How to get better sleep

4 min read

3 ways to improve sleep to benefit your skin and health

Tired of being tired? (ha ha), unfortunately a cheeky lie in on a Sunday morning won’t solve things. Studies show that we build up a ‘sleep debt’ which we cannot undo with a few extra hours kip every now and then.

Sadly, the effects of sleep deprivation last long after a few days of recovery sleep. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Nutritional therapist Jessica Ferrari-Wells shares her top tips for improving your sleep and your wellbeing, (thank us later). 

Bolt Beauty Blog

1. Change your bedtime routine…

Your routine in the hours before going to bed can have a big impact on how well you nod off. Try to wind down and set up a bedtime ritual to help signal to your brain that it’s bedtime.

Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t:

  • Binge watching Ozark? Scrolling aimlessly through Instagram? We hear you. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try to avoid looking at screens for the hour before you go to sleep. The blue light emitted from screens tricks your brain into thinking that it is earlier in the day than it is, blocking the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
  • If you do watch TV in the evenings, try to avoid emotionally stimulating activities such as intense movies or upsetting news.  
  • Try to avoid exercise which elevates your heart rate (although the good news, sex isn't considered exercise and is in fact beneficial for sleep, phew!).

Do:

  • Curl up with a good book or soak in a hot bath. Adding essential oils to your bath or using them in a diffuser can be helpful –lavender, bergamot, fragonia and rose geranium are some of the bestaromatherapy oils for sleep.
  • Spend some time on the yoga mat. Gentle stretches that focus on taking slow, deep breaths or experimenting with mindfulness are all great ways to help you unwind from the day’s stresses.

2. During the day…

Embrace morning light. Getting the right kind of light at the right time of day can have amazing effects on our sleep, as it sends important signals to your body. Try to spend some time (at least 20 minutes) outside in the morning light as this can help regulate our wake/sleep cycles.

Assess your food and drink choices.

Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t:

  • Avoid eating a large meal at least 2 hours before bedtime, as this can affect your blood sugar levels (which can disrupt sleep) and also means your body uses sleeping hours to digest the food which can keep you up. Hungry before bed? Opt for a protein-based snack which won’t disrupt your blood sugar levels.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol at least 2 hours before bed as it can act as a stimulant and disrupt deep sleep.

Do:

  • Drink a herbal tea before bedtime. Herbs such as chamomile, valerian, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint and St. John’s wort are well-known relaxants and sleep inducers. An evening herbal tea will also boost your hydration levels before night-time which is important.

3. Go shopping (for your food cupboards)…

Certain foods can actually help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Here are some to put on your shopping list for better slumber…

  • Nuts (especially almonds and walnuts) contain melatonin which is the hormone that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle so eating these nuts can help you sleep more soundly. Nuts are also rich sources of essential fatty acids and vitamin E which are some of the most profound nutrients for both maintenance of skin health and also the treatment of common skin conditions.
  • Foods that are high in lean protein. Cottage cheese and turkey are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is a brain chemical and low levels of it can contribute to insomnia. To sweeten it up, top the cottage cheese with raspberries, (which are a rich source of melatonin).
  • Fruits that such as cherries, bananas, pineapple, and oranges also contain melatonin. They make you fall asleep faster and wake up less often during the night.
  • It is also good to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants (like berries). This is because poor sleep results in our body making free radicals. Without getting too geeky, free radicals are molecules which wreak havoc on our health and accelerate skin ageing. Antioxidants are able to disarm free radicals, so eating foods rich in antioxidants can help to reduce the damage caused by free radicals.

How does sleep improve skin?

Bolt Beuaty - skincare capsules

Sleeping hours are when your skin repairs itself and replenishes moisture, so not getting enough sleep results in poor skin hydration balance, leading to puffy bags under your eyes and under-eye circles, as well as dryness and more visible wrinkles. No thanks!

In one study, people who got high-quality sleep had 30% greater moisture barrier recovery in 72 hours than poor sleepers.

Cut down on your caffeine. Nothing beats a creamy flat white…apart from a good night’s sleep! Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks to before midday and check the caffeine levels of your decaffeinated options, (you’d be surprised).

Can’t sleep and have dry skin? Caffeine (along with alcohol…sadly) also dehydrates your skin so that’s another reason to skip the afternoon cuppa!


Jessica Ferrari-Wells

Jessica is a London-based qualified nutritionist specialising in women's health. Having first studied psychology and neuroscience at the University of Oxford she became fascinated with how our wider health, diet and lifestyle impact our mental and physical wellbeing. Going on to work in a highly pressured corporate law environment, she experienced a deterioration in her own health and the health of her colleagues, in particular hormonal health and resilience. She went on to study and train in nutritional therapy and since qualifying has specialised in women's health, primarily hormone balance, energy, immunity, resilience, and mental wellbeing. Jessica unravels exactly what it takes to be well in the modern day - supporting her clients with clear, practical and educated advice and debunking common myths along the way.

Learn more about Jessica or get in touch with her for some personalised tips here.


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