occasional musings....

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Our First Blog Entry

January 15, 2016

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Night-night, sleep tight, hope the bugs don't bite....

March 15, 2016

World Sleep Day is on March 18th. I’d never heard of it – have you? Sleep is something that lots of us take for granted, yet many of us struggle with getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. But I recently found out some really interesting things about what happens when we are asleep, and why, therefore, quality of sleep is so important. We spend about 1/3 of our lives asleep – for lots of very good reasons!

Most humans can live up to 2 months without eating, but only 11 days without sleep and 3 days without water. So sleep is actually more important than food!

On average, an adult needs around 7 ½ hours of sleep in every 24. So, if we habitually only get, say, 6 hours, then it is the equivalent of losing a whole night’s sleep every week! And I don’t know about you, but I find I really can’t get away with pulling an all-nighter any more, not without serious repercussions the day following! Sleeping less than this increases your chances of weight gain and dementia!

Lack of sleep triggers the production of stress hormones like cortisol, which increases blood sugar. Sugar attacks collagen (all our connective tissue contains collagen) so our ability to repair ourselves is immediately compromised, in addition to the damage done to digestion, circulation etc. (that’s a whole new topic!)

Another effect of stress is to cause capillaries to tighten up, which impairs circulation and damages keratin, leaving skin looking tired and dull (and prone to wrinkles!) One of the many roles of keratin is to lock moisture into our skin and hair. So lack of sleep will contribute to dry, lifeless skin and hair, as well as causing inflammation which exacerbates spots and break-outs, and dark circles around the eyes.

During sleep our body produces growth hormones which increase cellular reproduction, in particular collagen and melatonin production. Our body also synthesises proteins more actively, another aid to regrowth and repair. Minerals such as zinc also aid this process, and are more actively metabolised at night.

So, apart from all the obvious health benefits of getting enough quality sleep, it is also one of the best anti-aging tools we have at our disposal!

A little late, as we are well into Lent now, but a good forfeit would be to ‘give up being tired’ – a neat positive that we could all have a bash at. Where to start?

There are a myriad of helpful studies, articles, tip out there, but here are just a few pointers to help you find what works for you.

Avoid alcohol and salty snacks in the evening. Wine dehydrates skin and enlarges pores, while salt triggers fluid retention, causing puffiness. Not a pretty combination!

Wind down from the day’s activities – avoid bright lights, particularly screens (which do not have a place in any bedroom).

  • Have a soak in a not-too-hot bath. This is best done an hour or so before retiring so your body temperature readjusts. Use relaxing bath salts, oils, bubbles, that contain nourishment for the skin (try to go organic!)
  • Washing with circular motions will also boost your circulation and lymph flow, which is great for cellular repair and relaxing your muscles.
  • Have a cup of something soothing like Camomile tea, or a proprietary blend of ‘Night Time’ herbs from suppliers like Pukka, Heath & Heather or Neal’s Yard. Avoid caffeine!
  • Use candles for their restful light. If you are using scented ones, make sure they are good quality natural fragranced, and soy based wax rather than paraffin, as cheap room scenters are really really bad for your respiratory system! Here’s a useful article explaining why.
  • Use a good moisturiser containing things like hyaluronic acid (from plants) that adds moisture, and take your B vitamins and Zinc at night – your body gets more use from them.
  • Consider a vaporiser at night, with calming oils like lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, Melissa (lemon balm). Neal’s Yard do some great ones with inbuilt safety cut-out when the water runs out, and the added benefit of air-ionisation from the water vapour is great for helping with breathing difficulties. You can even get ones with two water chambers and a timer, so you can go to sleep with one lot of restful aromas, and awaken gently and peacefully with a more stimulating choice. Find them here
  • Make your bed and bedding clean, fresh and inviting. Use natural fibres. Ventilate your room at night
  • Take a glass of water with you, and if you do wake, have a few sips. Finish it off in the morning as you rise – an easy start to staying hydrated during the day.

I really hope this helps. Please comment and share any of your own techniques for restful sleep, and I am always happy to answer questions about aromatherapy oils and skin products to help you in your journey.

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Something for the chaps..

November 17th 2016

Here's a link to my latest blog...... “she asked me what my skin regime was—well, I said, I have skin, every morning!”said Michael McIntyre...