Come the end of the day, even if all you’re craving is to crawl into your bed, accomplishing as much may not always be the easiest. More errands pop up- dinner, maybe some laundry you forgot to do, the kids need help with homework, etc. Exhaustion compounds and by the time you finally get to lie down and close your eyes you feel as though you’re opening them right back up to the sound of your alarm. Not very restful, is it?
So what kind of toll does this take on your skin? While we sleep our bodies take this time to essentially repair damage; most systems are in a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems. Our skin is included in this and it will be the first to portray that you’ve not gotten enough rest. Lack of sleep causes blood vessels to dilate, causing the look of dark circles. You’re body will retain water, causing puffy eyes. During this time though, your skin truly renews itself. New cells develop and replace the old ones. Not allowing your skin the time needed to do this will give your complexion a tired and dull appearance and who wants that?
While you may not always be able to add more time to your unconscious state, you can better prepare yourself for catching those Z’s and give yourself a more restful sleep. Simply crashing onto your bed and pulling the covers over your head is no way to end the day. Ritualizing your sleep regimen can help train both your mind and body to accept that-“Hey, it’s the end of the day, time to relax!” This may feel like just one more thing you have to do before finally getting to sleep, but you’ll really thank yourself in the morning.
1) Start with washing your face. Simple, right? Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but we’re concentrating on your skin health-so do it. You’re removing all of the debris and environmental gunk of the day from your skin, giving it a breath of fresh air (no really, air pollutants are a huge factor in causing dryness, premature aging, dull skin, clogged pores, skin irritation, inflammation, and allergies). Follow with a moisturizer to re-hydrate and protect your skin.
2) Reach for the stars! …or your toes. Stretch and let go of the day’s tension. Are you on your feet all day? Your lower back probably kills you, doesn’t it? Touch your toes and hold for a few breaths. Slowly come back up- arching your back while you do so. This loosens those tight muscles and helps to align vertebrae. How about my office workers? Neck and shoulders, right? Dip your chin down into your chest, hold; roll to the left, hold; roll to the right, hold; repeat until your neck no longer feels like it’s made out of tight rubber bands.
3) Take a few deep breaths now. You’re increasing oxygen flow to your brain and muscles. This reduces anxiety and tension. Take air all the way into your abdomen, not just your chest. For really deep breathing you need to expand your diaphragm as well. Breathing exercises should be deep, slow, rhythmic, and through the nose, not through the mouth. The most important parts of deep breathing are to be regulating your breaths three to four seconds in, and three to four seconds out.
These are easy tasks that can go a long way in improving not just your skin, but your overall health as well. After doing this your work for the day is done! All you have to do is close your eyes and you’ll wake up feeling rejuvenated and with much healthier skin!