shifts, I’ve decided a good night of shut-eye and a pre-work sun salutation trumps all. And as it turns out, sleep is great. Aside from the obvious necessity to function, the recommended seven to nine hours (it seems optimistic, I know) can reduce stress, increase productivity, improve your mood and boost your immune system.

Want to fall asleep in the pyjamas of your dreams? Check out our list of the best Australian sleepwear brands.

But unfortunately, liking sleep isn’t the issue. For 46 per cent of Australians, the problem is an inability to switch off; prohibiting the restoration our minds so desperately need. Despite our best efforts to wind down, a year rife with stress and anxiety – two of the leading causes of sleeplessness – has made unwinding a difficult task.

You know that deep, comatose zen state after a period of craziness (exam cramming, festival-going, cross-timezone travelling) ends and you can finally enjoy the spoils of your own bed? Apparently, you can feel that without enduring nights of sleepless discomfort and get soft, bouncy, glowy skin at the same time.

No, really. In consultation with sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo, Australian beauty brand Edible Beauty has teamed up with crystal wellness label Cawlife to create the bundle of your dreams. Taking a holistic approach to self-care (the products are natural enough to eat, sweetie), Edible Beauty knows a well-established skincare routine is an amazing way to unwind, reset and enter a near-meditative state. 

The Sleeping Beauty Bundle includes a Purifying Mousse Mask that does the beauty work as you snooze, while the Crystal Eye Mask helps to calm the soul, encouraging self-love and tranquillity. To ensure we’re all achieving the ultimate hot girl slumber, Olivia and I talked beauty sleep.

Can you explain the link between skincare and sleep? How can our skincare routine positively impact our sleep?

Your nightly skincare routine is a great catalyst for encouraging both your body and brain to officially wind down; the perfect practice to quite literally wash away the day and enter a more meditative state. 

If you’re like me, your skincare routine takes place after your evening shower, which in itself is a cue for greater melatonin (sleepiness hormone) synthesis when you step out of the steam and into a cold bathroom. Granting yourself that 20 to 30 minutes of ‘me time’ to indulge in a little self-care works wonders for your overall mood and contributes to wellness on a cellular level. 

And vice versa, do you know much about how our sleep will impact our skin?

Aside from an extra level of radiance and that year-round, plump-looking glow, sleep has a drastic impact on the way we look and feel. Sleep is critical for collagen synthesis, which is the key to your skin looking supple, smooth and youthful (specifically, fewer fine lines and wrinkles).

Research shows 70 per cent of our growth hormone – the catalyst for collagen production – is primarily produced in slow-wave (deep) sleep. Essentially, deep sleep boosts our growth hormone, leading to extra collagen production.

Similarly, a clinical study found ‘good sleepers’ have a 30 per cent higher skin recovery rate after UV exposure (something to keep in mind as we edge closer to [the] Australian summer). What this means is greater building blocks and skin cell turnover, helping to combat any signs of pigmentation and discolouration caused by the sun.

What should we be prioritising in our skincare routines? What should we be avoiding?

Sleep (obviously) and getting those seven to nine hours quite consistently! It’s so often overlooked but as you now know, very important for our complexions. 

Everyone’s different! Before forming a nightly routine, I’d highly recommend you consult your trusted skincare specialist or dermatologist. For me, what’s really worked is simply embracing the primary three: cleanser, toner and moisturiser. 

Again, this is totally dependent on your needs, but prioritising brands that harness natural organic ingredients – like the Edible Beauty range – makes my skin feel so much more nourished from the inside out. Your skin is your largest organ, so it’s all about avoiding toxins and artificial ingredients. If you’re having trouble interpreting the product label, that should be your first red flag.

What is the optimal time to do skincare pre-bed?

Immediately after your shower – that way your pores will be open and more receptive to the products you are applying. A shower and my skincare regime are usually the last steps in my evenings, but find what works for you and let your body understand the signals to slow down.

What else should we add to the mix to ensure a good night’s sleep? 

I swear by my signature bedtime routine! Thanks to its incredible benefits, it’s also become a popular practice among my private clients.

  1. Block out blue light at least two hours before bed. An academic paper found regular room light suppressed melatonin by 71 per cent, leading to poor sleep.
  2. Take lavender capsules or use lavender aromatics. A clinical trial found lavender improved sleep quality by 45 per cent and reduced anxiety by up to 59 per cent.
  3. Have a ‘goodnight phone alarm’ set for 60 minutes before bed, reminding you to disconnect from all tech, stop the scrolling (we’re all guilty of it) and truly unwind.
  4. Have a shower and indulge in your nightly skincare routine – my favourite part of the day. I’ve been using Edible Beauty’s new Sleeping Beauty Bundle, which includes the Sleeping Beauty Purifying Mousse and a Cawlife Crystal Eye Mask. It’s a touch of luxury that makes me feel so zen when my head hits the pillow.
  5. Use a magnesium-based sleep supplement to relax your mind and body ahead of falling asleep. A clinical trial found magnesium could also reduce anxiety by up to 31 per cent.
  6. Read a book (a physical one). It reduces stress, eases anxiety and helps your mind switch off.

For those who really struggle with sleep (i.e. insomnia), what are some positive next steps?

Anxiety and stress are the self-reported leading causes of sleeplessness, and both of these factors have been severely heightened throughout lockdown. Though easier said than done, I strongly encourage you to embrace this change of pace and take a moment to look inwards and rediscover your most nurturing self.

My nighttime routine includes some remedies to sleep saboteurs like turning off tech, taking relaxing supplements and limiting light and sound. Find a nightly routine that works for your needs and implement calming evening activities. These might include cooking a nourishing meal (this should always be a priority), listening to a podcast, calling a friend or burning a candle before bed. Find what feels right.

Indulge in your own Sleeping Beauty Bundle here.

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